Always happy to be back in Korea! If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know that I was in Korea for the first time this summer for a backpacking trip with two of my friends. Well, a little less than a month ago, I returned to Korea for the second time – this time in fall, and it was truly an entirely different experience since I got to pamper myself with spas, beauty services and more.
This entry will cover some of the spas and beauty services I've personally tried and tested and can definitely attest the goodness of. Will share more about my Korea summer and fall trips in other entries to come!
1. Herb Island Healing Center
Situated on the outskirts of Seoul at Pocheon is Herb Island, an island that focuses on the growth of Mediterranean herbs and features an array of attractions including the herb museum, herb exhibition hall, herb restaurants, an aroma therapy center and more. With a range of activities to indulge yourself in, Herb Island is – in my opinion, definitely the perfect spot to rest your body and mind.
Additional perks: Feeling like a princess in their very grand and whimsical herb restaurant!
We had a delightful herb-infused lunch before our spa session at the Herb Healing Center. I love the fact that our food was served with edible flowers – pretty and yummy at the same time!
After lunch, we headed to the Herb Healing Center where we were presented with a cuppa herb tea that helps in calming and relaxing our minds. We finished a mini questionnaire where we were asked questions regarding our wellbeing such as "how many hours of sleep do you get each day?" before heading for our customised spa session.
Other than an aromatherapy massage and a foot bath, one of the more interesting experiences that we tried would have to be the 'hay therapy' that supposedly helps to detoxify our bodies and boost our immunity. Not going to lie, I felt like a curious rabbit laying in a bed of warm hay! Hot stones were also placed on our waist and I promptly fell asleep for the next 20 minutes.
There's a gift shop at the ground level of the healing center, where we could purchase aromatherapy products such as fragrance oil, hand creams, bath bombs, skin care products and more. Spotted colourful little bouquets of oh-so-pretty baby breaths as well!
All in all, I'd definitely recommend a trip to Herb Island for a day of rejuvenation and wellness. This place is also pretty much picturesque and you'd find yourself immersing in a day's experience away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
2. Beauté 101
Priding itself as one of Seoul's top one-stop beauty salon, Beauté 101 caters to individuals of all ages, irregardless of whether you need a hair fix, make up done, styling, manicures and pedicures — they're the go-to place to ensure you rock a look that you love. They're particularly known for their top-notch services for bridal shoots and weddings.
Lucky us got to try out their hair + make up + manicure package that costs around 242,000 won (approx SGD$297).
Bare faced and ready to get my Korean make up look done!
After getting our hair and make up done, we took turns to get our nails done while chilling at the cafe located within Beauté 101. I requested for a natural look with a simple hairstyle and that's what I got!
A group picture by the streets of Gangnam because we all blended in very well with the Koreans on that day!
Beauté 101 is definitely worth checking out if you're looking to get your hair done or a complete Korean-style makeover, or if you're thinking of doing your wedding photoshoot in Korea, this the one stop salon that'd cater to all your needs.
3. Spa Lei (Jjimjilbang)
Before my Korea trip, I had a few friends asking if I'll be doing 'Jjimjilbang'. Clueless as I was, I googled and found out that Jjimjilbang basically a gender-segregated public bathhouse in Korea, where facilities such as hot tubs, showers, saunas, foot baths - in short: all the things you need for a much needed break from your hectic lifestyle.
We did a tour of Spa Lei and tried out some facilities for ourselves, such as the foot bath and sauna. I have to say, this place is really an eye-opener! Imagine being able to take a day off work and spend the night here just chilling and enjoying massages, sauna with your group of girlfriends — sounds like a life I'd like to lead. Jjimjilbang, please come to Singapore!
We also tried out their homemade Sikhye, a traditional Korean sweet rice beverage while enjoying the cool air in their outdoor garden. At just 2,000 won (approx SGD$2.45) an hour, you gain access to Spa Lei to enjoy the wide array of facilities.
While some unique facilities would require additional charges, I think it's still pretty worth every penny! If you're looking to relax in style at a pocket-friendly price, do try out Jjimjilbangs in Korea.
4. Kwangdong Traditional Korean Medicine
My experience at Kwangdong Traditional Korean Medicine is hands-down my most memorable — because I got to try out facial acupuncture! Pictured above is an overly-excited Brenda not knowing what she's in for.
Never in my mind would I have ever considered going for facial acupuncture because the thought of having needles all over my face scared me a little! But at the same time, I thought to myself "Well since Korean beauty is so highly raved and this is probably the one and only time I'd try out facial acupuncture... Why not? Maybe then I'd have skin as perfect as theirs!"
Two of us volunteered to go for facial acupuncture while the other two went for a wellness treatment that consisted of leg and back acupuncture. We started off our facial acupuncture session with a consultation where the doctor pointed out some issues we had with our faces. For myself, the doctor pointed out that my skin was dull and facial acupuncture would help rejuvenate my skin and give it a brighter look.
We then had our skin thoroughly cleaned and prepped for facial acupuncture! To be completely honest, I got a bit frightened when the doctor started with my partner's facial acupuncture session. In my mind were thoughts like "omg maybe it's not too late for me to run away right?"
And then it was my turn.... Being the first time I'm doing facial acupuncture (or any sorts of acupuncture for that matter), I freaked out a bit because it was really painful. Considering that I have extremely low pain threshold, it's no surprise that I started whining a little.
I swear, the amount of needles on my face was half of the amount on my partner's! In Chinese terms, they'd call this 爱美不要命 (translation: beauty > life). I was offered the mirror to take a look but I almost immediately replied: "No no no thanks I don't wanna see I think I might cry! Please don't show me, please!" HAHAHA.
Okay but for real, this is a once in a lifetime experience that I otherwise would have NEVER dared to try! I heard that obvious results can be seen after 3-4 treatments, but after just 1 treatment, I did notice my skin became a tad brighter and less dull!
Seems like Koreans really know their beauty and skincare tricks inside out. Thank you Kwangdong Traditional Korean Medicine for working your magic on my face!
5. Sulwhasoo Flagship Store
Ah, the palace of Korean beauty. I'm sure everyone's familiar with Sulwhasoo - one of the top skincare brands hailing from Korea! Lucky us managed to pop by Sulwhasoo's six-storey Flagship Store located in Gangnam, Seoul.
Adapting the design concept of an oriental lantern, the intricate gold-brass interior was so beautiful that I fell head over heels at first sight. Everything else just spelt 'exquisite' and 'luxurious' here.
We were treated to a 90-minute premium spa and for that 90 minutes, I mistook my status as a princess because hey, I really was treated like one!
For a start, we had ginseng tea and a dose of ginseng ampoule before we were led to our personal spa rooms where we had our personal cabinet for our belongings, our personal iPhone charger, personal dressing table, personal skincare and make up products for our usage after spa and more. Talk about being a princess.
Started our spa with a ginseng foot bath (my feet has never been more pampered) and proceeded to get our facials and body massage done! Confession: I fell asleep because it was soooo comfortable that I didn't get pictures during the process.
At the six-storey Sulwhasoo Flagship Store, there are various levels catered to different experiences. Starting from the basement which is the Sulwhasoo spa area, the different floors leading up to fifth storey caters to: heritage, boutique, culture and VIP lounge, casual spa and an alfresco roof top respectively.
I have so much more to talk about my trip to Korea and I'd be sharing my experiences in the upcoming posts! Also, a huge thank you Korea Tourism Organization Singapore for making this trip happen!