A Day At the Mall & the Spa

14.11.13

It was a cloudy morning and a cold one. I decided to stay indoor at least until the sun came out.

I had breakfast at the hotel. The dining room was empty. 20131114_093551I had toast and I was amazed by the smart design of……this jam container….. ^_^20131114_093657 20131114_093741Usually, we have to open the plastic seal and there are times when it is hard to open; especially if the tiny corner that can be pulled was torn completely. This jam container design at the hotel had a part on the center of its plastic seal so all you had to do was fold the container into two (as shown by the picture on the plastic seal) and the jam would come out from the center. It’s so easy to get the jam out of the container.

My destination for that day was a well known place in Seoul, the Yongsan Dragon Hill Spa. You know the saying that goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and that’s what I wanted to experience in Korea. Korean loves to spend time to play and relaxing at the Jimjilbang.

Before going there, I read several articles about Jimjilbang and how you’re supposed to do there. Here are some articles:

A Visit to the Luxurious “Dragon Hill Spa” in Seoul

http://www.goneseoulsearching.com/2010/12/experiencing-dragon-hill-spa-koreas.html

I took metro to Singyongsan station and then used the map on my phone to navigate my way to the spa. As I turned around a corner, I saw this big shopping mall building:20131114_101711So, instead of going to the spa, I was distracted to enter this mall and I did some shopping.

It was a huge mall, known for the discounted price on electronics and there’s a wedding hall inside the mall. There’s a huge CGV IMAX theater too. Here’s the mall’s directory: http://www.iparkmall.co.kr/language/global_eng_intro2.php

There’s a supermarket inside the mall, the E-Mart. I noticed that they didn’t gave plastic bags for shoppers; instead there’s a self-service packing area: 20131114_102145I had trouble on deciding what to eat for lunch because there’re too many choices. I walked up and down the floors and finally decided that I wanted to eat something warm with tasty broth. This was what I had for lunch:20131114_133427It’s Ttukbaegi Bulgogi (KRW 7,000).  It’s nice to eat it slowly while watching the cloudy sky from the big windows of this restaurant: 20131114_134541After lunch, I finally went to the spa. If you read the articles that I mentioned above, you’ll get the picture of what I did there. After the refreshing shower, playing with water (I went inside the cold and hot water pool alternately for several times) and enjoying the sauna, I went to look around the other facilities.

Here were some that I found interesting:

A room for playing online computer game20131114_152847

An arcade with numerous games:20131114_155036

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karaoke Room to sing with your friends20131114_155113

I should’ve tried to get a Hello Kitty doll from this machine20131114_155205

Outdoor swimming pool. It was too cold to enjoy this one.20131114_155731

There’s a restaurant at the rooftop:

20131114_173710

There’s a hall of fame with pictures of Korean celebrities who came to the spa:20131114_173724There were several sleeping rooms and this one was very dark and quiet: 20131114_173935The main zone was huge. This was the place where male & female guests could meet. There’s a huge throne at one side of the room if you wanted to know how it felt to be a King or Queen, like this couple: 20131114_160528Or if you just want to be a commoner, you could sit in front of this huge TV and watched whatever drama was on air: 20131114_160109Btw, the floor was warm. It was pleasant to walk around barefoot on any floors and to sleep on it.

If you got hungry or thirsty, just go to the snack corner, chose what you want and tap the electronic bracelet to make payment (later, before exiting the spa building, you have to pay at the cashier). 20131114_174351I bought the brown boiled eggs (KRW 2,000 for 4 eggs) and I was surprised to see that the egg white was brown. Here’s a recipe to make it:

http://mykoreankitchen.com/2013/03/06/how-to-make-korean-sauna-style-eggs/

I forgot the name of the famous type of drink that people usually had at a Jimjilbang (btw, it’s Sikhye ) and bought a Persimmon-Vinegar drink (KRW 3,500).

I also tried having a nap at this Hinoki Woodland room20131114_153631I wasn’t able to have a nap because it was too exciting to see what other people were doing. The spa customers on that day, mostly were senior people and teenagers. I didn’t see any foreigners there. All around me, there were only Korean-speaking people. 20131114_160125 20131114_160152There were other room at the Main Zone but I didn’t try them all. Perhaps you want to try sleeping inside a pyramid or an igloo:

20131114_160616 20131114_160910

You can use all the rooms at the Main Zone without extra charge. If you want to use the Crystal Sun Salt Room, you had to bring or buy a pair of socks.

That evening, I gave myself a treat: a sport massage. It’s quite pricey (KRW 60,000) but it was worth it. The masseur’s palms were warm and they helped me to relax after my initial shock that a male would gave the massage.

Before leaving the spa, I took picture of the women locker room. I was careful and waited until there wasn’t any nude females around the room before taking the picture: 20131114_180910I think it would be awkward to go to jimjilbang with female friends because of the nudity, especially when you had to walk from the locker room to the shower & sauna floor. They only gave you a tiny towel that won’t cover your body.

Anyway, it was an interesting experience and I like spending a day there while escaping from the cold.

It was dark when I left the spa and the walkway to the entrance was lit with lights: 20131114_18212620131114_182208From the Spa, I went back to I’Park Mall to continue shopping. I even bought a backpack to carry all the stuffs that I bought there.

So, don’t be sad when the day was cold because a good shopping and pampering yourself at the spa will cheer you up.

For more information about the spa, please check Dragon Hill Spa website.

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