One can’t think of Korea without referring to Hallyu (Korean wave/Korean fever -love for Korean pop culture, or the appreciation of all things Korean) and of course, Korean pretty girls (should I say pretty boys too?).
Now, such beauty may be “engineered” or if you’re born pretty, it takes maintenance to preserve it.
Beauty/medical tourism is big in South Korea. Not just for the locals but also to many SEA citizens. Closer to home, Singaporeans are known to flock over to South Korea for their beauty procedures. Quality and safety are the primary factors and of course, price.
For my 3rd visit to South Korea this year (you can read about Busan and Jeju HERE), my task this time was to experience Korean Hallyu and SHOPPING. Oh my god, I thought I strike lottery when I saw the itinerary. LOL!
Our first “beauty/health” experience was the tour of INHA International Medical Center. And of course what’s a tour without some experience of the facilities right?
INHA International Medical Center is located just 5 minutes drive from Incheon International Airport. There 6 Service Departments in 1 building providing specialized medical services combining western and oriental approaches – Health Check Up, Dental Clinic, Korean Medicine, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery (of course) and SPA.
The tour took about 40 minutes, and we were clearly shown a clean, professional run and state of the art facility.
One of the dental rooms.
Some UFO equipment. Ok I kid, I believe these are for ultrasound or fat loss. 😀
One of the spa rooms.
I would have preferred dental (my teeth does need some whitening!) or spa for a massage. But I got a medical check-up package instead. This TBP program (USD340) that I received includes Ultrasound of Thyroid, Breast and Abdomen+Pelvis.
I had expected a lot of prodding and questioning and wasn’t really in the mood for it after a long flight. Thankfully it turned out to be a concise, painless and accurate test all done in a duration of 30-40mins, including changing and filling up a questionnaire. This questionnaire is basically for their records.
Each guest in INHA is provided a private room for privacy and convenience. After changing into a robe and slippers, I filled up the basic form and waited for my doctor.
My procedure required me to lie down comfortably while the attending doctor asked some simple questions as she ran an ultrasound head over the parts to be screened.
What she saw on the screen tells her what she needs to know. So basically no hands or prodding required. It was quick and painless.
My report was comprehensive and a copy sent to me for reference after my session. It is pretty self explanatory and no doubt useful for future reference.
Nothing significant was found from my check-up. Thank god. No signs of breast cancer – my main worry for years but I was just too lazy to get any check-up done. Well, I’m relieved that I’m now professional pronounced a clean bill of health, for my breast, thyroid and Abdomen+Pelvis at least!
Here’s a bit more about INHA FYI.
Our subsequent “beauty/health” experience was next day in Seoul city. This time it was to “spruce” up our mane and get it gorgeous and silky like the K-Pop stars.
Walking into the salon itself convinced me that I’ll be in capable hands.
The stylists were all in uniforms; seniors in smart jackets and assistants in cute short skirts. Reliable brand names for the products used lined the display shelves and table tops.
We started with a nice head massage as our hair was washed and conditioned. Then it’s a quick dry and style by one of the hairstylist. Mine was this gorgeous Korean star looking lady which wardrobe I admire (love her jacket, tight pants, boots!) which did a fabulous job on my hair. She gave me nice waves in my short crop.
Obviously this is not me. Yes, this salon is unisex.
Say hi to my Stylist – Yu Ran! 😀
See the tiered waves? Cool. I never had these before. Well, the effect lasted till I washed my hair.
I’ll show this picture to my hair salon (Centro Hair Salon at Gardens Mid Valley) so they can duplicate the same for me next time! 🙂
While waiting for the rest to be done (the ones with long hair took slightly longer of course) we were served a drink and there were plenty of Korean magazines to be keep us entertained.
For the convenience of their patrons, complimentary lockers are provided for the safekeeping of jackets and personal belongings.
One group picture of all the pretty ladies!
And guys! 🙂
Below: RA Beauty Core Salon is in this building. Address is provided at the end of the post.
Feeling preened and pretty we went for cakes, lunch and a walk around the area. Our next appointment was for either an hour massage or a facial. I opted for facial (in fact all of us did!) and with the spa our therapists gave us a nice head and shoulder massage within the one hour duration.
Now I know what’s it’s like to be a Korean girl! For those of you who would like to have a feel of Korean makeup, all you have to do is visit the cosmetics/beauty shops in the shopping areas. There are usually testers and helpful female assistants on duty who’s more than eager to help you apply some of their products.
Last but not least, I’m sure you would want to know how much does such pampering sessions cost here in Seoul right? Well, in general the prices are as below and these are figures based on research and also from asking my guide Kim:
Wash and Blow: USD20
Massage – standard full body and 1 hour – USD90
Facial: USD 60-100 (in a mid range salon)
Places we went:
1. INHA International Medical Center
253 Yonghyeon-dong, Nam-gu, Incheon, South Korea
2. RA Beauty Core Salon
228 G-five Central Plaza, 1685-8 Seochong-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea.
3. Jurlique Spa – Esthetic R & D Center
5th Floor, 47-2, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
*This wonderful experience was a part of our Asian On Air itinerary during our media familiarization trip organized by KTO Malaysia and Korean Air in October 2013.
Stay tuned as I’ll update more on my trip over the next few weeks!
For other travel adventures, you can visit my travel page –> http://www.rebeccasaw.com/travel/