Jjimjilbang in Busan, South Korea

Last night was my second visit to a Korean jjimjilbang, a public bathhouse with hot tubs, showers, massage tables, and saunas similar to a Russian banya (баня). This was my first jjimjilbang (찜질방) in Busan. My first trip to any jjimjilbang was an overnight affair, in the port city of Donghae.

Jjimjilbangs are usually open 24 hours, with many offering sleeping facilities. There are also unisex areas where families and friends can spend time together, watching TV, etc. Everywhere else is segregated by gender, and totally nude. If you are shy, the jjimjilbang is not for you.

Jjimjilbangs are not built for tourists. They are popular with Korean families. They are also a very cheap way to kill an hour or more. The price varies depending upon when you arrive, but at this particular location, if you arrive at, say, 8pm on a Wednesday, you pay only 5,000 Korean won (~$4.50 USD) for unlimited use of the facilities and a limited selection of hygiene products.

Going to a jjimjilbang is an intimate experience but not necessarily an intimate physical environment. Jjimjilbangs are large facilities, so most likely you can find space for yourself if being naked around strangers makes you uncomfortable. My advice: Get over it and go.