So, I’ve promised some of you the inside tip on the best jjimjilbang in Seoul… After the disappointment of Seoul’s much hyped Dragon Hill Spa, I was reluctant to return for another night of overnight non-thrill on a hard wood floor. Fortunately, a friend offered me an alternative suggestion…
On my return to Seoul, there was one “luxury” jjimjilbang I’d heard hype about. Dragon Hill Spa has been raved about by CNN.com, The New York Times and bloggers being one of the deluxe spas in Seoul, where celebrities frequent and TV broadcasts like Yoo Jae Suk’s show, Happy Together (I think), occasionally film. It was a spot I’d been dying to try.
We arrived in Sochko at Chocksan Spa around 11PM. The spa had already closed, so we checked into our room. A small room, there was no traditional bed (well no, let me take that back)…there was a traditional yo (a Korean floor bed, where comforters are put down for padding), and just enough floorspace for a five-person squeeze. The room was well-sized for either the standard four-person Korean family or a midget. We got a coffee table with a hotpot, some cups and a hotel refrigerator stocked with items “for purchase”. While the latter is common to hotels in the
Yulpo Beach is about 10-minute bus ride from the tea plantations, which makes it great for a stopover. Many guesthouses overlook Yulpo Beach, but I didn’t really want to stay at a minbak. The weather was a dreary, overcast and the quiet town didn’t welcome much life. Summer resort season in Yulpo had long ended and the nearby water theme park was as dried up as the town’s streets. An eerie calm and the instinct of rotting corpse of fish was in the vibe. Seaside towns make me nervous when they get like this.
For all you travelers and expats looking to tour Korea on the cheap, a friend once mentioned staying overnight at a jjimjilbang as a way to hurdle hostel and budget hotel costs (which may run anywhere from a low $18-40); since then, the jjimjilbang culture has been a phenomenon to me.