Sunday, January 6, 2013

100 Things I Love About Korea # 30: JimJil Bangs

Why is it relaxing just to get out of the house?  Somehow, going to a public space and just lying around calms the mind and soul.
Connected to most Korean bath houses is a common area called a JimJil Bang (or this can refer to the whole bath house).  The Jimjil Bang area is for both sexes, and the bath house provides special clothing for this area - usually some funky color so you won't be tempted to take it home.
The common area usually has a mixture of large open spaces and smaller specialty rooms.  Our local bath house has:

  • salt room (where you can cover yourself in salt rocks)
  • a charcoal room (where the walls are lined with charcoal - supposedly making the air cleaner)
  • a super hot room (shaped like a cone, and so hot the area above the door is blackened and the door handle has an oven mitt permanently attached)
  • a cold room (basically a huge refrigerator)
  • a small restaurant
  • a computer room
  • massage chairs
  • a play area for kids
  • and a few different quiet rooms for sleeping.

We often bring a book and some snacks and just hang out in this room for an hour or two.  It's great with kids age 4 and older.  They can just run around and take care of themselves in a safe environment while the parents lounge, chat, read, or nap.
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