I arrived at my first stop in Seoul: the Metro Spa Sauna and Hotel.
Advertised as being open 24/7 I arrived at 2.30am and was told to take off my shoes and led through a corridor to a room which said ‘sauna.' Not really fancying a sauna at this ridiculously early hour I indicated that I would prefer to sleep. The South Korean lady nodded (she couldn't speak English) and led me through the same door to a wooden hall.
There lay dozens of sleeping Koreans, all dressed in the same outfit. As I weaved in and out them trying not to drop my bags on their horizontal bodies, I wondered if I had stumbled across some weird cult.
I was taken to a secret room full of wooden cabins. After the pod room in Shanghai I thought I knew what to expect but this time my pod was tiny, just a single size and inside was a matching outfit. Not realising you were meant to leave your luggage outside i dragged in my three sets of bags, crawled in and fell asleep.
I awoke to the smell of eucalyptus filling my cabin and cold air being pumped in through my see through door (which was more like a window). I felt calm, almost euphoric and wide awake.
This was no ordinary cabin. Each one was made of a special wood that enhanced peace and wellbeing and helped build a healthy heart. This was the ‘in' thing in South Korea and I lay there peacefully fully absorbing myself in the healing properties of this unusual place.
Then as I entered the same hall that was full of people last night, I wondered if they had been a mirage. There were three saunas, the first was 42 degrees and I lay on the floor, breathing deeply, relaxing every part of my body. Then into the second one with a huge kiln in the middle – more steam than heat. I was sweating in my cult outfit and longed for my bikini.
Then the finale, a room full of hot pebbles that scolded your feet as you hopped over them. There I lay moulded into the tiny rocks until I was practically cooked then I left this amazing and wacky place feeling ready to face my next adventure.