So, I’ve promised some of you the inside tip on the best jjimjilbang in Seoul…
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.
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.
Table of Contents: Is Siloam Sauna the BEST jjimjilbang in Seoul?
Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul?
1. Saunas and Fomentation
Here’s some my favorite fomentation rooms :
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 sleep 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.
4. 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!
5. 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!
6. Can you store you luggage at this bathhouse?
I get a lot of questions about luggage storage. Firstly, this is a bathhouse, not a hotel. I know I write it like it can be an inexpensive accommodation and you’ll see on Korean dramas, it is used by homeless Koreans. But it is not meant to be a hotel so they will not be responsible for your luggage.
Lockers in the bathhouse are tight and fit clothes, a small carry on bag or daypack. I have tried living out a trip in bathhouses and it is not comfortable. You might last two days before feeling like you want one spot to keep your luggage.
You can leave your luggage at the front desk at the entrance. They put a net over the luggage area to keep it safe from grab and runners. But it is still open to the public and there is not any system to keep others from claiming your luggage as their own. When you leave, you must take your luggage with you (duh).
If you have anything valuable inside your luggage, I suggest you find a paid locker at Seoul Station nearby. They have lockers equipped to store larger luggage.
How to Get to 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.
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
Do you have a favorite Korean bathhouse or jjimjilbang in Seoul?
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