Last Updated on

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.

siloam spa seoul, top jjimjilbangs in seoul, top bathhouses in seoul, top attractions in seoul, what to do 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.

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 :

siloam ice room, siloam spa seoul, top jjimjilbangs in seoul, top bathhouses in seoul, top attractions in seoul, what to do in seoul, top sauna and spa in seoul

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!

siloam spa seoul, 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

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!

siloam spa seoul

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
Previous Post
Why should you be a ‘Yes’ Wo/man?
Next Post
Photo Essay: A Teddy Bear Museum on Jeju Island?

Related Posts

50 Comments. Leave new

[…] US versions of these but I have to have the authentic experience while in Korea! So I'm heading to Siloam Spa right near the Seoul Station for easy access to the airport before I fly out at 4:30 on Friday. Not […]

Reply

[…] Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul? […]

Reply

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?

Reply
    Avatar
    Christine Kaaloa
    February 25, 2014 4:42 pm

    @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.

    Reply

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!

Reply

[…] Is Siloam Sauna the best jjimjilbang in Seoul? […]

Reply

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.

Reply
    Avatar
    Christine Kaaloa
    October 28, 2013 4:49 am

    @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. 😉

    Reply

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?

Reply

    @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.

    Reply

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.

Reply

    @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.

    Reply

      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!

      Reply
        Avatar
        Christine Kaaloa
        August 7, 2013 11:08 am

        @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?

        Reply

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. ^___^

Reply

    @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. (https://grrrltraveler.com/category/reviews-2/jjimjilbangs-bathhouses/)
    .
    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.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Menu