submit to reddit GoNOMAD Travel
Tags: Features Women's Travel Asia South Korea

Korean bathouseA Korean Bathhouse Experience

You've Never Been This Clean!

By Ania Trzecieski

Ulsan, Korea -- I'd been to a bathhouse twice before. I just wash, shave my legs, (as my apt is too cold) and I settle into one of the two hot tubs to enjoy the heat and the experience.

The Korean women spend vast amounts of time meticulously scrubbing every part of their bodies. I've seen women get massages from the "agimas" (older ladies who work there). My body had been sore lately because of my Hapkido classes so today I decided I would check out the massage thing.

Read Ulsan, Korea hotel and vacation reviews

I lay naked on the padded table surrounded by steam and naked bathing Korean women. I could hear the steady babble of Korean with the occasional child's scream when he or she got some soap in their eyes. The agima came and gave me a face scrub; she then applied some grape scented oil to my face followed by beaten egg whites.

Mud and Grated Cucumber

After carefully removing this mask and cleaning my face, neck and deep inside my ears she applied a mud and grated cucumber mask. She smiled understandingly when I flinched, as it was quite cold. She mumbled something in Korean and began to clean me - scrub me.

I've never been scrubbed so thoroughly before. I shower daily, of course I wash with soap, but she insisted on how dirty I was. She scrubbed my front, she asked me to turn on one side and then the other, and she scrubbed the same limbs over again from different angles, at last she scrubbed my back.

But the scrubbing was not finished, she turned me on my back again and once more proceeded to scrub my front and my feet and my ankles and my knees and, well you get the picture. The agima was sweating in the saunic environment as she labored to exfoliate every pore on my body.

I guess Korean women routinely scrub their bodies so vigorously? I felt like every crevice of my body was being scrubbed and cleaned. And the thing is that before I came for the massage, I had bathed! When she was satisfied, she directed me to the shower.

Pounding and Thumping

Upon my return to the padded table, my massage started. She covered my body with the grape scented oil and the beaten egg whites. She pounded and thumped my muscles. There was hardly any kneading involved, as people from the west would normally expect in a massage.

There was thumping and pounding and audible but painless slapping. Lastly, the agima opened a cup of blueberry yogurt and smoothed it over my body, her hands running over and over my skin. It smelt and felt great. She finished and directed me to the shower once more. My massage was over and my body glistened. I don't think my body has ever been so clean before.

The bathhouses are one of my favorite things about Korea. The entire experience lasted an hour and cost about $US 30.

Read more about Korea:


The balloons filled with hydrogen gas about to carry socks to North Korea. A Sock
manner... Sinnam, Korea: The World's Pointiest Park By David Rich South Korea's
Seoul, South Korea: Teaching English in the Land of the Morning Calm By Jason
A Mudfest participants in Boryeong, South Korea. Drew Goldberg photo. Glorious Mud A on Korea's
Exploring lesser-known cities of South Korea by Steffi Porter A Stranger Finds me a MotelA I had spent
A GoNOMAD Destination Mini Guide: Seoul, South Korea By Erin K. Melvin Where
Before the hard work began - photos by Lucy Corne and Kareena Mutch Korea: Pitching
A The South Korean bullet train. David Rich photos. South Korea: Flying the Bullet
", the Demilitization Zone between North and South Korea was a possible excursion for visitors
Haedong Temple Busan. Paul Shoul photos. Traveling South Korea: Seoul and Busan
then North and South Korea would regularly be borrowing each otherAs lawnmowers and lending cups
A A Tale of Two Koreas By David Rich Crackling Korea Korea crackled from my
A Korean Bathhouse Experience You've Never Been This Clean! By Ania Trzecieski Ulsan, Korea
of travel articles to go on your Kindle with ourA Rail Travel Plane Reader . {showgsearch korea}
the Buddhist monasteries of South Korea, a place many will never travel. It is considered an honor

New Travel Articles


Subscribe to GoNOMAD's monthly enewsletter for all of our new travel articles
Get our free monthly travel newsletter
and help support sustainable and responsible tourism.
No spam, no selling
your email, we promise!

Subscribe to our email newsletter!

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

csa-03 300x250-04