Most Korean apartments do not come with bath tubs, let alone enclosed showers. Instead there are public baths (사우나, 목욕탕) in every neighborhood indicated by this sign, it’s not a soup restaurant.

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Because everyone is au natural, there are single sex baths (여탕 ladies only) while others have separate male and female areas (찜질방 designed for families) with a common area to talk and snack. Entry fees range from 3,000W to 8,000W depending on the neighborhood and the amenities. You can shower, soak, and sweat over and over again.

While you won’t need to bring a towel or bar soap, you will need to bring along other essentials. This is my kit: shampoo, conditioner, pumice stone, toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton swabs bundled into a body scrub cloth sewn into a tube.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, request a body scrub (15,000W and up). Someone will slough and polish you for more than thirty minutes, removing an unbelievable amount of gray matter from your body–it does double duty as a massage.

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