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Traditional Oriental Forest Land: Rare Korean Bathhouse With Charcoal-Fired Kilns

Traditional Oriental Forest Land

Going to a jjimjilbang (Korean bathhouse) is one of Korea’s favourite ways to relax. Though bathhouses aren’t rare, Traditional Oriental Forest Land is a tad different – they’re one of the last jjimjilbang in South Korea with traditional charcoal-fired kiln saunas.

Thanks to its unique features, Traditional Oriental Forest Land became a famous filming spot that has been featured in Korean variety shows such as We Got Married and All The Butlers. Mamamoo also recently celebrated their 8th debut anniversary there.

Traditional kilns heated by burning charcoal

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - kiln sauna rooms
Image adapted from: @necoa_daily

Traditional Oriental Forest Land is one of the last Korean bathhouses that heat their saunas by burning charcoal in kilns. At this jjimjilbang, there are 4 kiln sauna rooms heated to 4 different temperatures. Besides the kiln sauna rooms, the bathhouse has other health facilities such as a salt room that’s said to detoxify and relax muscles.

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - inside kiln sauna room
Image credit: @eunb22_

The hottest kiln is known as the 꽃탕 (kkot-tang). Before entering this kiln, be sure to wear a pair of socks and the wooden sandals provided by the bath house so as to avoid burning your feet. Phones and spectacles are not permitted in the kiln too – you don’t want your valuables to be literally roasted, do you?

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - campfire
Video credit: Clara Quek

There’s also an open campfire located right beside the charcoal kilns, where visitors can warm their backs and feet if the saunas weren’t already hot enough for you. Or you could simply stare at the fire and zone out – it’s surprisingly therapeutic. 

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - salt room
Image adapted from:

Salt rooms are said to help detoxify your body through sweating, and the heat also aids in relaxing your muscles. Salt air is even purported to help improve sleep and reduce headaches. And though socks aren’t compulsory here, we recommend keeping them on as the salt can be a little too hot to walk on.

Also has an arcade & restaurant

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - arcade
Image credit: 브로

Besides these health-related facilities, Traditional Oriental Forest Land also has facilities such as a restaurant, snack shop, and even an arcade. Note that your jjimjilbang admission fee does not cover any costs that will be incurred at these facilities. 

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - snack shop
Image credit: 댜니

When visiting a jjimjilbang, there’s an unspoken rule to buy food and drinks such as sikhye (sweet rice drink) cup noodles, and roasted eggs at the in-house snack shop.

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - roasted sweet potato and rice cake
Image adapted from:

The snack shop at Traditional Oriental Forest Land also sells garaetteok (rice cake), as well as foil-wrapped sweet potatoes and potatoes that patrons can roast using the charcoal grill provided. 

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - Korean BBQ
Image credit: 꾸꾸

If you are still feeling hungry after all these snacks, head to the in-house restaurant, which serves staple Korean dishes and Korean BBQ. A serving of pork belly costs KRW15,000 (~USD10.66) while duck meat is priced at KRW13,000 (~USD9.24).

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - stir-fried pork
Image adapted from:

For a truly filling meal, order the Stir-fried Pork (KRW10,000, ~USD7.11) and Stir-fried Octopus (KRW10,000, ~USD7.11), both of which are spicy and perfect as an accompaniment to a bowl of white rice.

Gender-specific spaces for privacy

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - female sleeping room & fitness corner
Image adapted from: 라라

If you are worried about having to share the same space with visitors of another gender, rest assured that there are female-only and male-only facilities.

There are gender-specific sleeping rooms, which are lightly air-conditioned and equipped with wooden pillows and sleeping mats so you can have a nice nap. Though the idea of napping at a sauna may sound weird to us, it’s actually a quintessential art of a visit to a jjimjilbang.

The designated male-only sleeping room is located on level 3. On level 2, you’d find the female-only sleeping room right next to the arcade and fitness area.

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - female changing room
Image credit: 오영이

The women’s bathroom and changing room is located in the basement, while the men’s bathroom and changing room are located on level 3, right beside the male-only sleeping room. 

Getting to Traditional Oriental Forest Land

Traditional Oriental Forest Land - entrance
Image credit: @n2w.j

Traditional Oriental Forest Land is located right beside Yonsei University and is easily accessible from both Dongnimmun Station and Sinchon Station. 

How to get there:

  • Take Line 3 to Dongnimmun Station and leave by Exit 3.
  • Walk straight for 170m and cross the road, then turn right and walk 100m.
  • Take Bus No. 7024 at Dongnimmun Park bus stop.
  • After 3 stops, alight at Bongwonsa bus stop and you’ll arrive at Traditional Oriental Forest Land.

Admission: KRW14,000 (~USD9.97)/adult, KRW7,000 (~USD4.98)/elementary school student, KRW5,000 (~USD3.56)/children
Address: 75-7 Bongwonsa-gil, Bongwon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: 6.30am-10pm, Daily
Contact: 02-365-2700

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Cover image adapted from: @RBW_MAMAMOO, 브로, 핸썸누나