AAAAHHHHHHHH: Let's go beyond the normal spa experience in Korea
Korea’s quirky spa culture remains as pristine and accessible as ever. If you haven’t disrobed and paraded around a Korean sauna, you haven’t truly experienced the ROK.
Whether you’re a sauna vet or a sauna virgin, a spa weekend is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Korean culture while remaining comfortable. And these spas are putting a twist on the traditional experience: One offers German flavor, with outdoor tubs full of booze-infused water. Another is nestled next to a ski resort in Chungju and provides visitors with the full retreat experience. Still another allows you to peacefully soak in jasmine and lemon pools, less than an hour from the DMZ. Whatever your preference, there is a spa certain to warm you up this winter.
Located in Icheon, an hour’s drive south of Seoul, Termeden is a sprawling resort influenced by Germany’s spa culture. With indoor and outdoor pools to choose from, you’ll find herb-bath varieties such as lemon, jasmine and green tea. Other tubs are filled with steaming water with hints of makgeolli, beer and wine. Taking a dip in an alcoholic bath is a skin-improving practice that is becoming commonplace in Germany and the Czech Republic.
Dong Seoul Bus Terminal has regular buses that go straight to Termeden. They depart twice a day at 9:20 a.m. and 10:40 a.m.
Phone (031) 645-2000
Resom Spa Castle
Hidden along the coast of South Chungcheong Province, Resom Spa Castle is home to the 600-year-old Duksan Hot Springs. After only an hour’s drive from Seoul, you could be relaxing in medicinal baths known for easing skin problems, gastrointestinal disorders and muscular pain. Surrounded by lush mountainous foliage, this is a unique place to experience bliss.
Seoul Central City Bus Terminal and Nambu Bus Terminal offer intercity buses bound for Yesan, where you can get off at Resom Spa Castle.
Phone (041) 330-8000
Hanwha Resort’s Sanjeong Spa
With a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, this spa of the Hanwha Resort chain is the perfect place to soak up both scenery and serenity. Located in the basement of the luxury resort, the natural spring water is said to have healing and beautifying effects on the skin. Wrap up a few hours of relaxing in the numerous baths with an authentic Chinese foot massage for full indulgence.
Get off at Uijeongbu Station on line 1. From there, take bus 138-6 to Sanjeong Lake.
Phone (031) 534-5500 ext. 708
Deokgu Spa World
Famed for its quality spring water, Deokgu Hot Springs provides a comfortable experience for soaking connoisseurs located further down the east coast. First discovered 600 years ago, the springs are known for their many health benefits, and feature a special lemon bath.
Buses depart from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Deokgu Hot Springs Spa World at 9:34 a.m. and 2:14 p.m.
Phone (054) 782-0677
A little over two hours south of Seoul is a great winter getaway in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province. Sajo Blue Valley Ski Resort is the main draw, but at night, you’ll find another one of Hanwha Resort’s great spa retreats, Suanbo Resort. The centerpiece of the resort is an outdoor hot spring tucked under snow-covered foliage.
Buses depart every hour from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Chungju. From there, take an intra-city bus to Suanbo Bus Terminal. The resort is five minutes from here.
Phone (043) 846-3605