If there is anything about Korea I am going to miss, it will be the $5-10 spa’s with head to toe soaks, oils and massages. Some contain over 15 different types of sauna’s offering every type of hot remedy from laser lights to steam rooms and relaxation halls.
These “jimjilbangs”, as Koreans say, are a must if going to Korea; however, the shy should be weary. These places are entirely naked and include a range of ages. While you are separated by sex, seeing so many naked bodies may take a little getting used to, even for the boldest of people.
Aside from the massages (which do come at an extra price but are entirely worth it), the spa’s also offer a full body exfoliation for about 15 bucks, $25 if you want to add oils to it.
Feeling especially adventurous, my friend, Ran, and I decided to try it out. Although the spa is naked we didn’t really think about the repercussions of a potentially naked full body exfoliation. However, that is exactly what we signed up for: two old naked ladies (aka adjuma’s…the word for grandma in Korean) scrubbing as hard as they could – literally – all over our bare bodies.
The best part of this weird experience was the communication barrier. Koreans are not particularly smooth with their movements as it is and it is even worse when there is no word warning for their actions. So I found myself being slapped to turn over, water splashed on my face, and finding my masseuse on top of me stretching and contorting my body in all kinds of unnatural positions. At one point my friend and I were both on our sides facing each other (because of course there are no separate rooms for these things) and just started laughing because the entire situation was just ridiculous. I was being scrubbed by an elderly naked woman in the middle of a steaming naked spa with my feet dangling off the table as it was clearly made for a much shorter Asian.
But was it worth it?
Yes, turns out that a Korean jimjilbang exfoliation experience is completely worth it. Your skin will be baby smooth for several weeks – all you have to endure is a naked show down between you and an adjuma. If not for the smooth skin, than simply for the absolutely ridiculous experience of naked exfoliation!