Zaza Backpackers Hostel in Seoul

On my first trip to Seoul, I booked my accommodation at Zaza Backpackers. I have a friend who is a loyal client of them. She gave positive feedback about them and she always stay here whenever she goes to Seoul. Since I am a solo traveler on a budget, her feedback made me feel at ease even if it was also my first time to stay in a dorm room. Continue reading “Zaza Backpackers Hostel in Seoul”

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Autumn in Nami Island

Visiting Nami Island in each different season has been one of my goals when I travel to Korea. The first time I went here was last spring in April 2015. I was alone and it was quite late when I arrived but I was still able to appreciate the beauty of this island and I gained two beautiful friends on my way back to Seoul. This time along with my friends from college, I was able to witness her beauty during autumn. Nami Island is indeed lovelier during this season with yellow, orange and red hues dominating what was once a lush green flora.  For details about other facilities featured in this half moon-shaped island, I will refer you to my first post about Nami IslandContinue reading “Autumn in Nami Island”

The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival

Kimchi is undeniably a staple in Korean cuisine because no meal is complete without it as it is one of the main side dish which identifies the uniqueness of Korean food among others. It was not love at first bite for me years ago when I got curious by how it tasted through the various Korean television dramas I have watched, but I have grown to love kimchi through the years. For me, eating my favorite gogi mandu (dumpling) and kimbap (seaweed rice roll) taste better with kimchi. Continue reading “The 2nd Seoul Kimchi Festival”

Seoul Lantern Festival 2015

It was my second time in Seoul and my first time touring my friends  in my happy place, the country which I would always want to go back to…South Korea. We were very fortunate that our travel dates coincided with the 2015 Seoul Lantern Festival so I took this as an opportunity to introduce to them one of the many colorful festivities which characterizes Korean culture. Continue reading “Seoul Lantern Festival 2015”

Nami Island

There is something about going out of the city that is refreshing. I somehow enjoyed the long subway ride from Seoul to Gapyeong as I observed how my surroundings changed from buildings to landscape. I saw colorful flowers starting to cover the mountainside and I got excited about how Nami Island, one of the many famous tourist spots in South Korea, would look like during early spring.  Continue reading “Nami Island”

Visit Medical Korea New Members Event

I came across this event while browsing through twitter and got relieved because there are still a few more days before the final day of this event on May 10, 2015. Hurry and sign up now! ^_^

Event Period: April 16, 2015 to May 10, 2015.

Who Can Join: Foreigners.

Winners Announcement: May 15, 2015.

How to Join:

1) Like Visit Medical Korea on Facebook.

2) Share the Visit Medical Korea New Members Event on your SNS (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

3) Sign up as New Member.

4) Leave a comment under Visit Medical Korea’s Event Board with the link of your SNS address where you shared this event. Reminder: You can write only one comment with one ID.

Good Luck! ^_^

Visit the following links for further details:

http://english.visitmedicalkorea.com/

https://www.facebook.com/visitmedicalkorea

Gwanghwamun Square

Gwanghwamun Square is a historical landmark at the center of Sejong-ro which expands from Gwanghwamun Gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace to  Sejongno Sageori. Statues of King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-Shin who are two of the most influential and respected people in Korean history can be found here. Since I studied Korean language, I am more curious about King Sejong whose most notable contribution is the invention of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. Continue reading “Gwanghwamun Square”

Spring 2015 at Yeouido Hangang Park

Living in a tropical country such as the Philippines where only dry and wet season occurs for the most part of the year, I have always been curious about autumn and spring season. When thinking about spring, cherry blossoms will always come first on my mind. To be able to see these heavenly-looking flowers in my dream destination, Seoul in South Korea, was truly an exciting and memorable experience for me. Continue reading “Spring 2015 at Yeouido Hangang Park”

Myeong-dong Cathedral

This is my first time to travel to South Korea, The Land of the Morning Calm. Three days before my flight, the Philippines had been threatened by Typhoon Chedeng. It made me restless as it may affect my travel plans. My prayers had been answered and I had been blessed with a good weather on the day that I was leaving for Incheon. Since I am staying in Myeong-dong and it was Easter Sunday, my goal on my first day was to visit Myeong-dong Cathedral to thank God for giving me another opportunity to travel. Continue reading “Myeong-dong Cathedral”

Lasema Korean Spa and Sauna (라 세마 찜질방)

It has been cold for the past few days, which is quite unusual to what we are used to here in Manila. This made me want to go to Lasema Korean Spa and Sauna. If you have watched Korean dramas, this is what they refer to as jjim jil bang (찜질방). Jjim jil means “to cure diseases by sweating through immersing oneself in a hot spring or water.”

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My friends and I usually go to Lasema during weekends and we often stay here overnight. The rates vary depending on the services that you will avail, what time of the day and what day of the week you will be coming. You can also avail of online vouchers or coupons which feature the full package at half the price (use of sauna and jjim jil bang for 12 hours and a full body massage which last for almost an hour).  My friends and I usually purchase the promo package and reserve our slots at least one week ahead.  If you used your credit card to purchase online, bring your credit card and ID for verification.

When you check in, you will be handed a locker key that is attached to a numbered electronic bracelet which you will use in purchasing food or drinks from the snack bar or if availing additional services for the whole duration of your stay in the spa. The add-on purchases will need to be paid once you check out.

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You will also be provided with a shirt, pair of shorts, two towels and a bathrobe.  We often use the first towel to make the sheep’s head hat, which is a unique fashion statement in a Korean spa as usually seen in Korean television dramas.

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Lasema is a gender segregated spa so there is a separate entrance to the shower room, locker room, and wet sauna for men and women. You will have to take off your footwear upon entering the facility. Once inside, you will immediately see the powder area, shower area and wet sauna. On the other side is the locker area. Basic toiletries and hair dryer are provided as well as mineral water.

When my friends and I went here for the first time, we were surprised to see completely undressed women in the locker area and wet sauna. Apparently, this is the norm in a Korean spa. My friends and  I were not keen on trying the wet sauna yet so we just changed into our spa shirt and shorts and went to the common area where the dry saunas are located.

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Common Area

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Common area with TV

The dry saunas consist of the  oak and clay sauna, salt charcoal sauna, dome clay sauna and ice room.  Due to the high temperature of the first three saunas, books and gadgets are not advisable to be brought inside.

The oak and clay sauna has yellow earth mud which when heated neutralizes poisonous effects of metal and stimulates our metabolism. It helps with alleviating symptoms of skin problems such as atopic dermatitis and respiratory problems such as asthma.  It is also good for women who have recently given birth.

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Oak and Clay Sauna

The salt charcoal sauna is good for relaxation and detoxification.  The salt charcoal blocks electromagnetic waves and also stimulates our metabolism.  This is my favorite as  I can tolerate the temperature which is around 48 to 50 degrees.  I usually lie down and place big chunks of salt crystals on my belly or legs.  The warmth from the crystals is really soothing and relaxing.

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Salt Charcoal Sauna
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Salt crystals on the floor and walls as well as oak wood

The dome clay sauna contains chungito which is an alkali mineral mud produced by volcanoes, The minerals from the mud stimulates and balances the energy from our body.  The temperature in this room is around 65 degrees or sometimes even higher, which I cannot tolerate.

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Dome Clay Sauna
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Dome Clay Sauna

The ice room is around 0 to -10 degrees. After sweating out from the heated sauna, stay here for a few minutes and allow your pores to close after detoxifying. The first few minutes will be refreshing but staying longer than five minutes will be a bit too much since the shirt and shorts are not enough to protect you from the extreme cold

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Ice Room

It was not until my fifth visit here that I tried the wet sauna. I have always wanted to try it but I am reluctant to take my clothes off so my friends and I waited until the wet sauna had no other occupants before we entered and tried the herbal pools. After showering, we tried the ginseng pool and the green tea pool.  The temperature ranges from 40 degrees to 45 degrees. I only stayed for about three to five minutes then showered again. I am not sure if it is just me, but I noticed my skin texture looked better, so I would probably try this again next time.

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Wet Sauna and Herbal Pools

After the sauna, we usually avail of the full body massage included in our voucher. So if you plan to do the same, it is advisable to reserve your slot before you start with the dry sauna or hang out in the common area. The massage room is big enough for our group so we always get our massage together.

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Massage reception beside the smoking room
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Massage Area

I always had a pleasant massage experience in Lasema so after having a massage, I am always sleepy.  I often prefer to sleep on the elevated area on top of the sleeping caves so my friends and I can sleep together.  There are times when the spa will get crowded and will make sleeping a bit harder because of the noise, so select the off peak hours or bring an ear plug.

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Sleeping area and sleeping caves

You can also sleep in the common room in front of the LCD TV or in the entertainment room where there are massage chairs and reading materials (which are all written in Korean).  The massage chairs are worn out and the covers look like they have not been replaced for days so I always prefer to use the sleeping mat.

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Sleeping area in front of the common room with LCD

Aside from the entertainment room, common room with TV, smoking room and saunas, Lasema also has a computer area where you can surf the Internet for P50 per hour and there is also a snack bar. We usually eat ramen, hard boiled egg and kimchi combo from the snack bar as it is more affordable and is good for sharing. The eggs are cooked inside the dome clay sauna (I saw a staff getting the eggs here).  The items from the snack bar are a bit pricey so I suggest you eat first before coming in. We usually have our dinner at Ara Korean Restaurant, which can be easily seen before you enter the parking area in front of the building where Lasema and Makati Golf Club are located.

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My experience with Lasema Korean Spa and Sauna had always been good.  I enjoyed the Korean spa experience as it makes me feel a step closer in experiencing Korean culture. The wet and dry sauna are great because they offer various health benefits and the massage experience had always been above average.  It is overall a good place to stay and detoxify while enjoying the company of your friends or family.

Address:  7232 Malugay St., Brgy. Bel Air, 1209 Makati City (inside Makati Golf Club).

Landmarks: It is 5 to 10-minute walk from The Columns, RCBC Building, Makati Post Office, FEU Makati. It is within the same area as the Makati Golf Club.

Contact Numbers: 830-2222 / 830-2147 / 830-2148 / 0927-6450531

Operating Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.