Jjim-jil-bang Culture

Written by Joanne

February 2013

Korea offers many exciting and affordable ways to hang out with friends, family, and your significant other.  One activity that is unique to Korean culture is spending time at jjim-jil-bangs (Korean style saunas).  Koreans do not go there just for bathing; a jjim-jil-bang is like a comprehensive indoor activity center that includes a gym, baths, a movie theatre, restaurant, pools, game rooms, and more.  As soon as you enter a jjim-jil-bang, you are handed a key to your locker (which also doubles as a credit card to pay for purchases within the jjimjilbang), a sauna uniform, and towels.  A proper jjim-jil-bang visit isn’t complete without rubbing away a layer of dead skin from your body with an exfoliating towel until you are raw and slippery.  This ritualistic act is called 때밀어 (ddae-mi-ruh) which roughly translates to “rubbing off dirt”.  After a hot, clean bath, patrons are often found gathered within the main room to lounge about while sipping on ice cold refreshments and enjoying a assortment of satisfying snacks.

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