Standard Saturday night, at about 4am up the coast in Gangneung. Done at the bar and time to just get some sleep (remember, nothing good ever happens after 2am says Ted Mosby’s Mom.. why was I so bloody??). So myself and a few others decide to hit up a jin-jil-bang. I’d been to one before, but that was in Seoul by myself when I was a total, total wreck. This time I was with a few friends and it should be a lot of fun.
A jin-jil-bang is a Korean sauna. You can stay there the night, relax and “properly scrub” yourself. You get there, pay your cash and they hand you some comfy cotton shorts and a shirt. Then, you head to the men’s change room, put your stuff in a locker and this electronic key stays on your wrist. They have a little place to buy snacks and drinks (gatorade, gatorade). You leave the men’s change room and head to the sleeping room (it was around 430am now). There, it’s a big room with a warm, heated floor with little mats and pillows. And, about 60 Korean’s ranging from young kids to old women. All sleeping in this big, dark room. Together. On the floor. We got yelled at for being so loud and drunk (sorry..) but found a place and went to sleep. Apparently some lady was having nightmares and kept yelling in her sleep. Other people snored real loud. Lucky for drunken sleeps.
When you wake up, you can sit around on couches and what not, watching tv or just hanging out. There’s different rooms, some very hot (60 degrees) and some very cold (-5). I went in and out of the hot/cold for a little bit. Then you go back to the men’s change room, where you get nude and head into the wet area. There, they had 6 huge hot tubs, showers, baths and even beds where you shower on. The hot tubs are all at different temperatures, from very hot to cold. Did I mention all the naked Korean men?
You do what you want in there and it’s quite relaxing. They even have tooth brushes and paste, razors, etc (obviously all new) to get yourself ready for the day. Then you change back into your clothes and get on your way. It’s a very Korean way to go.