Hidden Sanctuary by Seoul Station
BY Emma O’Flynn
Busan! Great city, all the trappings, fun place, right on the ocean, fabulous! And there’s even an airport! Our very own Gimhae airport with flights to…hum…not that many places actually. And hold on, the prices are craaaazzzzy! We all have had, or will have, that experience of trying to depart dear Korea for vacation or otherwise. And let’s be honest, the selection of flights from Gimhae is ‘lacking’ (unless of course, you wanna spend 36 hours in transit at various locations across the globe). So you’re forced to fly from Incheon, and your flight departs at stupid o’clock in the morning, or returns stupidly late at night…watcha gonna do? Well my fellow waygooks, there is a convenient and cost effective solution!
Located just beside Seoul station is Siloam jimjilbang. This place is pretty substantial in size, and although not the most modern place, it offers cheap and clean digs for a night, and is perfectly located for jumping on the AREX to the Incheon, or the KTX home to Busan (and it’s not so far from the Express Bus Terminal for those bussing it..). Once inside the signs are in English (or Konglish “Here is the 3rd floor”), and the staff are pleasant and speak sufficient English. Downstairs there are a variety of baths, steam room and sauna, and an abundance of showers. Upstairs you have the usual formentation rooms (including an ice room), and there is sleeping mats in the general common areas. There are a couple of restaurants and snack bars, a PC room, and even a gym!
But the crowning jewel of this place has to be the sleeping rooms on the top floor. There are two massive rooms (male and female separate), fitted with an estimated 200 berths. Each berth has a mat and block pillow, and in the winter they provide blankets also. There are two tiers to the bunks, and some even have a little curtain you can pull across! The place is so big it’s usually not hard to find a quiet corner to get a good night’s rest. The place is darkened, but not so much so as to inhibit navigation to the toilet in the middle of the night. And it is pretty quiet, ensuring a decent night’s sleep before or after your journey.
The website can be found here
To find this secret treasure, it’s best to start in the Seoul Station, the actual train station, not the subway! Exit the station via the main doors at the end where the escalators for the AREX are located (the opposite end from the Metro exits). Go down the steps to the taxi rank and take a right. Walk straight for approx 3-4mins, you should pass an entrance to the Lotte Mart on your right as you go. Shortly after that there is a big intersection with a fly-over, and under that there is a pedestrian crossing, use this to cross the road. At that point you should be right in front of a kimbap shop with an orange sign, so bear left and just round the bend is a small but steep hill heading to the entrance of Siloam.