Siloam sauna chilling-out

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DAY 12

(Reading time: 5 minutes)

The typhoon was slowly dissipating, its intensity decreased, but the rain persisted. Nothing we didn’t already know from yesterday’s weather forecast. So, we had pre-planned where we would spend the whole day, and in the end, it turned out to be 12 of the best vacation hours ever!

A miracle for exceptionally cold and/or rainy days is called Siloam Sauna (update – permanently closed since 2021).

Siloam Sauna is a jjimjilbang (sauna & bathhouse), where people come to enjoy hot and cold pools, various types of saunas, a polarium, and massages. They also offer a gym and sleeping rooms. These establishments can be open 24/7 and provide everything you need and want for life.

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The Siloam jjimjilbang had a total of 6 floors arranged as follows:

  1. BASEMENT – traditional and steam saunas, baths, pools (entry without clothes)
  2. GROUND FLOOR – reception, changing rooms, snack bar
  3. 1ST FLOOR – restaurant, social room
  4. 2ND FLOOR – entertainment rooms (game room, PC room, reading room, cinema), fitness, table tennis
  5. 3RD FLOOR – warming saunas, polarium
  6. 4TH FLOOR – sleeping capsules, rooms for snoring individuals

Since we couldn’t sleep at night, we got up at five in the morning and intended to catch up on rest at Siloam. At the reception, we paid for a “daily pass” (approximately 12 hours during the day, there is also a “night pass”), costing about 200 Czech crowns. A steal for everything that awaited us. We were given special clothing, towels, and headed straight to the 5th floor – for sleepers.

It is necessary to maintain quiet on the entire floor, simply put, this is where you sleep! In various sections: Red Clay Cave (a cave made of red clay, communal open sleeping capsules), separate sleeping rooms for men, for women, and sleeping rooms for snorers. The cave was enough for us. We crawled into one of the lower “ovens” and slept for a couple of hours.

Finally rested, we then went downstairs and started trying out various types of warming saunas: salt, mud (mud sediment), charcoal, forest scents, and more.

They all work on the same principle – lie down and relax. It’s warm, sometimes quite hot; if it’s too intense, there’s no need to force it, you can leave anytime.

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Of course, we skipped the full day of walking outside in favor of a gym.

The staff at the gym was quite nervous about Marek. He got on the treadmill and ran on it for 30 MINUTES!!! Just imagine… some tall foreigner comes in and runs on the treadmill at the gym! And for half an hour! That’s impossible! It can’t be! So, she gestured to him every 5 minutes to stop… on the sixth try, she finally succeeded. 😄

After such an unusually intense activity, one gets hungry, right? In Siloam, no problem. On the floor below, they had a wide selection of traditional Korean dishes.

Later on, Marek also visited the underground area, where they had saunas as we know them, hot tubs, and pools. Entry to this zone was only allowed without clothes and strictly separated by gender. Meanwhile, I went to the cinema (they were showing Aladdin) and then read in the library… my book, because I don’t speak Korean well enough to pick something from their collection. However, they had a rich selection of reading material.

Altogether, we spent about 12 hours inside. There were so many activity options that everyone found their own, and time flew unbelievably fast. At the same time, I won’t be exaggerating when I say that you can also live very comfortably and cheaply there.

Although Siloam is now closed, it wasn’t the only one. There are similar facilities of various sizes all over the country. We highly recommend visiting them, and when we visit South Korea again someday, a jjimjilbang will be on the “to-do” list.

-endy-

DONKEY’S SPECIAL:

  • We couldn’t sleep at the hotel at night because the room had no air conditioning, but it did have a noisy fridge, and as a bonus, mosquitoes…
  • On the way to Siloam, we grabbed some random sandwich for breakfast from the first 24/7 convenience store we found, big mistake, it looked like ham/cheese/butter, but it turned out to be ham/cheese/whipped cream (or some really sweet cheese), when you’re sleep-deprived, this for breakfast… 😄
  • Each person received one set of clothing at Siloam, and since we then entered the saunas wearing them, we naturally sweated in them; practically no one went topless/bottomless up there, and we didn’t feel the need to test the limits of their tolerance, looking back, I don’t recall sweaty shirts bothering us, you get used to it and don’t really care
  • I ran barefoot on the treadmill for the first and last time, what a stupid idea…
  • People routinely use accommodations at Siloam after work because their home might be on the other side of the country, they “just” work in Seoul, earn money, send it home to their family, but they still need a place to sleep, given the generally higher work commitment of Koreans, it makes perfect sense, you’re at work, then in the evening, you hang out with colleagues and then just want a place to lay your head
  • Sodju is a traditional Korean alcoholic beverage made from rice or barley (tastes like very weak vodka)

-mj-

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