Sunday, September 13, 2009

Korean Public Bath House (목욕탕) and jim jil bang (찜질방)

ok here is the story. not a story really but this is what I understand about Korean Public Bath Houses and the very popular jim jil bang.

first the well know: Public Bath Houses are called 목욕탕 Mok York Tang. There are 7 or 8 in Wando town. They are the place to go for a bath with others of the same gender. You pay 4,000 won at the door, go to the men's section / womens section and get undressed, totally naked and lock all your gear in a locker and put the key around your wrist or ankle on an elastic band.

you go into the washing area. There are 10 to 20 shower spaces, some standing some for sitting on small stools to wash. Oh you are given a tooth brush and the paste is supplied to share. You must shower before setting foot or butt into the bath.

There are several baths, at least two or three hot or warm and at least one or two cold. There is also a real Sauna or room of very dry very hot air at about 70 to 80deg C. (a very hot day in the sun is 35 to 40C) i have not seen a steam room in 목욕탕 yet.

one place i go to often has one bath of hot sea water which has been through seaweed, so the water is a green colour and smooth to feel. another tub is bubbling hot like a spa, another is warm and you may put the spa on if you like. the cold water tank is biggest and almost waste deep and long enough to wade 15 metres or swim a few strokes.

at the 목욕탕 mok york tank men sometimes take their sons or friends go and chat and wash eachother. I usually go alone as most men do.

also inside the bathing section where all men (women) are naked, there is a massage table, usually with a screen along the side. but all can see too. The person being massaged or getting a body scrub is naked and in my favourite place, the massage man is naked too, except he wears purple plastic sandles.

ok so that's the bath room.

In the locker room is a barbers corner, a shoe cleaning corner, a TV, lounges, mirrors and hair dryers, scales, weight machines and bench presses, walking machines and one where you stand with a belt around your butt and it vibrates. Quite a sight !!

see the photos.

sorry girls and guys no photos of the bath area.

now the jim jil bang (찜질방) . Bang is any room. Jim jil bang is a large common sleeping room for men and women, boys and girls, so all are clothed in a uniform supplied at the door. baggy pants and baggy top. there are mats upon which to sleep or pay more for a padded bed type of thing. there is a TV screen, snack shop, coffee machine and other things. also there are smaller rooms (bang) set at different temperatures. some quite hot some quite cold try 12 C. people spend a short time in the different rooms chatting with friends and others but the big room is for overnight sleeping something like a back-packers.

To use a jim jil bang one has to go to Mok York Tang for a shower first, then get into the PJs and go to the jim jil bang to relax. in the morning you go to the bath room / mok york tang for your morning shower, breakfast in the snack bar and off you go. Your goodies are safe in the locker over night.
so that's it.

mok york tang for washing naked. jim jil bang for sleeping in PJs on the floor with others.

simple. !!

cold room of 12deg C.

this is off a web site but you get the idea. I have not seen one as beautiful as this bath house.

I took this one in Wando, the men's locker room.

these are posing . normally no clothes are permitted.


1 comment:

docjen said...

certainly not what westerners are used to, well in mainstream life anyway! the photo of the swish bath house/pools no doubt are taken in a Hotel in Seoul or=.