Naked & Unafraid: A Korean Bath House Experience

It was the morning after UMF Korea that we decided it was time we all needed a good scrub down. Where better to do so than a Korean bathhouse? I took a long hot shower that morning and thought I was decently clean before we headed to the bathhouse.

My brother found a Korean Bath House on trip advisor for my sister, Dianna, and I to have some much needed “girl time” while he hit up the casino with lady luck. We took a short taxi ride from the hotel to the front entrance of Silloam Sauna. It was a short hike up and we weren’t really sure what to expect at the top of the hill.

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We walked straight to the front desk where an ajumma, older Korean lady, greeted us with a pamphlet full of options and prices. We decided we only needed access to the “Extended Bath House,” because we would not have time to enjoy all the different saunas on this particular trip. It was 8000 KRW (~$7.20 USD) per person for admission into the facilities. She handed us each one ticket for all 3 of us, since we paid together, and sent us on our way with a small bright orange towel. Then we went into the women’s locker area where we immediately took off our shoes and placed them into individual lockers.

There was another desk with another ajumma who went over the price list of services they offer which include massage, body oil rub, shampoo, face massage, “placenta” massage, or any combination of the above. We all chose to go with the 60,000 KRW (~$54.00 USD) “rubbing and full body oil massage.” Once we paid, the sweet little ajumma with foam curlers in her hair, handed us each a locker key for our clothes and pointed us towards the bathhouse downstairs.

I was lucky to have gone with my sister-in-law and open-minded new friend from EPIK Orientation, Dianna. We were all comfortable enough with each other to strip down without hesitation. We tip toed around giggling in excitement like little girls as we made our way down the stairs to where all the action happens.

Downstairs another world existed. A world of constant running water, soapy lathering, hot lamps, pools filled to the rim, and most notably…naked bodies both young and old everywhere! I should mention the women’s bathhouse is separate from the men’s so there’s no intermingling here.

First order of business, shower! There are no curtains, doors, or covers. Everything is out in the open! I have to admit it is a bit awkward at first, but it didn’t take me long to get over it. There is an unspoken understanding amongst everyone that we are all here for the same purpose: to bathe.

There was a special corner sectioned off where 3 ajummas, dressed in only bras and granny panties, motioned us to come over after we finished showering. They were washing and rinsing off the massage tables before giving us the signal to lie down. I made sure to lie down very carefully so I wouldn’t slide off the slippery surface of her table. I was excited but also a little apprehensive about what was about to my very naked body on this cute little lady’s wet massage table. My ajumma looked at me observing my body and then she broke out into a little provocative dance accentuating her own lady lumps. In that moment, I couldn’t help but laugh and all my anxiety washed down the drain with the water that she sprayed on me.

So much happened while I was on that table for what felt like forever. Occasionally I would look over to my sister and Dianna just to get an idea of what was going on during each step of our “rubbing and oil massage.” They bathed us with soap and water and scrubbed E V E R Y inch of our bodies with little scrubbing mitts. I have only had this done one other time in my life at Jeju Spa in Duluth, Georgia. The body scrub is where I get my money’s worth. All my dead skin rolled off like eraser bits. It truly is the best body exfoliation experience! They don’t miss any part of you, top to bottom and front to back.

After the intense body scrub, they rinsed us off and started the oil body massage. Hot towels were placed on our backs and tummies. The little ladies used their strong hands to knead, slap, and pound on our aching bodies. I didn’t enjoy the slapping so much. My thighs and legs were already sore from 2 days of dancing and there were more than a few times that I winced a little while she pounded on my sore spots. I should have probably said something, but I just took it like a champ.

The relaxing oil rub came shortly after the hot towel “beating.” My body felt like mush and my mind started to wander off thinking about random things while this lady went to work on me. Then suddenly, I felt a cool tingly sensation all over my face. She placed shredded cucumber all over my face and mummy wrapped my face with a net so that the cucumber would stay put. It felt amazing. The cucumber mask wrap was hands down my most favorite thing about the whole experience. I wasn’t expecting any facial treatments so it was a pleasant surprise.

While the cucumbers were cooling my face off, she poured milk over my body and gently massaged it into my skin. Lying there naked drenched in milk and head wrapped in cucumbers was the most relaxing part of the entire experience. My mind had already drifted off to another place until my lady tapped me on my shoulder to wake me. She helped me turn my body around so that she could finish me off with the final shampoo. Our hour was up and they motioned us over to the shower area to signal that they were finished with us.

We rinsed our soapy heads and headed over for a dip in each of the different pools they had. I could only sit in a hot temperature pool for about 8 minutes before I felt like my head was going to pop off. After submerging ourselves in 3 different warm water pools, we did a final dip in the ice-cold pool to shock our pores. The water was freezing, but it felt great after being so heated in the 3 other hot pools. I looked up at the clock hanging on the wall and we had been there for nearly 2 hours. It was time to go!

We exited into the room right below the stairway where we could weigh ourselves, dry off and moisturize with the lotions provided. My sister said she lost about 2 kg after coming out, which is crazy, but she had more dead skin than Dianna and me combined from tanning in Bali. We stood in front of the mirror admiring our new clean and glowy skin. I felt so refreshed and renewed. I’ve made a vow to myself that I will go get this done at least every 8 weeks, let’s hope I can keep my own promise!

A Korean bath house/spa is incomparable to any other type of spa. Go get naked and don’t be afraid. It is truly a one of a kind experience that everyone should have. Where else could you pay to have a little old lady give you good beating? Never mind, don’t answer that! Just gooooo!

Wanna go where I went? Here’s the information for location:

Visit their website: http://www.silloamsauna.com/

Enjoy Korea : http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=610005

Address: 49 Jungnim-ro, Jung-gu, 서울특별시
Phone:02-364-3944
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Clean as can be!

My Korean bath house experience at Silloam is included in my vlog on my YouTube channel, check it out!

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