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Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul?

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Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul?

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. However, I still wanted to try another jjimjilbang and enjoy the Korean bathing culture.
Fortunately, a friend offered me an alternative suggestion…
From the outside, Siloam Sauna may not look like much. It’s not a new building but a little old. In fact, you may think you’re walking into a shady neighborhood jjimjilbang dive or a love motel. But step inside  Siloam and explore its five floors of therapeutic health, bathhouse washing  and 24 hour bed bunk sleeping rooms and you’ll feel like you’ve hit the hidden jackpot of luxurious j-bang finds!
You might agree, Siloam Sauna is the best jjimjilbang in Seoul.

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Korea and the English language: a mysterious and confusing combination.

Sometimes, Koreans like to wear English words they don’t understand. Other times, they like to surprise you by busting your chops on complex English terms, that would elicit a Google search for meaning.

I stood outside the jjimjilbang with dropped jaw, staring at the sign:

Sauna & Fomentation
Sauna. I get it.  For me, it inspires the vivid childhood memory of sweat detoxification and the smells of crisp oak paneling, as beads of perspiration drooled off my forehead while I sat in a small, dark, heated box that my father built in our house. (Yes. My father built a sauna sweatbox in our house).  But “Fomentation”???
‘Genius’ points to the person, who solves this riddle, without cracking open a dictionary…

What makes Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul

1. Saunas and Fomentation

Bouncing from sauna room to sauna room, sampling the various environmental benefits, could occupy you for well over a day. In fact, Koreans are even known to nap and sleep in them!
fo·men·ta·tion (noun)
The act of fomenting; incitement.  2. a. A substance or material used as a warm, moist medicinal compress; a poultice.b. The therapeutic application of warmth and moisture, as to relieve pain.
Siloam‘s saunas apply more than just heat, but claim to offer therapeutic properties, as well. In basic, it unfolds an amusement park of sauna rooms laden with a plethora of healing attributes from salt to mineral rocks, ice and oxygen. I passed out for nearly an hour in an air-conditioned room, called the Charcoal Cold Room (not pictured), surrounded by wall to ceiling coverings of charcoal. Charcoal is said to have many purifying and oxygenating properties. I believe it.  I emerged feeling rested, replenished and much clearer and balanced than I was, going in!
Here are a few (but not all) of the other rooms I checked out:
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The Ice Room jade room, korean jjimjilbangs, top sauna and spa in seoul, korean saunas and bathhouses, top attractions in korea, what to do in korea The heated Elvan Jade Room: Elvan jade is a mineral rock, whose properties claim to help discharge waste and ease arthritis and muscle pain. Notice how one woman has put the gravel on her body. hot room The Den Room: infrared rays help with rheumatoid arthritis, backaches, stiff shoulders, etc… salt room, korean saunas, siloam spa seoul, top jjimjilbangs in seoul, top bathhouses in seoul, top attractions in seoul, what to do in seoul, spas and saunas in korea The heated salt room


2.  When a bath house is a spa

Let’s get down to the deep scrub! Anything which says it will revive young skin, induce health benefits or rejuvenate me, between my lather, definitely earns a ‘thumbs up’.  Shower stalls and sit-down scrubbing stations are standard decor in any Korean bathhouse joint, as are heated pools and jacuzzis to soak in, accompanied by an ice water pool to shock your skin awake after its shriveled.

With Siloam‘s bathhouse, you get three heated medicinal baths to choose from:

•  a wormwood bath to help aid menstrual pains,

•  a charcoal bath for improved circulation, extracting impurities, and help support the metabolism and anti-aging

•  a jade bath to induce peace and tranquility.

(note: There are potentially more listed on the site, but these three are the only ones I saw.)

The bath houses also house :

•  jacuzzi tub

•  a mist sauna

•  a waterfall shower

Do these mineral bathing pools really work?

Korean spas swear by them.

But personally, depending on the mineral, sometimes you feel a difference in them; sometimes, you don’t.


3.  The best jjimjilbang sleepover in Korea

Most jjimjilbangs offer only floor space, a blanket and a wooden block pillow for your overnight sleep.  What makes Siloam unique is that it offers sleep rooms with individual beds.

Although j-bangers are welcome to spread out on any floor (read here) or even crash in the saunas, Siloam‘s fifth floor holds the official sleeping rooms. With over 300 individual bunks per room,  the rooms sport air purifiers, humidifiers, thermometers, to make for an awesome night’s sleep!

How awesome was it?

Perhaps, all the healing properties in the building and the climate/ air-controlled room has something to do with the sleep you experience at Siloam. What I experienced was exceptional for what it was in a dorm-like accommodation. I had a very deep and restful sleep, more than I’ve ever experienced in a hotel.


Rooms for Sleepers vs. Snorers

Here’s the funny but kinda cool part…

Do you snore?

The rooms are separated according to three types of sleepers: Women, Men and Snorers. Yes, there’s a “Snorer’s Room”, for when your sleep rattles and shakes others!


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Rest and entertainment areassiloams bunk beds What makes Siloam the best spa in Seoul? Sleeping room bunk beds: light is in actuality, a bit lower for sleeping comfort.


The best feature of Siloam Sauna?

After telling you all of what Siloam offers in overnight accommodation and bathhouse/sauna pampering you’ll probably want to visit. But what will change your walk into a run?

The price.  Ready for it?

13,000 Won (or about $12.60 USD)

Now most j-bangs overnight stays are priced in this range and even Dragon Hill comes in a bit leaner at 12,000 Won. What sets Siloam apart from the rest is really the comfy ‘bunk bed’ accommodations vs the standard wooden floor.

Throw some “fomentation” in there and hey, it’s the best and most rocking j-bang in town!

siloam spa seoul

siloam spa seoul



Siloam Fire Pot Sauna  (Seoul, South Korea)
Hours: 24 hours
Fee:    After 5am:  Bath (Adult) : 8,000 won;  Bath+ Sauna (Adult) : 10,000 won:  After 8pm:  Bath (Adult) : 9,000 won;  Bath+ Sauna (Adult) : 13,000 won

Directions  By Subway:
Line 1, Line 4, Seoul Station, Exit 1, 5 minutes walk
Line 2, Line 5, Chungjeongro Station, Exit 5, 5 minutes walk

 Where to Stay near Silloam/Seoul Station:    check here.


Do you have a favorite bathhouse or jjimjilbang in Seoul?  

Note:  White Sheets Reviews are Grrrl Traveler recommendations of guesthouses, hostels and hotels I’ve stayed at. Selections are based on their cleanliness (‘white sheets‘), service, hospitality and budget.
Check out more of my jjimjilbang faves and unique accommodations in Korea. 


Watch my Top 5 Tip Videos about Traveling in Korea


Watch : Top 5 Tips for Traveling to Seoul

Read: Top 5 Travel Tips for Navigating Korean Culture


  1. Hi! Great post. Thanks so much! My husband and I are definitely planning to check this out when we visit Seoul this year. Do you know if once you check in, can you leave and come back? Or do you have to stay there the whole time? We arrive at like 9am, but want to see more of the city. Then come back to the spa and sleep overnight. Thoughts? Thanks!!

  2. Syndie says:

    Can the lockers fit cabin-size luggage/backpack? Planning to overnight there before catching an early morning flight on the next day for my upcoming Korea trip.

  3. jsr says:

    Is there a space for luggages Thinking of going and staying there before early morning flight.

  4. joie says:

    Thanks for this article!
    We have cabin baggage size backpacks.
    Could we use their lockers? If not, do you happen to know if we can use station lockers overnight?

  5. Schon says:

    Hi! My family’s flight arrives in Seoul very early in the morning. I was looking into this post and am considering JJB time ’til we get to check in at a hotel. You mentioned the lockers are small and won’t fit large suitcases. Would you know where we can leave our bags if we did decide to go to a jjimjilbang before hotel check in, and would it be safe?

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Schon: Sorry I’m a little late. I’m not sure why you’d want to go to a jjimjilbang with your bags and not drop them at your hotel? With Siloam, they’ll let you store your bag in the locker room common area. Should be safe- it’s in front of the front desk lady.

  6. Chubby Bunny says:

    Thanks Christine for an interesting post! This will be on my list for South Korea when I’m back there next – I was last in Korea in 2011 (stayed in a hostel in Seoul) and it IS an expensive city, so this is a clever idea for budget travel!

  7. Rica says:

    Me and my friend will be coming from Seoul and are expecting to arrive in Seoul after midnight and we are looking at staying in a jjimjilbang until we can check in to our hotel. But being not used to it, my friend is hesitant. Do we really need to “strip”? Can’t we just sleep? Hehe. Sorry if this question sounds stupid.

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Rica: Not a stupid question. If you want to take a shower, you’ll need to strip. If you’re fine with sleeping, using the sauna, then you don’t. If you choose not to take showers, here’s a useful tip– take a package of baby wipes. That’s a great substitute shower. 😉

  8. LS says:

    Hey! My husband and I are going to go here to stay this weekend. If we say that we are both snorers do ya think they’ll let us be in the same area?

    • @Lindsey: ha ha… I wonder what that room sounds like at night. I don’t think the Snorers room was sex-defined.You could try. Also, the open rooms and saunas are coed mixed and people do sleep in them.

  9. HarpoinSeoul says:

    Thanks for the informative writeup. I’ve been living in Seoul for 15 years or so and love the sauna. My wife and I usually go to the nearby Hamilton Hotel sauna, but I think that is going to change. I really enjoyed being at Siloam JimJillBang. I would definitely rate it the best in Seoul and maybe 3rd or 4th in all of Korea.
    I’m pretty sure that before 8 pm it’s around 10,000 won – it’s after 8 pm that the price goes up to 13,000 won.
    I loved the defoliating scrub and massage. I highly recommend it!! 20,000 won. Everything there was wonderful!!
    Just 2 suggestions:
    1. Have English speakers at the desk inside the men’s area. The old ajoshies in there where terrible at English! I think one guy had difficulty hearing anything at all! Get someone from the KTO in there that can offer tourism info as well. More English info on the pools, rooms etc. would be great, too!
    2. In the wet sauna there was a shower hose and many men were in there shaving. They really should put up a nice little shaving mirror in there. That would be awesome!!
    Everything was good. I didn’t try the sleeping rooms. The younger children could have been a little quieter. In any event, I’m feeling good and am looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

    • @HarpoinSeoul: lol- thanks for the suggestions! Although I’m all for preserving the culture, being an expat there, I agree with you that it sure would be helpful to get some English information on the rooms & pools and such. They always have these signs around the pools telling you what’s in them and the health benefits, etc… but I can only interpret from the picture. The website does have more English information, but I didn’t find that until after I went to the sauna.

      I’ve never been to the sauna near the Hamilton Hotel. I’m pretty sure you’re talking about the one with the steep steps leading to it off of the main road. I hear mixed reviews on that one. But glad you and your wife are enjoying the bathhouses there. It’s a part of the culture that shouldn’t be missed. Kinda wish they them in the U.S.

      • Yvon says:

        Actually, the sauna at the top of the stairs is different. It’s OK. My friend loves it! The Hamilton Hotel sauna- in the hotel is awesome! I am one of the saunaholics and we meet there often. Fun times!

        • Christine Kaaloa says:

          @Yvon: Thanks for sharing that. Didn’t know. I’ll have to check it out. I’m taking it’s not only for hotel guests then?

  10. Angela says:

    i am so interested in staying in jjimjilbang after reading your post on Siloam Sauna!! i just have a questions to ask,,,,

    1. Do they have private shower rooms? Or you are supposed to shower in the public? With naked ajummas walking around?

    2. Do they have large storage place for luggage? Are they safe enough?

    3. Can you sleep (as in like overnight sleep) in any of the rooms? Or i must only sleep at the designated rooms/areas?

    4. Is our stuff (passport and money) safe in the lockers?

    i hope you can answer me these few questions that i am really curious about… thanks in advance. ^___^

    • @Angela: To answer your questions-
      1. Full public display but separated by sex if that helps. If you wear underwear in the bathhouse, you WILL be stared it, moreso than if you didn’t. It’s a community bathhouse. If you’ve read my other bathhouse posts, you’ll get an idea of what it’s about. (
      2. Well, it’s not supposed to be “a hotel”, so it won’t fit a large suitcase and you might get frowned upon if you try to bring one in. But you can probably get away with spending a weekend there =( It’s the size of a gym locker.
      3. No designated sleeping areas. You’re free to roam. You can sleep in one of the saunas if you want… which you will see Koreans do.
      4. You’ll be given a key for your locker. Also Korea is fairly safe. Being you’re a foreigner, you’ll probably be more sketchy than them. 😉

      Hope that helps! Enjoy Siloam; I thought it rocked.

  11. rikomatic says:

    Thanks for the tip! Definitely a highlight of my trip to Seoul!

  12. Cindy says:

    And it works ? I mean did you felt real change ? I am always skeptical about such places.

    • @Cindy: Yes and you never really know. I guess each person’s different. If you’re hoping for visible proof, then it may be a disappointment. With Siloam, what I felt was subtle, but it was gooood~ like taking herbs, going to an oxygen bar or getting acupuncture. Try it out- it’s only 13,000W and you get a free bed and bath in Seoul.

  13. Tracy says:

    Pampering yourself can help reduce stress, improve your mood, and your over all outlook on life. A spa day is the perfect solution if you are feeling worn out. Go to a nice salon. Do some research and make sure its a good one. Start with a full body massage. Then get a facial. Aslo, a manicure and pedicure are a perfect way to pamper yourself. Tanning is

  14. MsCathy says:

    Yeaahh I want to go! How cool is this!! Nice photos 🙂

  15. Gray says:

    Wow! I’m speechless. I’ve never seen any place like this before. That is wild. As a light sleeper, I LOVE the idea of separating out the snorers! 🙂 I can’t believe it’s so cheap.

  16. Dave says:

    I have never been to a spa. Nope not once. I was nearly inside a Turkish Bath once, but didn’t want to leave my passport wallet with some angry lady receptionist type at the time.

    I gather I am missing out!

    • @Dave: Missing out? Yes & no. ‘To each his own’, is my motto. Would I hike Everest in winter with boots that were falling apart? God no. 😉

      I’m drawn to bathhouses in general just for the unique cultural attitudes and yeah,… i suppose a part of me is drawn to the liberating aspect of being nude amongst my own kind. I like the sense of community; it feels so maternal and generally, it’s occupied by families. In Korea, the spa part just happens to come hand-in-hand with all of that.

  17. Ari says:

    Maybe Siloam has changed since I went there a year ago, because I wasn’t that impressed. Mainly because it could have been cleaner. Also 13,000 is a little higher than other jjimjilbangs. But totally agree the bunks for sleeping are AMAZING! Definitely the best recommendation for a cheap overnight stay in Seoul.

    • @Ari: It’s probably similar to how you experienced it. It’s definitely not new and shiny-looking; it definitely feels “older”. I felt similarly to you, but then i realized it was clean. Glad you agree the beds are amazing, though. It’s cheaper than a Seoul hostel.

  18. rachel says:

    Well coverage! Thanks for sharing. during my last trip, two JJB i asked in Myeong Dong really turn me off, cheapest price for the JJB was quoted at 80,000won per person. i think it is a ripped off 😛

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