I tried to dig on ci wil’s post bout her experience in this kind of culture but couldn’t find it : (. Well, time for telling the story : )
It was last month, when i went out of seoul to see the chery blossom festival. To save the expense and try a new experience, finally it was decided to stay in 찜질방 (jjimJilbang) or usually translated as “public sauna”.
What is that?
As you can see from the name, it is a sauna, and it’s for public. Hahaha i think that doesn’t enough answer the question. I think this place can be said like part of the korean culture, cos i never found like this in Indonesia (as far as i know, cmiiw).
From the word 찜질방 (JjimJilBang) it means :
– 찜 (Jjim) -> steam / boil ; -질 (-jil) -> the act of doing
(or another translation) JjimJil -> applying a poultice
– 방 (bang) -> room
so, literally translation it’s kinda room for steaming.
Normally, public sauna will have sauna rooms (of course), and the place to take a bath. People use to go here with their family, friends or their couples. It’s a good place to spend your leisure time. In this place, you can sleep, play, watch movie (in a big screen tv), eat..lot of things for sure.
And it could be another option to stay overnight, for example, you are out of nowhere in korea and it’s already midnite, no more subway, couldn’t find any bus. Well, going to jjimJilBang could be a good option. First, it’s a public place, and second, it’s not expensive : D
Ok, from my experience, i spent around 7,000won to stay there.
First, i got towel and pink uniform (yup uniform : ) ). For man, it’s gonna be blue one. The uniform was simple, just a t-shirt and shorts. So i got in the room to put my shoes, put my stuff and change my clothes. This time, i saw a shocking thing (at least for me).
I changed my clothes as fast as i could kkk then put all my stuff in the locker, then tried to explore the place. Cos it looked quite different from what i imagine before.
What’s on my mind was, jjimJilBang will have one big room, where everybody will sleep on the floor, some snack / meal corner, big tv screen to watch and sauna room for sure. But what i saw just the snack corner and lockers and other people were walking here and there, hairdrying their hair, and most of them were naked (omaigat~ noted : of course woman only in that room ^^). Errr…quite not used with this custom….err err… next to this locker room was a 목욕탕 (mogGyokTang) or translated as “public bathroom”, but since i still didn’t get use with this place, i skipped that part. I continued with my exploration, and finally found a direction to the jjimJilBang. And tadaaaa~~ yey, i found what i was looking for : ).
I saw a big place, and people were sleeping on the floor, with (around) 3 big tv, snack corner, some massaging chairs, room to have facial, and some sauna rooms. I called my korean friend and asked about those rooms.
So there were sauna rooms with different temperature, ice room, sauna room with salt on the floor, and sauna room with traditional heating system. *wow* i was impressed with those rooms, i just tried to take a look in each room. Also there were some rooms for people to sleep. But i chose to sleep in the main hall ^^. Took a pillow and thin blanket, talked with my friend and then watched the drama, and fell asleep~
When i woke up in the early morning (around 5.30AM) i saw that hall was full with people. and some people slept in the massaging chair, cos no more space for them to sleep. Now it’s time to wake up and the confusing thing…. should i take a bath, should i not…..
On my way back to the locker room, i was thinking thinking n thinking…And right before taking my stuff in the locker, i surveyed the mogGyokTang (public bathroom) part, only some ajummas (ibu-ibu) were there, around 2 or 3 people were on the whirlpool, 2 people massaging each other (err err another culture in here). Hmmm not so many people (since it’s so early in the morning). Sooooo i decided to take a bath hahaha… (as fast as i could for sure).
So in this part, there were some shower line up, people can take a shower with stand or sit. I tried to find empty part, BUT unfortunately, when i tried to start to take a bath, i couldn’t figure out, how to turn on the shower (o mai gat, masa kudu tanya orang laen yang lagi mandi juga… adooohhh…risiii deeee). So i tried some shower there, but i couldn’t find the way to turn it on..and finaly i have no choice left but to ask other people who was having shower : (. So with the thought of no one knows me, and no one will know, and i’m not from this area…..i asked one woman bravely…. And thnx to her, she helped me with that.
I tried to finish it as fast as i could, and i couldn’t stop smiling to think about that experience.I was totally absolutely obviously awkward with this culture. until now! And I think i’ll think twice, or 3 or 4 times if my friends ask me to go to Jjimjilbang. Well, the sauna part was fine, but the take a bath part…err err….*i prefer take a bath in dorm loooo*
Well, that’s the culture. And i heard, with 5000 won, you can have someone to scrub on you (in case u don’t go there with friends and you wanna get scrubbed). But for me… No thanks! (at least for now)…
So, ada yang perna mengunjungin tempat spt ini di indo kah?
Kebayang dulu masup FF aja risi sana sini kalo mo ganti.. La ini orang2 pada jalan buligiran dengan santai, hair-dryer-an dengan santai, bahkan masup2 ke snack corner (yang ada deket mogGyokTang tentuna) dengan santai sambil buligiran.
Well, it’s one of my biggest culture shock in here : ). But i think, it’s worthed to try it, at least one may be, since i’m here hihihi…so if other ask me, have you ever to go to JjimJilBang? I can answer it YES hohoho. But may be i might not go there with you kkkk…
Yah kalo yang sering daku bilang, daku tak mo diliat, dan daku juga ga mo liat2-an de… hihihi…
So, it’s just different culture, but i’m still not familiar with it, and i choose not to be (once more, at least for now : D)
Of course no picture available for this post : P