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Sports Club Seoul Leisure Zzimzilbang

18th June 2007

An interesting place where you can experience Korean culture is a Zzimzilbang. Zzimzilbang is one of the common and popular places to Koreans, and Sports Club Seoul Leisure in Ogeumdong is my favorite Zzimzilbang. Regardless of age or sex, many people want to go there for several reasons, to relax their bodies or to get rid of stress, or for some people it is a good place having a fun time with their friends or families. Three unique things that you can experience in this place stand out; the sauna, the spa and the snacks.

The first thing that you have to try is the sauna. In the hottest room such as a yellow earth firing sauna room, it might be hard to breathe or tolerate the hot air. Nevertheless, if you can stay there more than 20 minutes, your body will be all in a sweat and flushed up with the heat, and you can also feel relaxation of muscles as if you had done exercise. Many people love that feeling so become a sauna addict. If you don’t like to be clammy with sweat or don’t feel comfortable with a strong heat, you can choose another room, an oxygen room, which keeps up the temperature at 50°F with refreshing and fresh air. In fact, this room is not for sauna, but you can take a break in this room where is alive with chatter, laughter and a TV sound. Each sauna room has its special theme and uses the relative materials with the theme.

For instance, ceramic cave sauna room, which is my favorite room, has 10 holes of the same size for each person filled with real sawdust. When your body is touched with the sawdust, first it will be a little coarse, but soon it will be your cushiony bed, and further you will feel comfortable with a faint smell of sawdust. Sometimes people fall asleep while doing this sauna and it is all right for a couple of hours. Like this, you will have a fun experiencing the various types of sauna rooms with the themed interior of each room, and you can choose the room on its specialized theme.

The next step to experience Korean culture is a spa. After sweating, you certainly want to take a shower, but in Zzimzilbang, you have to take a public bath. If it is your first time taking a public bath, you might be embarrassed or will be shocked just seeing many naked people even though all of them are the same sexes, who are chatting with each other, doing a hot tub together, and rubbing off other persons’ dust. Besides, the voices of people and the sound of a splat reverberated through the bathhouse. It could be uncomfortable situation. However, once you get accustomed to it, you will love this bathhouse because its interior is also very attractive. It is decorated with a natural theme using threes, stones, sands, and even waterfalls. Although some of them are artificial, you could have an illusion that you are enjoying the spa in the middle of the forest because of the haze of steam from the hot tub, cold water scent, and murmuring. Entering the room, you can see various types of spas. Some of them are named by the temperature of the water like a high-temperature spa called as “Yeol Tang,” a bathtub with warm water called as “On Tang,” and a cold tub (60~62°F) called as “GeupNang Tang.” Others are named by the material of bathtubs.

For example, “Hinoki Tang,” especially its bathtub is made of lumber, a real material from Japanese cypress which is rich in ‘Hinokitaor.’ So, you can certainly feel like you are in nature due to its faint fragrance of cypress. Even though bathing in open place is a little awkward, soon you will be pleased with the beauty of nature and diverse spas.

At the end, you should try Korean food because after those all activities, you must be hungry because your body had been transpired which made you exhausted and hungry. So, you don’t want to waste the time searching for food. There is a good restaurant to appease your hunger, where provides you with various and tempting Korean traditionally food, and my recommendation is ‘Meeyokuk,’ a seaweed soup. It can be little slippery picking seaweed with chopsticks, but you don’t have to use them, drink it just stirring up seaweed and chopped meats into one bite-size. It could look like a thick broth because of seaweed which had got very soft soaking up water, but it tastes more like a beef broth than a seafood soup because of the chopped beef, and its mild and rich taste will suit your palate. It is not necessary only for satisfying your hunger, but also you are in need of water because you have been dehydrated from sweating. Thus, it will be a perfect food for you if you drink a bowl of seaweed soup. Further to introduce Korean traditionally food is ‘SikHyae.’ It is a kind of a sweet drink that was made from fermented rice. Moreover, when it is half frozen, it tastes better.

It tastes even better if you drink it right after sweating and coming out from a hot sauna room. Having Korean traditional food after you have experienced Korean culture will give you feeling of knowing about Korea.

In this place, you can have a great fun by relaxing yourself in various sauna rooms, bathing or doing a spa with other people, and trying food which is good for your health. Seoul Leisure is open 24 hours. Admission is 8 thousand won from 9am to 5pm and the other time is 10 thousand won, but you can get a discount when you print out the coupon from its website. (www.sstown.co.kr/)

To get to Seoul Leisure, take a subway number 5(purple line) and get off from Bangiee station, and get out from number 2 exit. You can find a narrow path on your right, then follow the path straight about 200m. Then, you can find 4 floors building. Sports Club Leisure, on your left right in front of an indoor driving range, and get off from Bangiee station, and get out from number 2 exit. You can find a narrow path on your right, then follow the path straight about 200m. Then, you can find 4 floors building, Sports Club Seoul Leisure, on your left right in front of an indoor driving range.

Juyoung Hwang

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