Korea is famous for its public baths, which are an amazing (and terrifying) experience. They're comparable to spas, equipped with dozens of different saunas (hot, cold, salty, steamy), and an array of baths and showers. There is also a coed area where you can just relax on the hot floor, watch television, sip drinks, get massages, or various beauty treatments. A girl's dream, right?
My first experience (almost a year ago, when I first got here), was rather unpleasant and humiliating. I didn't know where to go, or what to do, and I felt so uncomfortable the whole time. Last night, when my friend suggested we go relax at the spa, I decided to give it a second chance. And I loved it!
The place we went to was definitely more upscale, and much bigger and cleaner. We first changed into the (ugly) short and t-shirt combo, then headed to the hottest rooms to sweat and reminisce about our year in Korea. We alternated between very hot, and very cold rooms, and sipped on a traditional Korean drink made of rice and sugar. We even got massages, and ate some snacks while watching game shows.
Then, the scary part. The baths! I tried to get over my fear of public nakedness and actually enjoyed relaxing in the hot water, followed by cold dips and a few deep breaths in the aromatherapy steam room. The spa even has an outdoor area with more tubs, and it was my favorite part. The cold winter air, and the hot water. Such a relaxing time (after all), and no major incident except for getting caught stealing another girl's shampoo. (I thought she was done and just left it behind, I couldn't pass up on Aveda).
I regret not going more often during the year, as it's a wonderful time (you can stay as long as you want, it's open 24 hours, and it only costs 10$). I felt so relaxed, refreshed and energized. I might have to go again next week.