Just last night, me and a close friend went to this spa in Makati – Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa. It’s a Korean spa, just like those that are being shown in dramas. We were both fond of kpop and kdramas so we were very excited when we learned that Lasema was having a promo for a whole package of their services and we didn’t have second thoughts in availing it.
Since the package includes a 12-hour stay at the Jjim Jil Bang Spa, we decided to maximize it. Straight from our day work, we went to Lasema at around 11PM. At the front desk, we were given our number, locker keys, clothes (matching shirt and shorts) and a small towel. Footwears are not allowed inside so we removed and carried our shoes to the locker area. The floor is made of wood and the area is clean and being barefoot is comfortable.
At The Women’s Wet Sauna
We knew beforehand that it’s really part of the Korean culture to go naked in a public bath, but nothing prepared us for this. The moment we arrived at the women’s locker area, two ladies were naked. Butt naked. It was a little uncomfortable at first (my locker is in between them, so I needed to squeeze within them ><) but the longer I stayed at the spa, the more I got used to it. I swear, they are so comfortable being naked. They walk around the area without a care in the world. They remove clothes as if they they are just removing their sunglasses. I was culture shocked, really. xD
|glass door at the left: entrance to the wet area, to the right: hallway to jjim jil bang|
The wet area is just steps away from the locker room so most of the Koreans strip naked at the locker area then they just grab their toiletries and go to the wet area.
The wet area consists of the shower rooms, wet sauna and three pools.
Thankfully, there are shower room cubicles with doors at the right side of area. I even felt weird because most of the people there are scrubbing their naked bodies at the other side. There are soaps and shampoos available and the temperature of the water can be adjusted up to a warmness of 50 degrees Celsius. At the jacuzzi, clothings are not allowed (again, it’s in the Korean culture). There was a green tea pool (43 degrees Celsius), a ginseng hot pool (43 degrees Celsius), and a cool water pool (28 degrees Celsius). I first tried the ginseng pool at the middle. The water is indeed hot on the skin. The technique is to soak down slowly. At first I placed my legs. When they already got used to the temperature, I began to sit, and then after a few minutes, I totally submerged myself. The sensation was totally new. I had to breathe deeply as my body adapted to the warm water. They say this is actually beneficial to the body. I tried the green tea pool afterwards. Luckily, there were just a few people present in the wet area when I went there so I was not really too shy. 😀
Jjim Jil Bang (Dry Sauna)
Jjim Jil Bang (찜질방) which literally means “steaming room” is the main attraction of Lasema. It’s a co-ed area (don’t worry, people are fully clothed here). This is where you wear the shirts and shorts that was given to you. There are three heated rooms available there – Oak and Clay (around 56 degree Celsius), Sault and Charcoal (43 degree Celsius), and Dome Clay Sauna (76 degree Celsius). We enjoyed the Oak and Clay the most because the warmness was just right. I tried the Dome Clay but I just couldn’t stand the heat that I went out after a few minutes. The sauna rooms are somewhat little and can house only around eight people comfortably at a time. The walls are mostly made of wood and stones/marbles and they all smell like fresh warm wood.
|left door: smoking room, right door: ice room|
Lasema also has an Ice Room. It was at -9 degrees Celsius inside. We loved it there. The walls are made of ice and you can ‘see your breath’ because it comes out of your mouth as steam. To fully enjoy the jjim jil bang experience, they recommend to stay at the sauna rooms for around 10 minutes and then take a rest outside for another 10 minutes. After that, enter the ice room and stay there for another 10 minutes or until you are still comfortable with the cold.
|common area (photo credit: bivs.multiply.com)|
Aside from the sauna rooms, there is this wide area where you can just relax, watch tv, and sleep. They have ‘sleeping caves’ where people can sleep during the night. The area is all air-conditioned so it’s very comfortable, especially after going out of the dry sauna rooms.
|sleeping area (phot credit: tcat philippines)|
A snack bar with Korean foods like spicy noodles, grilled eggs, kimchi, and bottled drinks is also available. They have cold drinks too and you can choose from green tea, coffee, and shikhye.
|noodles and kimchi that we ordered|
|my number and locker keys|
|I was able to wear the lamb towels properly!|