Following a grueling period of dealing with the impact of a global pandemic, finding time to unwind and reenergise is more important than ever before. With its citizens among the healthiest and longest living in the world, what better place is there to embark on a wellness quest to replenish mind, body and soul than South Korea?
Home to tranquil healing forests and breathtaking mountain scenery, it’s the perfect setting to fully immerse yourself in nature and escape the stresses of modern life. From ancient medicines and meditation to jjimjilbang (traditional public bathhouses) and beauty treatments, South Korea is in a league of its own when it comes to health and wellness.
Of course, a detox retreat in South Korea would not be complete without a visit to the country’s famous spas and oncheon (hot springs). With so many places to choose from, we’ve picked the very best South Korean wellness experiences that promise ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation.
And if you’re looking for an open-air hot spring where you can enjoy watching the sunset in front of the Yellow Sea, the Seongmodo mineral hot spring in Ganghwado is a 90-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Seoul. Rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium, the water is known for relieving dry skin and joint inflammation. Finally, it’s worth considering stopping by at Suanbo in Chungju – Korea’s first natural hot spring, where you can visit Multang Park, a shallow hot spring that is a popular foot bath, and explore the nearby Chungjuho Lake and Songgye Valley.
Traditional Korean Spas
And if you’re inspired to learn more about South Korea’s abundance of natural remedies it is worth visiting Donguibogam Village in Sancheong – the country’s first herbal medicine-themed park, where you can make your own gongjindan (a traditional medicine to boost the immune system) and visit the Hanbang ‘Chi’ Experience Centre to heal your mind and body by training your ‘chi’, or energy force. Those with a penchant for herbal tea should consider heading to Tea Therapy in Jongno where you can sip a custom-made blend while soaking your feet in special foot baths for improving circulation and relieving headaches.
Luxury Resort Spas
Also well worth a visit is the WE Hotel Wellness Center close to Mount Hallasan, a Unesco designated Jeju Island biosphere reserve. The luxuriously equipped resort promotes health and spiritual healing through the water and forests. During your stay you can take part in the specially tailored hydrotherapy program which uses natural, mineral-rich volcanic bedrock water and practice deep breathing while taking long walks through the surrounding cedar forests. And if you’re after complete isolation, head to Park Roche in Sugam-ri, Jeongseon county. Here you can escape the stress of the city and revitalize your mind and body with a multitude of activities including river rafting, cooking classes, yoga, meditation and drawing lessons.
For more information on the best spas in Korea, visit the Korea Tourism Organization