Over my years living in Seoul, I have always heard about the famous Dragon Hill Spa in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. On doing a search, I saw beautiful interiors with multi-levels of spas offering a a variety of treatments. I got a bad knot in my trapeze muscle, and decided to treat myself to a good massage at the ultimate jimjilbang in Seoul after my Korean class.
What’s a Jimjilbang?
For everyone who is living or has lived in South Korea, will know about the Jimjilbang. Most studio apartments or apartments do not contain an actual bath tub. Apartment living is a given in South Korea, especially in the big cities where space is limited. Most apartments therefore do not have big spacious bathrooms with a tub.
Who doesn’t enjoy a log soak in a bath. For years, people in Korea have enjoyed the hot springs that comes from the mountains. In modern Korea, these hot springs are piped into the underground to create hot spas and saunas for the public. You can find a jumjilbang in almost every area in a city or town. They are cheap, convenient and is the next best thing to a hot bath….and yes, it means you will have to be naked with many other as well.
Dragon Hill Spa
On entering you will be given some spa clothes, two hand towels and a key. This key has am electric bar code on, and all other purchases or services made inside the spa will be swiped on your key. You simply pay for it on your way out.
Dragon Hill Spa has become a popular tourist spot over the years, and have seen some celebrities come and enjoy the spa’s offerings (I saw a picture of Kirsten Stewart there). The spa houses various saunas and a jimjill bangs with more than just a selection of hot pools, but also hot pools with traditional Chinese herbs and medicines in. They have saunas for both men and women which are separate.
The spa has about 6 levels in it. There are various spas within the spa from the Orchid Spa and a Thai Massage Spa. There are restaurants, an arcade game floor for the kids, an outdoor pool and relaxation area. The spa has loads for the whole family to do and everyone can enjoy the facilities.
On entering you will will take off your shoes and put them in a shoe locker at the entrance. You then proceed to the Women’s dressing rooms on floor 2.
In the changing rooms, there are large dressers where you can use the hairdryers and lotions for free. You will also change into the shorts and tops given to you at the entrance to walk around the spa. You also cannot wear shoes once you enter the spa.
Your key will have the number of your locker, and it will open it and that’s where you can change and put your stuff away.
The Saunas are located on the 2nd floor, but the actual hot pools are a floor down. It’s suggested to first take a quick shower before entering the pools. You first start in the sauna room of 63 degrees, then start with the hottest pool of 45 degrees then work you way down to the cooler pools. You can do this pattern 3 times for maximum effect, and then sit in one of the medicinal pools.
There are a number of massages and treatments on offer on all the floors. I was going to take the shiatsu massage, but the wait was too long and settled for a back massage. I really needed some pressure on my trapezoid muscle as it was in a knot. It was only 30, 000 KRW ($30). It was much cheaper as I only wanted to focus on my back.
The massage wasn’t too long but I needed a good elbow in the right spot. It was rather good and I felt eased and relaxed after my bath.
Where is it?
Dragon Hill Spa is conveniently located right next to the busy Yongsan Station on the dark Blue Line no.1 on Seoul’s Metro. You can choose any exit leading to the IPARK Mall and you have to descend to the plaza. Walk to your right, and you will find the Spa. There’s loads of shopping to do in the area, a large supermarket and the famous electronics market right there!
Busy Yongsan Station
Prices & Tips
- The spa also offers a variety of packages that include various treatments at a discounted price and these can range from between 100,000 KRW-200,000 KRW ($100-$200).
- The entrance fee is a flat 14,000 KRW, and it includes the use if the pools, sauna and lockers. The average price for a regular jimjilbang is about 5,000 KRW.
- You can decide what treatments you want in the moment, if you are only looking for a massage the average full body massage cost is about 60, 000 KRW ($60)
- Did you know most spas or jimjilbangs in Korea are open 24 hours. It’s also a place where you can stay overnight if you are in the country for a day. There are rooms where you can rest in, plus you can relax in the sauna.
- You cannot wear any underwear or bathing costumes when going into the sauna pools. If your’e body conscious, then this is not going to be your thing.
- The spas are busy on weekends, so its best to book your treatment before heading off into the saunas and baths.
- I wouldn’t recommend eating at the restaurants as I found them pretty expensive. Rather wait till you are out.