Going Native Part 2: Jinjabang

We headed to the Dragon Hill Spa in central Seoul in order to celebrate Shauna Teacher’s birthday. The spa, well actually a high class Korean Jinjabang, was my first Jinjabang experience, and in many ways I was spoilt but it has also prepared me for the ‘dodgier’ establishments (i have yet to actually set foot in another jinjabang yet). Nudity is a big part of the Korean spa experience and as westerners, Koreans tend to gawp. Korean women when naked, surrounded only by other Korean women, have no issues with modesty and tend to flaunt, wiggle, bend in any which way they please which can be a tad awkward especially when putting socks on first! However, it only took a short amount of time to get used to it and get used to it I did. The baths, the saunas, the steam rooms, the bodyscrubs WOW. My favourite bath had to be the seawater bath, outside and big you were supposed to ‘walk in it’ but instead we just submerged our bodies into the steaming hot salty water and felt very nourished. I got involved in all of the baths, some of which have useful names ‘Ginseng bath’ where you bathe in water mixed with Ginseng, some more vague ‘Event bath’ for instance, not sure what that was about! Essentially my first Jinjabang experience was pure heaven….
At the end of May, myself and Mary headed back to Dragon Hill in order to start our 3 day weekend on a relaxing and de-toxed note. This time we felt like professionals, the fear was well and truly gone, and we spent several hours soaking ourselves in the baths, sweating in the hot rooms and saunas and once again being scrubbed to within an inch of our lives. This experience is definitely something that will be missed when i leave Korea, i doubt London’s high class offerings will be a patch on Dragon Hill where it costs £6 entry, £10 for a scrub and £20 for a scrub and massage, I plan to get involved as much as I can and I will also attempt to visit some others in my local area, well not that local I’m not sure I want my students or parents of my students to see me minus clothes…..
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