Korean spas are so fun and are something of there own. If you live in the Global North, i.e. in the USA, Europe or Canada, nudity is considered taboo, and we are not used to seeing it in public. However, in some parts of the world, nudity is considered something natural and has been demystified. In some parts of the world, where people tend to be more open about their openness and nudity, nudity is something completely natural and part of socialization.
For this reason, a Korean spa can be pretty scary when you enter it for the first time. Have no fear, though, because we’ll guide you through this. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn more about the etiquette that you ought to follow when going to a Korean spa.
What is it?
Also known as Jjimjilbang, spas are places where you can enjoy a variety of dry and wet saunas, massages, Korean food, relaxing pools, and the usual facilities and skin care products. They are usually open around the clock, as they are designed so that everyone can relax whenever they have time. Nowadays, most Korean spas also have Wi-Fi but leave your phone in the locker and your laptop at home, sit back, relax and enjoy this experience 100%.
It’s true that when you go to Korean spas, you should feel pretty comfortable with your body (but these Harabeoji/Grandpas don’t care about their appearance and are there to relax) and with nudity in public. But rest assured, these Harabeoji and Ahjumma (Korean word for aunt) who are around don’t care about you. They are here to relax, forget about their gentrified lives and enjoy the spa facilities.
1. Silence is worth its weight in gold
The highlight of Korean spas is the abundance of dry saunas. The walls of these heated rooms can be made of 23-karat gold, gemstones, salt, charcoal or any other substance known for its purported health benefits. To enjoy these benefits, all you have to do is walk in, find a comfortable spot and… that’s it.
Don’t be surprised if you hear the other sauna guests snoring. But try not to snore. Try to make as little noise as possible if you can avoid it. For many people, a visit to a Korean spa is a rare opportunity to relax completely. Try to enjoy it. And if you feel restless, excuse yourself to one of the common areas where talking is not so frowned upon.
2. You have to be naked
Let’s not beat around the bush and cut to the chase; being naked is a prerequisite for going to a Korean spa. When you use the wet spas there, you have to be naked, you will be given a towel when you enter the spa, but it will most likely be too small to cover anything.
Everyone is going to be naked there, and we are most likely not going to look at you because they are so used to this. Going to a Korean spa has etiquette, and there are no rules to looking at anyone’s groin area, but if you feel uncomfortable with this, you can not look at other people and act as if there is no one in the world if naked body scares you.
Once you get in the hot and cold plunge pool, you will almost forget that other people are naked, and you will be too busy relaxing to notice anyone. You also won’t be naked the whole time you are there, as most dry sauna areas are co-ed, and this means that guests are issued suits that resemble PJs, which they have to change into when they are in said common areas.
3. Be aware of the high temperatures in the sauna.
There is a recommended maximum of 15 minutes for each sauna. This may seem overly cautious, but a full day in a high-temperature sauna can leave you light-headed and lethargic. Drink plenty of water, listen to your body and take it slow. If you feel tired, most Korean spas have movie theatres or meditation rooms where you can relax and take a break.
4. Forget about being pretty
To ensure the spa stays as hygienic as possible, you’ll probably need to shower between visits to the wet sauna or pool. This means that the time you spent arranging your hair or makeup would have been better spent doing other things (like flashing). If you’re fortunate, the Korean spa you visit might require you to wear a cute hair net in the wet sauna. If that bothers you, remember that hygiene is nice.
The good news is that everyone around you is in the same boat. And if you really can’t bear to look like you’re without makeup for a day, most Korean spa locker rooms have tools like hairbrushes, hair dryers, and cotton swabs that you can use to cool off when you’re ready to hit the dry Korean sauna.
A Korean spa is an ultimate exercise in self-confidence. So be ashamed of your body because no one is probably looking at you, and it’s a way for you to feel confident. You do what you want because it’s a judgment-free zone. Sound off in the comments below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about Korean spas.