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 consists of the shower rooms, wet sauna and three pools.
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)|
|sleeping area (phot credit: tcat philippines)|
|noodles and kimchi that we ordered|
First Massage Ever
The package that we availed included a one-hour massage. Me and my friend both chose the Shiatsu-Swedish massage combination. This is the first time I was gonna get a massage so I really didn't know what to expect. We scheduled our massage at around 3:30AM. I dreaded to fall asleep while being massaged, but it was the exact opposite, I was jolted even more awake. It was somewhat painful. I don't know, maybe because my muscles (especially at the upper back and the legs) haven't had a massage before. But I love it when my joints cracked when different parts of my body were stretched out, especially at the neck, hands, and back. I also love the smell of the massaging oil.
|my number and locker keys|
It was a very fun experience! This is a great place to bond with friends. We checked out at 11AM the next day feeling fresh and rejuvenated. If you are uncomfortable going at the wet area, you can always just go straight to jjim jil bang. :D It was a very relaxing treat to the body, and it would be nice to do this once in a while after stressful days at the office.
Lasema Jjim Jil Bang Spa is located at 7232 Malugay St., Brgy. Bel Air, 1209 Makati City inside Makati Golf Club, Makati City with reservation numbers 830-2222 / 0943-5065697.
Read here my second visit to the spa: Round Two of Jjim Jil Bang Spa at Lasema [★]