My First Jimjilbang: Siloam Sauna

I’ve been in Korea for almost 3 years now, but until a few days ago I had never been to a jimjilbang. I know it’s a vital Korean experience, but I just wasn’t sure I could get over the whole being naked in front of people thing. Granted, I did do the onsen in Japan, on a tour of Kyushu island. But the onsen baths were located in a large spread out village so my friends and I went to the baths on the outskirts to avoid having to strip down in front of a lot of people. Obviously it’s not possible to avoid people in one single spa building.

In fact, when I went to Siloam sauna this past weekend, I didn’t intend to go to the bath section at all — I was going to just check out the saunas and then crash in the sleeping room. This blog is simply the latest in a long string of blogs praising this sauna and it’s sleeping room, which unlike other jimjilbangs, actually has individual sleeping compartments with mats, pillows, and a towel to use as a blanket.

The price to stay the night is 15,000 won. The difference between this and a hostel price (typically around 20,000 won) is pretty small, but unlike a hostel, that price includes several saunas and relaxing baths, a set of pajamas and large resting areas. Also, no need to worry about waiting for a shower (there are plenty in the bath area obviously) or a bathroom as there are several stalls on every floor. The baths are located in the basement floor and the sleeping rooms are on the 5th floor.

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The sleeping area.

Since this was my first jimjilbang, I don’t have any other to compare it to, but I was really impressed with the facilities here. The locker in the locker room is big enough to store a backpack, and you can buy shampoo, conditioner (rinse), other toiletries, underwear, socks, and snacks from the counter there. They also have a closet to store big luggage, as the place is pretty popular with tourists. On the second floor, there’s a Korean restaurant with plenty of food choices. The third floor is the entertainment floor, complete with a PC bang, fitness center, arcade, and noraebang. The fourth floor has the saunas. I really liked the jade room, where you can basically lay down and cover yourself with a bunch of hot(!) jade crystals. There’s also oxygen rooms (neutral temperature) a very very hot room (86 Celsius, I wasn’t brave enough to go in there) and an ice room to cool off afterward. The fourth floor also has a coffee shop.

Every floor has small lockers to charge cell phones, ensuring that no one will snatch the phone. They’re also free. The whole place had a nice warm ondol.

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The charging lockers. Other valuables can also be stored here. The “Forefingers only” lockers have adapters. 

After I checked out the saunas, I decided I wanted to shower so I headed down to the locker room area. I was reluctant but eventually got over my fear of being naked because, hey, everyone else around me was naked too. I went down to the women’s bath and showered, then checked out the baths. There were massage tubs, a jade tub, a cold pool, and others. It was nice and relaxing and in the locker room there were plenty of blow dryers.

After that I chose a bunk in the women’s sleeping section. The beds on the top have curtains for extra privacy and the mats were surprisingly comfortable. The only issue I had was that I thought the room was a bit too hot. Also, although there was a separate snoring room, there were plenty of snorers in my section. Still, though, it’s a convenient place to spend the night, that’s for sure.

For reference, Siloam’s web site.

Siloam is nearby Seoul Station, and can be accessed by the Seoul Station subway stop (Line 1 and 4) or Chungjeongno station (Line 2 and 5). I chose Chungjeongno because I read it was easier to find from there. Just go out exit 5, walk straight for a few minutes and eventually it will be visible on the left. Very easy.

The next day, I took a bus down to Cheongju, to visit the last province I hadn’t yet been to in Korea (Chungbuk) and see Beopjusa, which is a temple located in Songnisan National Park and contains Korea’s only remaining five story wooden pagoda.

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2 thoughts on “My First Jimjilbang: Siloam Sauna

  1. Thanks for your awesome recommendation. Do you know how big the one-size clothing in the jimjilbang is? I have read in other posts that a plus size woman was given men’s clothes, but I’m rather large, so I’m trying to figure out if I can fit in them at all. Also, tattoos. What kind of bad reaction might I get for my tattoo bracelets on my arms?

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    1. Hey,

      From what I remember, the shorts were large and stretchy but it’s possible the shirt may not fit, but it’s possible the man’s size would. You shouldn’t have a problem with tattoos, I’ve seen foreigners with tattoos go in the baths before.

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