The theme of this post is nudity. Butt ass naked nudity. But in the purest form, of course.
Before coming to Korea I had heard a thing or two about Korean bath houses, otherwise known as jjimjilbangs. First, I heard that you get completely naked and wander around a bath house (which made me quite nervous), and second, that they are everywhere and that you can even stay over night for practically nothing if you want to. Other than that, I didn’t know much until I went on a very fun first date and got the low down about the amazingness, and the sometimes wandering hands of the local Koreans. From the couple stories I was told, I was urked yet rather intrigued at the same time, and knew it was something I’d have to experience for myself. Cue last night’s adventure to the top-of-the-line Dragon Hill Spa in Yongsan (http://www.dragonhillspa.co.kr/) with my loverlies, Abby and Steph. All of us were jjimjilbang virgins and had wanted to make sure our first time was as pleasurable and memorable as possible so we chose a place we new would be legit.
Here’s how it went down…
After braving thru the frigid cold upon exiting the station, we oriented ourselves and followed the bright lights toward the spa. We walked in, feeling a bit clueless as to where to go, so we just followed a group of Koreans who were just ahead of us. When in doubt! We made our way to the register, and for a measly 10,000won (less than 10 bux!) we were given a luxurious t-shirt and baggy fat man pants, a key wristband and 2 teeny towels. I felt like we were signing our lives away to a heavenly nudist concentration camp (I’m a Jew, I can make that joke). We then followed the Korean crowd again and did as they did and took off our Uggs before walking into the shoe locker room where we found our first of two lockers. This one was cubby-sized and for our shoes.
Moving on, following the crowd still, we made our way past a co-ed arcade room where a bunch of adults were just hanging out and playing ski ball and other arcade games in their sexy concentration camp attire. We found the elevator which gave us the choice of 2 floors; one for men and one for women. Upon reaching the 3rd floor, we exited into a land of naked Korean bodices, Korean hard boiled eggs and what we would later deem Heaven on Earth. I was already really nervous about getting butt ass naked with my homies, and I got even more nervous when I was greeted by the nakedness. I mean, yea we are all girls and have the same stuff but it’s weird, and we’ve all only been friends for a few measly months. I guess you just get super close with peeps fast when on a journey such as this. Nonetheless, we made our way to our second locker where we disrobed and changed into our fancy spa duds. Easing our way in. I like it.
After changing, we made our way into the main area where we yet again followed some Koreans into a room which was littered with some sort of bamboo type mats and rectangular cushy blocks for your head. It had this scent that I loved, which was a woody amberish scent. Here many were napping, but we continued thru to the little tiny door across the room, which was called the Ochre room. Curious, we opened the door and were greeted with a blast of excruciating heat. I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was excruciating. I felt like a poor turkey being plopped in the oven to roast, or just someone who decided to go take a seat on the sun for the hell of it. But like the champs that we are, we made our way past the 6 or so older Korean women sweating their asses off, and found a seat in the back of the oven. Keep in mind I had not even been in there for more than 45 seconds and I was already dripping sweat, or gravy, whichever you prefer. I blinked my eyes and they stuck together and burned. This was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was like a sauna on steroids. I sat down on the ground and my butt lit on fire. I put one of my tiny towels under my butt and it burned thru the towel and scorched my butt even more. It was like playing hot potato with my butt, but I stuck it out for probably about 7 minutes. I had to leave because I thought I was gonna die, but Steph and Abby stayed in for about another 2 or 3 minutes. After cooking ourselves, we laid on the cool bamboo mats for a good 10 minutes and it was the most heavenly lay of my life.
You know what part comes next? The naked part. That’s what comes next. Eeep. After leaving the Ochre room we made our way back to locker number two to shed our concentration attire. The whole time walking back all I could do was giggle and go “omgomgomg I’m so nervous!” Over and over, as the naked bodies kept shuffling past me. Back at the lockers Steph undressed the quickest, you eager beaver you. Then she greeted Abby and I on our side of the hall with nothing but a teeny tiny towel covering her “important parts.” This was literally a “Hello girls!” moment. It was like the first time MayMay and I basked topless together in the French Riviera. Twas a little weird at first, but after about 3 minutes passed it was all fine and dandy and liberating. So, we nakedly walked down the stairs into Heaven. And let me tell you what Heaven is like.
First, upon entering Heaven you must take a shower. After futzing with the lever for a couple seconds warm water came out. We then walked past a bunch of women sitting on plastic white stools in front of sinks showering themselves, washing their hair and scrubbing the shit out of each other. There were even a couple little kids running around frolicking in the pools. There are both inside and outside baths, and they range from luke warm, to mildly hot, to freezing cold, and each is infused with different aromas, or salts, and has jets that you can turn on or off at your own desire. One of them even had individual baths with hand railings in case the jets got you a little too excited that you lost yourself in the water. Watch out Abneet. My favorite was the last indoor bath we went into which was FREEZING cold and smelled like eucalyptus. I think this bath alone could cure my disgusting cough and open up them bronchials. It was painful at first, but once in the water it felt amazing. And then even better when we got out. I felt like my body was in this state of euphoria or something. My next favorite was the outside bath. After scampering outside, butt naked, in the probably below 30 degree weather, we gracefully sat in the piping hot bath. The combination of the heat and the cold was so delicious.
Next came the sauna and steam room. These were normal, not on steroids. The first was a sea salt sauna, and the second was an aroma steam room. The aroma of which we couldn’t place, but it was bomb diggity. We hung out with a bunch of older Korean women in both for a bit, and got in touch with our inner Korean woman.
After sweating, relaxing, observing full on naked body massages being performed, watching random women scrub each other’s backs and butts down, checking out the au naturale Korean-ness, and a final shower, we made our way back to our lockers where we put on our concentration camp pjs again and went back to the Ochre room for a lay and a snooze. Drifting in and out of a deep REM sleep, I had probably one of the best naps I’ve ever had, and it was on a bamboo mat on a rock hard wooden floor. Then was when we decided that this Kimchi Curry Matzah Ball soup-ness was soon to become an every Wednesday ritual to break up the week (with the addition of our other Kimchi bitch). I don’t think I have ever felt in that much bliss as I did last night.
So yea, it was amazing. I didn’t get touched inappropriately by any Korean women this time, but I’m sure it will happen some day. Until then, I can’t wait for next Wednesday! Oh, and maybe one day I’ll get this horny substance removal done, whatever that is, but probably not.
14 thoughts on “Do You Dare To Bare?”
This is hilarious. I live in koreatown in LA and there are these spas all over the place including one which is top rated allegedly literally around the corner from me, and I am TERRIFIED to go to them, yet secretly want to. I can’t even change in front of people at the gym lol. You are so brave!!!!! kudos for going, it sounds amazing!!!
lol thank youuu! i think the fact that they were all korean and this is so normal for them made it easier. we were like 3 of 5 foreigners in the place, but had it been a ton of foreigners it might have been a little harder lol. but it was amazing! you should go hahah
I was horrified when I first went, as well, but they are super relaxing. I prefer it when no one else is there, but still relaxing 🙂 I’d love to stay in one where you can sleep- sounds perfect after the hot pool.
Yes, I agree! The nap I had there was the best I ever had, so I can only imagine what a full night’s sleep would be like 🙂
Your first jimjilbang experience definitely echoed mine a lot. I went with new friends as well and thought it was gonna be awkward but after a minute it was completely fine. It did indeed feel like Heaven. Anytime I travel somewhere in Korea I always prefer a jimjilbang over a motel- much cheaper and far more relaxing!
I still have yet to stay overnight in one, but that’s on my to-do list before peacing out! Glad to know that initial feeling is widely felt by others 🙂
Dragon Hill is one of my favorites in the winter. Love the super hot oven-like saunas there followed by the cold rooms. Jimjilbangs are really cool. I especially like the convenience of the one in Incheon airport. Super cheap and makes traveling early in the morning much easier when you can get a private room.
Thanks for sharing.
Love reading accounts of first time experiences at the jimjilbang! So entertaining. Dragonhill Spa was also the first one I went to, but luckily I went with an experienced coworker/friend. Had very similar thoughts the whole time though! Now I love it so much and it seems much more normal. 😀
Yea, me too! And it’s funny when you try to explain how amazing it is to someone who still has yet to shake their nerves. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to persuade a wrack of nerves! Korea has many things backwards, and many things so so right 🙂
My first jjimjilbang experience was awesome as well, but I was so nervous beforehand! Hanging out stark-ass naked with a group of friends and a horde of strangers doesn’t happen too often back home. After the initial discomfort, though, it was so relaxing.
We did have an awkward experience in the sauna, though. One older man came to talk to us, putting one leg on the bench and doing the creeper ‘lean and dangle’ as he did so. As we all tried to stare at the ceiling, he proceeded to tell us how awesome Elvis was, how one of my friend’s had the ‘most handsome face’, and another friend had a ‘very Mexican face’. Ah, memories! 😛
Entertaining post, concentration camp jokes and all 😉
HAHAHAH that is an amazing visual!! I actually had a friend who told me an ajussi was sitting next to him in the sauna and *touched him* because he was curious about his white man package. he has been here so long that it didn’t even phase him lol
WHAT?! Hahahaha oh man, I would’ve jumped out of my skin. No touching the white man package, please!
Awesome story, always fun to read what other peoples first experiences are like. Mine was at Spaland in Busan. So awkward, but so relaxing!