As the amount – and kinds – of stress we face each day continues to grow, our personal wellbeing, moments of healing and resting are always at the forefronts of our consciousness. For many of us, this naturally extends to our ideas for traveling: Wellness-focused travel has become an essential part of our lives.
Building on this idea, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture and the Korea Tourism Organization has been introducing outstanding wellness travel destinations in the beautiful Land of the Morning Calm. Below are three selected highlights for the discerning traveller.
Paradise City Cimer, Jung-gu, Incheon, adds the sensibilities of European spas to Korean dry sauna culture to create a luxurious and brilliant space. Going beyond the limitations of a typical spa, Cimer is at the peak of Korean spas, evolving endlessly to reach greater heights.
Various interesting programs are offered by the facility, including the cave spa and virtual spa. The cave spa is a float-in-sound program enjoyed at the maze-like space inside the entrance. Visitors can use the buoyance of aqua sticks and water neck pillows to float on water, and dip only the ears to listen to music that comes out of underwater speakers. Listening to this beautiful music in a dark and cosy space while floating on water relaxes the mind. The time spent at the virtual spa is equally precious. In short, this experience offers a chance to relax the eyes and body in a truly dreamlike setting.
There is also the Korean dry sauna zone that operates a unique and creative program called the “Hot Shot Service.” Held at the amethyst room, the program is conducted in hot temperature. Ice, aroma liquid and water are poured over a stove heated to 60-65 degrees Celsius. Steam forms over the stove and a traditional Korean dancer performs a fan dance to spread the steam. Participants then enjoy the heat and aroma scents that come out of the stove.
Located in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, Yongpyong Resort Balwangsan Mountain is beautiful all year round. Since its reachable via cable car, people on wheelchairs, children and seniors can enjoy the pleasing landscape at the peak of Balwangsan Mountain. In the forest that stretches out from the peak to the, guests can learn about nature and participate in programs that give you the strength to live.
The forest at Balwangsan Mountain has a lot to boast about. For one, it is home to interesting tree species. Among them is the mayu tree that grows near the summit, which is a definite must-see site. It is the only dual-species combined tree in which rowan tree seed sprouted inside a Siberian crabapple and become rooted inside its trunk. People marvel at this tree because it symbolizes coexistence. There are eight trekking courses from the resort to the summit, including the Wisdom Forest Trail where pine trees and birch form a habitat, the Yew Healing Forest Trail, the Um Hong-gil Trail named after South Korean mountaineer Um Hong-gil and the Norway spruce Healing Forest Trail.
Yongpyong Resort was designed for various experience-based programs to share the beautiful ecosystem of Balwangsan Mountain. Programs that can be enjoyed from spring until early fall include A-hyu, which means “true rest for me,” the empress’ royal walk, the king’s night outing, walking on the forest of Balwangsan Mountain, Balwangsan Revealing of Secrets of Nature and Balwangsan Backpacking. During winter, indoor programs are available such as meditation yoga, handicraft programs, aroma healing and nishi therapy. (yongpyong.co.kr)
The aptly named Therapy & Spa Sobe in Gwangju pursues the original health and beauty that nature bestowed upon us. The beauty of the spa is revealed in its consultation process. To ensure the best results, a professionally and systematically trained therapist recommends a program based on the result of the consultation. There are 55 programs in 11 categories including skin improvement, La Stone therapy as well as holism well-aging and sliming. Sobe’s signature programs,meanwhile, include the text neck care that relieves pain from turtle neck syndrome, whole body that helps relax the body and lower stress and hydro-vichy.
Stepping into the spa feels like giving yourself a gift. The luxurious space feels warm thanks to the soft and subtle lighting. The structure consists of a lobby, solium, head spa room, seven spa rooms, mom’s room, yoga room and space where the spa cuisine is served. In the middle of the streamlined corridor is an S-shaped resting space. The aforementioned spa cuisine is served at the inner most space, where a small party of six to eight people can enjoy their meals while receiving therapy. Last but not least, there is a water therapy space that feels like a party room, where guests receive their treatments while enjoying the atmosphere of a friendly gathering. If anything, this is certainly a combination that any one of us modern city-dwellers can use to cope with the demands of our modern lives.