Elwood 5566

Home Spa World – Apsan, Daegu

Posted in Bathhouse, bathhouses and jjimjilbang reviews, Daegu, services and facilities, Sport by 노강호 on February 12, 2012

Home Spa World

Rating – Luxury

First visited on February 10th 2012. This is a large complex situated right on the edge of Apsan mountain between Dae Myeong Middle School (대명중학교) and Samdong Bridge (삼동교). It lies almost directly on the perimeter of Camp Walker. This is probably the largest bathhouse I’ve so far visited in Daegu and the length of the changing facilities and the bathhouse itself, took me 80 paces. The reception is on the ground floor along with some shops, a bank,  restaurants and a Paris Baguette.  The male changing facility and bathhouse is on the 3rd floor with the corresponding female facility on floor 2,

The changing facilities are very spacious and divided into numerous partitioned areas. Once you have your ticket, you use your ticket number to find your shoe locker and the key from this then opens your clothes locker. My key number was 637 and there were several more partitioned areas after mine so the changing area must accommodate a thousand people. The changing facility runs the entire length of the bathhouse and is enormous.  In the center of the changing area are the entrance to, and exit from, the bathhouse.

You enter the bathhouse onto a raised plinth which at the front has steps to the floor level and to the side slopes down to the floor. Standing on the plinth, the entire complex can be viewed. Inside the bathhouse, on the right hand side are 80 sit down shower areas with 25 standing showers lining the wall. On the opposite side to the entrance, which is raised, are the saunas and on to the left, the bathing areas.

(The steps to the plinthed exit are on the right). This photo, taken from the entrance to the no-cheon and between the hinoki and 'event' pools, gives a good sense of the size of this facility. The row of lights at the far end are the stand up showers with the seated showers beyond the furthest pool.

The bathing area is pleasantly lit by diffuse  lighting under dark blue paneling which  mirror image the pools. Two rounds pool, one hot and one cool sit on either end of a large semi-circular pool from which one can watch television.  On the far side of the entrance  is a large cold pool (냉탕) which is slightly recessed and on the wall of which is a large alpine mountain panorama, illuminated from behind. On the left of the cold pool are three individual, sunken bubble baths (거품탕) which you climb down into. On the same wall, but in the opposite direction adjacent to the showers, are three saunas, one of yellow mud (황토방), a steam sauna and a yellow stone sauna (황석). Next to these, in the corner is a partially enclosed scrub down area and a urinal.

This photo is taken from the center of the room, back to the showers and facing the no-cheon where the previous photo was taken. The entrance is on the left and the cold pool on the right.

Standing on the raised entrance and looking in the opposite direction, to the left far end, are two more baths one being a large square, wooden, Japanese cypress bath (히노끼) which is situated under the television, and in the left-hand corner a round ‘event pool’ (이벤트탕). The ‘event’ pool has a large menu on the wall detailing the daily essences added to the bath, herb, schisandra (오미자), jasmine etc, and their medicinal qualities.  In the far right-hand corner are three cold ‘waterfall’ showers and in the opposite corner, next to the ‘event’ pool is a pine wood, herb sauna. Directly to the left of the entrance for this is a raised sleeping area with a heated floor. Dotted here and there on the edge of pools are stone mermaids, dolphins and other such features, pouring water into the pools.

The far left of the entrance contains the entrance to an area exposed to the outside temperature and known as a no-cheon (노천). Of the indoor no-cheons I have visited, this was the most successful. The area comprises most of the width of the bathhouse area and contains a cold pool (냉탕)  and a steaming, large ‘forage bath’ (목초탕). The area is pleasantly decorated, although the plants are plastic, with spouting water features and in one corner are even a pair of small male and female totem poles. In this area is also a Finnish style sauna.  A couple of seats allow for relaxation and provide a view, upwards. to the edge of the mountain. Usually, for the sake of privacy, indoor no-cheon areas have slated type windows which are frosted and though they allow the breeze to enter, hence providing outside temperatures, they usually have no view. The mountain at this point is steep enough to be void of footpaths and public and though there is a large frosted panel blocking any horizontal view, one can look up and glimpse the mountain slope.  The no-cheon area is pleasantly decorated, though the plants are plastic, with stone features, water spouts and there is even a pair of small, male and female totem poles (장승) guarding the area. The no-cheon area also has a Finnish-style sauna.

The location of Home Spa's no-cheons (노천). The male no-cheon, on the third floor, seems to have greater visibility and the window of the Finnish sauna is just visible.

a view of the bathing area with the entrance to the no-cheon in the far left-hand corner

The ‘powder room’ is comfortable with the usual array of  fans, hair dryers, lotions and skin bracers. The changing area is massive and spacious and in particular, the TV area had an enormous table with four large leather sofas.

Getting there – (Wiki Map link )

Location of Home Spa World

Bus Lines: 410, 730, 349, and others stop in the immediate area.

By Subway – the closest subway to Home Spa is Daemyeong (대명) from here it’s possible to walk but a taxi might be easier.

Times – opens at 0600 and closes at 2300.

Cost – 7000W

Facilities –


Bathhouse (men) – barbers, 4 saunas, 8 pools, 95 showers, TV relaxations area, TV access in pool area and in saunas, shoe shine, snack area

Others – swimming pool, golf, yoga, fitness, jjimjilbang,

Waygukin – none


Tel: 053-470-1100-3


Layout (coming)

Creative Commons License
©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

11 Responses

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  1. The Stumbler said, on April 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

    A couple of sauna questions have been lurking in my mind. First one, what has been your experience about the “towel system” in the saunas you visit? The few I’ve visited, and until recently the one which I’m a “member” (by virtue of having 10 remaining coupons) maintain a huge stack of clean towels at the exit of the sauna proper. This way, you can conveniently grab a towel, dry off before deading to your locker. This seems sensible and reasonable, and I could hardly imagine another way to do it.

    But, that didn’t deter the nearby sauna I have been visiting recently. Somebody there decided a new system was needed, and now they issue your towels when you check in. At first, I thought this was because they were being stingy with the towels, but I don’t think so. If i ask for 3, 6 or 9 towels, they don’t care. So what’s the problem? The problem is, what do you do with these towels? If you put them in your locker, you have to walk across the locker room floor dripping wet. If you carry them into the sauna, there is really no dry place to put them. I suppose you could put them on the now-empty shelf at the exit, but then I think other guests would use them while you’re bathing. What craziness is this? Or is there something I’m missing?

    Next question, are there any chains, or franchise, saunas? Suppose you told me the Little Mermaid Sauna was a great place in your city, could I find a Little Mermaid Sauna here in Seoul? Or say you told me, never go to the Davy Jones Locker Sauna, it’s a terrible experience. Then I would know to avoid any that I see in Seoul.

    Next (and final for today) question. Are there any zoning ordinances regarding the distribution of saunas? For example, each -dong must have two saunas, or something of the sort? I ask because when I recently moved, I found on Naver Maps a sauna almost exactly across the street from me. Alas, an exploration on foot revealed the building housing this sauna had been torn down to make way for a new large officetel complex. I thought, maybe the rules require the construction company to plan a sauna. But from what I can tell on this company’s website, the new construction alas does not include a sauna. It seems that you would have to include a sanua in your building plans from square one – you can’t just to rent the basement of a building and install a sauna. At least I don’t think you can.

    Happy Bathing….

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on April 19, 2012 at 2:18 am

      Yes, the towel situation does seem dumb. Personally, I’d be okay with it as I hate drying myself and always take a couple of towels into the sauna anyway, which I then sit down with and sort of drip dry. However, when I shower they pose a problem and being tall, I generally hang them from another shower nozzle. If everyone gets a towel I can see it being a real problem. Sounds a pretty stupid system.

      I haven’t heard of franchise saunas – I will ask my friends. A interesting point.

      Again, the third point I need to check on.

      Thanks for the comments.

  2. The Stumbler said, on April 23, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Another update from the “Stupid Towel System” sauna. I visited last week for what was probably my last visit. In a fit of passive-aggressiveness, I turned in my remaining coupons (about 7 or so) at the front desk as I was leaving. I told them to give them away to another guest – I wasn’t coming back because the new towel system was so crazy. Despite my poor Korean, they got the message.

    Another funny miscommunication with the front desk happened one visit earlier (but has nothing to do with my quitting). I had discovered there was a barber inside the sauna, and noticed he was giving a shave to a fellow one day. I really miss having a good, close neck shave with a straight razor. Last I lived in America, it was getting very difficult to get this from a barber, as local health authorities were strongly discouraging, or outright banning, the practice. (The last barber I had in the USA would give me the shave “illegally” if no other customers were there and I paid him a small tip). So a couple visits ago, I asked this Korean barber in the sauna to shave my neck. I asked several times how much the price was, and he didn’t understand me, or just didn’t want to answer. Finally after the shave, I got through to him and I thought I heard him say 5000 won. That seemed a little steep, but I wasn’t sure I understood him exactly. Also, you don’t pay him, but you pay the front desk when you leave. So on departure, I told the ladies at the desk that I needed to pay for a neck shave. I intentionally didn’t say 5000 won, because I didn’t think I heard him correctly. They told me the price was 500 won. Ah, I thought, I did misunderstand the barber. And 500 won is much more reasonable, almost TOO cheap. But this is Korea. I paid my 500 won and left.

    So last week, on arrival at the sauna, as I entered there was the barber standing at the entrance ready to ambush me. He quickly caught up to me and told me I owed him 4500 won! Apparently, I did hear him correctly, and the ladies at the front desk don’t know his price list very well. I later asked my regular hair-cut lady what she thought a reasonable shave price would be. Her only point of reference was she charges 3000 won when a girl comes in and just wants her bangs trimmed. So I guess 5000 isn’t outrageous. Ah, I also asked the barber that night, how much to shave my whole face, not just the neck? He said it was impossible – he won’t shave anyone’s face. That seemed strange.

    Yeah, I also take a couple towels with me inside the sauna, though not for drying. I use them as pillows when reclining in the tubs! Or, if I venture into the steam rooms, I’ll put them on the bench to sit on. The bare wood is just too hot for me. I don’t know how people use the even hotter rooms.

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on April 24, 2012 at 4:39 am

      I had a chuckle at this. I’m sure you didn’t intend to come across as sort of obsessed, but that how it reads. You’ve so far written two small essays on the changes to your towel system with minor topics in bathhouse franchises and ‘zoning.’ I find your concerns highly interesting because they are slightly bizarre. I’ve read plenty of wayguk concerns on how pools are heated or how they are cleaned but never anything on the towel system or if there is a legal requirement to build a certain number of bathhouses in a specific area of space.

      I was in the e-bente tang yesterday and was sure there was a small turd floating about the bottom of the pool.I’m not sure and I wasn’t going to examine it for verification but I wasn’t too bothered. I’ve seen a complete turd on the bottom of a British pool and there was no mistaking what that was.

      I asked some korean friends if they knew of any bathhouse jjimjilbang franchises and they said that there probably was but they didn’t know of any.

      5000W for a neck shave sounds a bit steep. I pay 7000W for a haircut in the Blue City Club, ( a franchise) and thats probably on the slightly cheap side. I had an Afro-Caribbean barber in SE London who was great: he’d cut you hair, give you a neck shave, (with a slash throat razor), and trim your eyebrows and nasal hair. He would do face shaves but that was extra.

      Happy Bathing!

  3. The Stumbler said, on April 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Hahah, no problem calling me bizarre and obsessive, I probably am a bit of each, especially in my old age! And don’t forget I’m and engineer, and it’s hard to stop my mind from solving problems! In my defense, being fairly new to the saunas, I really did wonder what on earth was going on with the towel system. Maybe there was some obvious reason/solution I was overlooking. I finally decided they wasn’t, and the owner must be the strange one (my obsession with the topic not withstanding). So as noted, I’ve given up on that place, and am moving on.

    Fortunately, I’ve never seen a turd floating in the tub! That must have been a bit surprise! What’s the movie (I somehow overlooked as a teenager) with the “Baby Ruty” candy bar in the public swimming pool?

    I’ll try to focus on more ordinary bathouse topics. You mentioned the bath temperatures, which haven’t really been an issue for me. I’m able to enjoy two of the three hot baths at my (former) sauna. The third one reminds me of the few times I’ve had to have physical therapy, and the nurse forced me to soak the limb in a tub of scalding hot water. But to each his own… My place also had two cool-water baths, and I used the warmer of those two. As for the sauna rooms, I can barely stand the coolest one – I guess I’m not tough enough for the super-heated steam. And still haven’t tried the “ice rooms”. I think I’ve heard that it can be risky for some people to use a steam room…

    Frankly I’ve been a little busy at work to explore and relax at new saunas, a situation that should be solved next week. I’ll try to write about a crazy back massage I got last week when I get some more free time.

    p.s. You’ve probably never had a question about the towel system, because no sauna owner in his right mind would implement anything so stupid. 😎

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:11 am

      once again, thanks for your lengthy commentary. I haven’t been to a new bathhouse in a while and should really move my ass!

  4. The Stumbler said, on June 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Well, I broke my promise and returned to that sauna, from which I quit. I had been dining in the neighborhood with a friend, and after we wound down the evening, I decided to visit the sauna for a back massage (I’ve got one screwed up back which is always causing one problem or another). I wasn’t prepared, this being a spur-of-the-moment decision, so I didn’t have my “training clothes”. I was able to squeeze myself into the “large” size outfit, and proceeded to the Jjimjilbang area for a massage. But, the massage store was “busy”, and couldn’t take me (I put busy in quotes, because I think this fellow was just afraid to have a foreigner – I didn’t see any other customer).

    So, I got a bottle of water and hung out for a few minutes reading Facebook on my phone. Suddenly, a Korean couple comes up to me and starts a conversation. We ended up talking for about 2 hours. The fellow’s English was fair, but his girlfriend’s was near perfect, having attended University in Australia. During the conversation, I had asked what were their jobs. He told me he was an actor, had just finished a movie, which would likely be released next year. I thought, this sounds like some kind of Indie film and perhaps he’s a novice or just aspiring actor.

    Anyway, the next morning at work, I Googled his name and the movie’s title, and turns out this fellow is one of the most popular actors on TV these days! Definitely not a novice. All my Korean friends were so jealous, and couldn’t believe I met him in a sauna. They kept asking if people were bothering him. Frankly, it was about midnight, most people were sleeping, and the only attention we received was from an old man, who asked us a few times to speak softer (The Stumbler has an inappropriately loud voice, and has to be reminded of this periodically).

    So, no massage, but an enjoyable conversation with a fellow who turned out to be a celebrity. And I can add this story to my growing list of “Forrest Gump-like” Korean experiences.

    p.s. I noticed with satisfaction that the “normal” towel system had been re-implemented. I like to think this decision was influenced by my passive protest…

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on June 19, 2012 at 12:44 am

      A few years ago I read an article about two boy band singers whose names I don’t recall, had been filming in Japan. On their return, late in the evening, they decided to go to a bathhouse. Anyway, they feel asleep in the sleeping area and when they woke up there was a small crowd around them. They were eventually asked to sign autographs and even obliged a request to do a dance routine – all naked! Only in Korea! Thanks for the visit and great ‘post.’

  5. The Stumbler said, on June 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    So, I’ve crossed another sauna from my list. It was a small one in my neighborhood, featuring only the sauna. During my recent visit, the main tub was empty! This left only one small tub with hot water, and a larger one with cold water. I don’t want to soak in cold water, so I went to the small one. Problem was, the water looked deep purple! I kept telling myself, “the water is purple because of the color of the tiles”, but I didn’t quite believe myself. Other possibilities resulting in purple water were to unsettling to dwell upon. Try as I might, I just couldn’t relax in such dubious water, and finally called it quits. I then tried to find the back massage ajossi, and after asking around and waiting about 20 minutes I completely gave up and left. I told the manager at the front desk as I left that I wasn’t coming back, because they had empty bathtubs tubs and an AWOL masseuse. Oh well, that leaves two more saunas in my neighborhood to explore yet.

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on June 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Ahh, you’ve spoilt my experience! I too have experienced the purple waters but until reading your comments had never considered anything amiss. My favourite bathhouse regularly uses purple water in the ‘event bath’ and I think it’s usually ‘herb’ or ‘lavender.’ I don’t know why they bother putting a sign up telling you the particular bath additive because they are totally odourless. I have been to bathhouses where the ‘event bath’ needs no sign announcing the contents because the aroma clearly does that for you.

  6. […] had to use a generic one from flickr, courtesy of Stacy and one of Home Spa World courtesy of the Amongst Other Things blog. To see the half naked old women, you’ll simply have to visit for […]

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