For Koreans, one of the most popular and unique ways to relieve stress and get pampered is by enjoying a Korean sauna at a traditional Korean bathhouse called “Jjimjilbang (찜질방)”.
For foreigners, these Korean public bathhouses offer you the most authentic and unique cultural experiences such as getting naked in the public and soaking in a bath tub with other people, all of which will blow your mind away.
To show you what it’s like to experience Korean sauna culture and what you can expect at a Korean spa, I, from Trazy Crew, visited Dragon Hill Spa in Seoul, the most famous Korean spa in the city.
So check out this guide to Dragon Hill Spa with a summary of my experience plus tips below!
Dragon Hill Spa at a glance
Dragon Hill Spa is open 24 hours a day and all year round, you can visit the spa anytime of the year, making it a great late-night spot to hang out with your special ones and the perfect place to escape the heat, cold and rain.
Along with spa and sauna, Dragon Hill Spa offers you a wide range of amenities as well, such as internet cafe, fitness center, arcade center, and even a karaoke. And you can enjoy all of these at a relatively low cost, which is less than $15!Offering more than just a spa, it has been featured in many famous Korean dramas and TV programs, such as a popular Korean variety show called “Running Man” and named as one of the three best saunas in Seoul by CNN.
With signs and menus in English, Japanese and Chinese, the spa is also very foreigner-friendly. It’s no wonder it’s popular among foreign tourists!
Tips for those want to visit Dragon Hill Spa
1. Take advantage of online discount tickets.
While you can buy tickets at a regular price on site, you can also get discount tickets to Dragon Hill Spa on Trazy.com. If you buy from Trazy, all you have to do is show your mobile voucher.
2. Take the subway.
Located in the district of Yongsan in central Seoul, it is very easy for first-time travelers and visitors to get to Dragon Hill Spa and taking the subway is highly recommended if you are not used to taking the local buses.From Yongsan Station’s Exit 3, you can spot Dragon Hill Spa on your right.
Tips on getting prepared at Dragon Hill Spa
Once you show the mobile voucher from Trazy, you will receive sauna uniform for a change and a bracelet-like key.
This key opens all of your lockers (for shoes and clothes) and you can use this key to make a payment when you buy food and snacks at the cafeteria inside the building. So never ever lose the key!!!! If you lose the key, better run up to the front desk and ask for help.
Now, you must first change into sauna uniform.If you are a lady, take the elevator.If you are a man, enter the passage on the left.
Once you get off the elevator, just follow the sign and enter. Then look for the locker according to the number written on your key. Put all your belongings and anything valuable inside the locker.Change into the clothes that you received from the front (don’t take off your underwear! ;)).
Tips on what to enjoy in Dragon Hill Spa
1. Don’t miss these Jjimjilbang foods!
Other bathhouses usually serve two kinds – a boiled egg and a roasted egg, or “Maek-ban-seok (Stone-plate Cooked Egg)” in Korean.But you can find 3 kinds of eggs at Dragon Hill Spa. Koreans usually drink “Sikhye (Sweet Rice Drink)” together with the eggs. It is traditional Korean beverage made with rice and has some grains of cooked rice in it. Drink a glass of ice cold rice juice after sweating out in the saunas – 100% satisfaction is guaranteed!
2. Chill out at the public resting zone.
At the entrance of the public resting zone, you can find the rectangular cushion or pillow. Grab one of these and lie down, watch TV and enjoy maekbanseok eggs and sikhye with your friends and family.
It was kind of surprising to see so many numbers of people at the Dragon Hill Spa during the weekday, even when I visited late at night. I guess that’s because Dragon Hill Spa is really famous.
3. Try a bit of every sauna room in Dragon Hill Spa!
Dragon Hill Spa offers several types of sauna rooms and zones, such as Pyramid Meditation Room, Nephrite Jade Energy Room and Hinoki Woodland Room, so just choose the right place according to your preference (I would say, the temperature you can withstand)!
If this is your first visit, I highly recommended these sauna rooms.Here’s the Crystal Sun Salt Room, which is one of my favorites. Among many sauna rooms at Dragon Hill Spa, this is the most unique room, which is filled with salt pebbles everywhere.But do watch out when you walk on these little pebbles – they can be a bit painful.
If you opt for heat and steam, try the Korean traditional charcoal kiln, which looks like an igloo. These sauna rooms are different in temperatures: low, medium and high.The low-temp steam room is not that steamy or hot, so if you want more heat, you may want to move to the mid-temp room right next to it.For those who don’t like the heat, run over to this ice room!
It’s a perfect spot to cool off after sweating out in the hot sauna. But since it is freezing cold, you’ll probably want to get out of this room after 2 minutes.
4. Use a massage chair to relax your muscles.
5. Do explore other areas or floors in Dragon Hill Spa.
On the 1st floor, there are outdoor hot spring pool and various spa zones along with the snack bar and public resting zone.
On the same floor, you can also enjoy a spa treatment at the Royal Orchid Spa at an additional cost.On the 7th floor, there’s a Sky Garden and Garden Cinema. There’s a snack bar and a little karaoke room as well. 😉The basement floor features Cinema Hall, PC room (internet cafe), Game zone and a toilet. You might need to bring some cash to enjoy some of these facilities. And you can also find a little smoking room on the right side of the Adventure Zone.
6. Don’t panic. Public bath doesn’t really mean ‘public’.
After all the wandering, I finally headed back to women’s sauna zone to take a shower and a bath.
The public bath for men and women are completely separated, so no worries.
Carry the key and a towel and head downstairs to the bathing area where there’s a washing area for you to take a shower and a bathing area where you can enjoy refreshing bath.
You must take all of your clothes off, including your underwear. You’ll feel embarrassed to get naked in front of so many people at first, but nobody really cares so just try to be natural.
There are also various kinds of bath waters, so try each one! Don’t forget that it’s an etiquette to take a shower before you get inside a tub. 😉
7. You don’t need to bring your own toiletries.
If you’ve forgotten to bring your toiletries, don’t worry.
There’s a little store (a counter with a lady vendor) where you can buy all kinds of toiletries (mostly single-use) that you’ll need for a shower or bath (like shampoo, conditioner, cleansing foam, etc).
If you are done taking a cool shower and a bath afterward, it’s time to go home!
Freely use the complimentary hair dryers, toner and lotion, cotton swab, and etc prepared at the powder section. 😉
Last words about my experience at Dragon Hill Spa
The spa and sauna experiences, along with various entertainment facilities…all of them were amazing.
Though taking off clothes and getting to used to a public bath can be awkward at first, I think all of you will enjoy this unique Korean sauna culture.
Those who want to unwind in the city, head to Dragon Hill Spa for a soak today!
And of course, never forget to visit Trazy.com to find out the latest, newest, trendiest things to do in South Korea! 🙂