Young Korean woman walking around with towels the size of handkerchiefs and not too bothered about being exposed. Tired little, socialites sitting on the ground in front of their designated lockers attempting to remove their layers of make-up, remnants from the night before. It could only be a Korean Jimjilbang!
Unlike my first visit to a Korean Jimjilbang (to get naked or not to get naked) where I arrived fresh-faced and ready for a day of pampering and relaxing in the magical hot pools and saunas, I was instead arriving with my friend Becky at 4am, delirious from 2 long nights of partying in Hongdae and was desperate for a place to rest my head for a few hours.
We paid our 10,000 won entrance fee, suited up in out matching Pjs, bypassed the hot pools full of naked flesh and headed downstairs to rest our tired heads.The image I had in my head of laying down on a thin, but comfy, mattress with a pillow in a dimly lit room with a few other tired souls quickly evaporated upon entering “Wedding Jimjilbang” next to Hapjeong station.
There were over 200 men and woman, all in matching pink Pajama suits occupying every free inch of floorspace to be seen. It was like some sort of aftermath of a huge, crazy college-party-gone-wrong with passed out bodies sprawled across the floor. We passed one old Ajosshi with both hand down his pants and many more snoring so loud in was surprising anyone within a 10 meter proximity could get any sleep.
We eventually curled up outside the door to the cold room, using our tiny towels as pillows and napped for about 2 hours, occasionally waking up as people walked by us or more people lay down next to us making our personal space smaller and smaller by the minute. The lights were so strong that I had to fore-go my pillow and use my towel to cover my eyes instead. To say I was uncomfortable would be equal to saying the Sahara desert is a little warm…understatement of the century.
Jimjilbangs are a great place to go in the day time. A great place to detox, relax, chill out or get clean. But if you are looking for a good nights sleep, and one where you are not forced to huddle up in a corner on the hard ground I recommend you push out all the stops and get that taxi home or even splash out on a hostel! Your poor body will thank you for it.