Jjimjilbang the Most Exotic Experience for Foreigners

David Lee, May 11, 2016, 1:45 p.m.

Cosmojin Tour, specializing in catering to foreign tourists, announced Wednesday that majority of its clients picked jjimjilbang as their most exotic experience in Korea.  Jjimjilbang is a type of an indoor leisure complex that combines sauna, karaoke and restaurant. 

According to Cosmojin Tour, it surveyed 926 tourists who visited Korea in March and April for their most memorable experience. Nearly 500 people picked their visit to jjimjilbang, followed by 200 that picked hanbok-wearing and 130 said carving their own seals. Some picked trying out Korean martial arts Taekwondo and other Korean folk games. 

A female tourist in her 40s said, “I was surprised to find fried chicken inside the jjimjilbang on top of the usual spa service. I knew about jjimjilbang through Korean entertainment TV programs but I never expected there would be so many things to do here.”

An increasing number of Hollywood stars are also including jjimjilbang in their itinerary for Korea, according to Cosmojin Tour. The agency’s CEO Jeong Myung-jin said, “More tourists are looking for programs that involve actual participation in the Korean experience.” 

According to Jeong, Hollywood actress Kristen Stewart, who played the lead actress role in the movie “Twilight,” had jjimjilbang on the list of her things to do in Korea. “Before, traditional places such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace drew attention. Now that’s catching on to places that were introduced in hallyu dramas.” 

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