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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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Konglish: a mysterious and confusing language sometimes..

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.  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 sitting 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???… fuuuck. Genius points to the person, who knows that meaning, without cracking open a dictionary.

fo·men·ta·tion (noun)
1.
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.
Welcome to Korea.

Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul?

Daebak! (aka best in Korean)  That’s what I think and comparing Siloam to the few I’ve visited in Seoul, here’s why:
Just as a note: The outside at night can look shady and dingy and the spa, obviously has years to its name. It’s easy to miss this building. Checking into Siloam Sauna is like any other jjimjilbang. They follow the standard routine of giving you standard smocks to change into, a shoe locker in the changing room and a small locker for your clothes and personal belongings (only fits daypacks and overnight bags; not carryon luggage). The keys you’ll keep on you at all times either on your wrist or ankle.

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!
Siloam 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 , 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’s some my favorite fomentation rooms :

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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 bathhouse is a spa

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.

Let’s get down to the deep scrub! Yes, these are separated by sex, because you’ll be going naked. Yup, naked. Westerners who feel uncomfortable with this will skip this part, as Koreans may stare. Korea has largely been a homogenous culture, so anyone foreign stands out (over the years there have been more native English teachers arriving into Korea annually, so Koreans are getting used to them and usually it’s just a matter of curiosity).  If you have tattoos and you’re a girl, they may stare. Tattoos on women are not common to Asia in general. If you’re Caucasian or African American, they may look to see how you’re different (okay, okay, I really wouldn’t freak out- it’s not malicious intent but curiosity and it’s not like they’ll super stare at you; just assume you look like Angelina Jolie to them or if you’re a guy, you’re Tom Cruise).  I’m Asian looking but one ajumma still came up to me while we were soaking in a bath and put her hand on my eye and poked around at my eyelid to see if they were real. She said her eyelids were fake, but it’s shocking nonetheless to be approached so intimately, when you’re both naked. Wouldn’t let this stop you from enjoying the bath- just have fun with the celebrity status.

Back to the baths… Personally, anything which says it will revive young skin, induce health benefits or rejuvenate me,  definitely earns a ‘thumbs up’. Their baths possess “healing benefits”.

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.

Tips for Navigating Korean Culture

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 (see the photos above), 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.

There are 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 is price

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!

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siloam spa seoul

 Information:

Siloam Fire Pot Sauna  (Seoul, South Korea)

This sauna is close to Seoul Station. You can store your luggage in the train lockers there or ask to store them at the sauna. There is no private storage space at the sauna. The keep the luggage near the doorway and checkin counter, with a rope over the bags. It’s open to public and they won’t ask when you remove your bags.

website: www.siloamsauna.com
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?  

See more of my jjimjilbang faves and accommodations in Korea. 

Watch my travel tips for Korea :


Watch : Top 5 Tips for Traveling to Seoul
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50 Comments. Leave new

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!!

Reply

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.

Reply

[…] stranded in a foreign city(Busan) and wander the streets in the pouring rain.  Stumbled upon a jjimjilbang(Korean Sauna – link is another blogger who has great information about them).  I have a […]

Reply

[…] The Siloam Sauna near City Hall in Seoul was freaking packed when we arrived on New Year’s Day 2016! There were buses of Chinese tourists outside and I felt like the Star Wars quote: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Sure enough, it was a mess inside. Bodies occupying every available shower, very little space in the tubs and just too much everything. I posted up in the salt room, got some salt and gave myself a scrubbing. It was a bad idea to come on the universally most hungover and thus most crowded day of the year, but here we were. The buses left after a while, and the place thinned out. Here are some pictures of the common chilling areas, and more information here. […]

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[…] just check out the saunas and then crash in the sleeping room. This blog is simply the latest in a long string of blogs praising this sauna and it’s sleeping room, which unlike other jimjilbangs, […]

Reply

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

Reply

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?

Reply

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