Recently, a video of The Walking Dead’s star Steven Yeun and talk show host Conan O’Brien’s visit to a Korean spa went viral, racking up 75 million views. In the video, the duo experiences the A to Z on an authentic Korean spa as they go through the various spa services, including painful body scrubs, not to mention the hilarious conversations with local spa-goers. From a Korean’s point of view, I would say this is quite accurate, but I would like to add some more to it by providing you a list of essential items you need or things that you need to expect at your historical visit to a Korean spa. Are you ready?
You might have seen this a lot in Korean dramas, but it’s quite common to see people in Korean spas with a head towel resembling Princess Leia. In Korea, these are called yangmori(양머리) and it directly translates to ‘sheep’s head,’ with its roots from the Korean drama My Lovely Sam Soon (2005). Head over here to watch a tutorial on how to make lamb head towels.
Most modern Korean spas operate restaurants or at least convenience stores. You’ll most likely find spa-goers sitting around eating boiled eggs with sikhye (a sweetened rice drink) in the resting area. Reasons? Some say it’s to make up for the loss of water in your body, but it became a thing now for Koreans to eat boiled eggs and sikhye at a spa. Also, a banana milk is most definitely needed right before you head out from the spa. Don’t ask me why. We just do.
In case you haven’t watched the video above, Korean spas offer body scrub services where they have masseuses rubbing off your body’s dead skin cells while you lie down on a plastic bed. If you haven’t done it before, you might find it a little bit painful, but Koreans do that all the time when they’re going to a spa, either from a masseuse or by themselves. In fact, to Koreans, going to a spa automatically means scrubbing off our dead skin. If you want to go local, bring a green scrub towel or get a body scrub. Without a doubt, I would strongly argue that body scrubs are the epitome of a Korean spa.