So here I am, sitting in a mixed-gender resting area after finally hitting up the famous Vesta spa in Busan. It’s essentially the same as a Japanese onsen. It’s advertised as a spa and in reality, it’s a public bath with stunning views of Haeundae beach. I read reviews of this place on Tripadvisor and most people commented that there was absolutely nothing written in English, making it difficult for those who don’t read Korean to avoid faux pas. However, I am happy to announce that the menu is in English and Korean, making it accessible for a lot of people. If you’ve been to a Japanese onsen, the protocol is the same. Baths are segregated by gender, and you wash yourself before you get into to the baths. Baths were separated into three different temperatures – painfully hot, ahh just right, and brr… I might have frostbite. There are also saunas going up to 89°C – though I’m not sure how one could manage. I popped my head into the 69°C sauna and immediately felt burnt. There’s one small outdoor bath which felt nice on this crisp winter evening. One nice addition was the small pool with pipes pumping out jets of water. This gave a nice water massage that felt rather good!
Once you’ve had enough of the heat, you have the option to put on uniforms (the typical blue for guys and pink for girls) and head to the common resting areas where everyone sprawl onto the marble floor, some passing out. Take cash as there are a range of food and drinks to buy and other services are available. Though quite expensive (and I didn’t opt for it), you could also have someone scrub the skin off you to give you that extra clean feeling. There were many with tattoos – quite the contrary to Japan, though I’m not quite sure whether there is a connotation/agreement attached to tattoos here.
All in all, it was fairly relaxing and good value for money.
Spa – ₩6500
Spa and Jimjilbang – ₩10,000
Body Scrub – up to ₩50,000
Vesta Spa is located up a hill which then offers you the nice views. Take a bus to Mipo Moon Tan Road Ipgu (I took 139 from Haeundae Beach which only took 5 minutes).
Continue to walk from the bus stop.
The easiest option is a taxi which costs roughly ₩5000 from Haeundae Beach.