Jjimjilbang is what public bathhouses are called in South Korea, and there is so much to that. Most foreigners will feel uncomfortable at first but you might enjoy it later, it is a unique experience to try while you’re in South Korea. In this article, Ziptoss will be explaining what you need to know about Jjimjilbang.
Jjimjilbang is a public bathhouse where locals and non-locals can relax while having a steam bath. Jjimjilbangs for men and women are separated, they have communal resting areas and some may even have activity areas(such as movie theaters with lounge seats). For some foreigners, the idea of a public bathhouse is unusual and it may seem uncomfortable, but it is very common for Koreans to come into bathhouses.
If you decide to try going to the best jjimjilbang in Korea, here’s a quick guide for you to follow to avoid feeling overwhelmed:
Pay and receive clothing
As you enter, there will be a front desk with a table of the different prices, you can simply say “Jjimjilbang” to the staff. Make sure that you’re given a locker key to wear around your wrist. In some bathhouses, they will give you clothes and keys at the same time, if they don’t, don’t be shy to ask for these as you will need them. Keys and clothes will be color-coded(by gender) and men and women will go their separate ways as you enter.
*Admission will cost around 6,000 up to 14,000 Won depending on the bathhouse, day, and time of day.
Take off your shoes before entering the locker and changing room
As soon as you enter an area full of lockers, take off your shoes and place them in an unoccupied locker, lock it up and take the key with you. Make sure you take off your shoes before the raised area in the room. There will be an area to take off your shoes in the room.
As for the changing room, you should first find the locker with the same number of the key given to you at the front desk. If you were not given a key and/or clothes, present your receipt and shoe locker key to the counter for them to provide you with a key for the changing room.
Shower and bath area
Depending on the bathhouse you’re in, some bath areas provide:
- Baths at different temperatures
- Salt baths
- Cold baths
- Mud baths
- Mugwort baths
- Saunas(wet and dry)
In this area, you will be with nude people enjoying the baths. If you feel uncomfortable sharing baths with other nude people, then you may want to skip this area, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you should take a shower first before dipping into one of these baths. There are basic toiletries(soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) available in the changing room at around 500-1,000 Won. Take your time to enjoy and experience the different baths, pools, saunas, and lounge areas. If you’re extremely comfortable, you can try getting a scrub from one of the attendants within the bathing area.
In this area, you’ll be needing the clothes provided to you from the front desk. This is where you’ll be going straight if you choose not to join the bathing area.
Some communal areas will have rooms of the following:
- Saunas(salt, clay, jade, etc.
- Sleeping rooms(divided by gender, snoring, or non-snoring)
- PC rooms(pc bang)
- Singing rooms(noraebang)
- Ice rooms
- Movie/ TV rooms
- Meeting or event rooms
- Table tennis rooms
If you’re planning to leave the bathhouse, simply head back to the changing room, change back to your outside clothes, put your jjimjilbang clothes in the bin provided, wear your shoes, surrender your changing room key, and you’re free to leave.