I’m terribly sorry to disappoint you, but this post is not going to have any pictures. I did not take any on my recent trip to a jjimjilbang.
A jjimjilbang is a public bathhouse. There are gender-segregated areas and common areas. For the common areas, they give you a set of clothes that look like they could be prison garb. The gender-segregated areas, though, are all nude.
I wouldn’t say I’m super modest, but up until last weekend I had never been naked in front of a whole bunch of strangers. There was definitely a moment of hesitation, but then it was obvious that it wasn’t really going to be so weird. Sure, you get some stares being foreign, but they aren’t too bad. And some old women even told us we were all beautiful.
There were many different pools available. There was an outdoor covered one with a natural spring, a green tea bath, a hot bath (43 degrees Celsius), a medium bath (38 degrees Celsius), a cold bath, a carbonic acid bath, a kiddie pool, and a shallow pool full of rocks that you walked over. I experienced all of these but the kiddie pool. There was a sauna (68 degrees Celsius) that I couldn’t stay in for more than one second.
There was also a room where you could pay for a massage or for a skin scrub. I did not do either. Finally, there were many showers – you shower before and after the hot tubs.
I also went to the coed area, where they have rooms of various temperatures. There was one that was 120 degrees Celsius and you had to wear a special mask. I didn’t go in that one. I liked the cold room.
They also had a restaurant, a convenience store, and a PC room. It was a nice place.
I’m really glad I went to a jjimjilbang. It’s a good experience. In the USA we have a major issue with nudity of any kind, even when it’s not sexual. It’s nice to see that it’s not like that in every culture – in some places it’s totally normal to get naked around other people. It feels kind of liberating. You can also see that women come in all shapes and sizes and that they are all beautiful. I really think that if you go and do this, you’ll come out of the experience feeling more confident in your body, which is really important for women who are often told that they should only look a certain way.
This jjimjilbang cost 11,000 Won and was next to the Osaek Green Yard Hotel. This particular one was based around natural hot springs. Most jjimjilbangs have a sleeping area, so that you can actually use them as a very cheap accommodation option (but you’ll be in a large common room on floor mats, so bear that in mind).
I’ll definitely be returning to a jjimjilbang in the near future. It’s relaxing and fun. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll work up to nude beaches.
Would you be comfortable getting naked in public?