I went to a men’s jjimjilbang tonight.
Walked down the stairs, saw a bare butt, walked back up and out.
Sure enough, under the big red letters for sauna
I’d missed the little blue letters for male
The clerk at the Family Mart directed me to another sauna two blocks away.
Huzzah Korea. Saunas everywhere.
Korean saunas operate something like this—
- 7,000W if you just want the shower room and don’t need any clothes.
- 8,000W if you need pjs and plan on hanging out, getting some ramen, going to the co-ed restaurant if there is one.
- 11,000-12,000W if you want to sleep overnight.
Like the Y, you get a locker and key.
Inside the shower room is where the magic happens.
Depending on the size of the sauna, you’ll get three pools.
The first is a boiling hot. Think mild first degree burn.
The second is a medium-warm whirlpool, what we would call hot back home.
Adjacent is a still ice water pool. It’s so cold it will truly take your breath away.
Across the way is a steam room and next to that a dry heat sauna.
There are sitting and standing showers aplenty, and the idea is to go back and forth and back again, and scrub yourself raw.
If you’re incompetent at this or want some pampering, you can pay an ajumma to scrub you down to your basest dermal layer for about fifteen bucks.
I know what you’re thinking.
Too good to be true, right?
It is the most relaxed you will ever feel.
I couldn’t get Steve to go, but perhaps if we knew there were men’s only…
You’re doing all of this torture relaxing buck naked btw. The floors are gender-segregated.
The sauna makes your skin feels so soft.
If you have skin maladies, you’ll hydro-hydrate them right away.
And for runners, Korean saunas are like the RICE treatment on steroids.