Yellow Dragon Sauna and Motel, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju

Scroll down to content

I’ve meant to write up this location for some time. I’ve been holding on to this place, waiting for the time to return and reshoot with film cameras. I’ve been back to Gwangju many times, but there is always something new to find. I’ll write an addendum post about this place when that happens.

Today’s featured destination. Plenty of empty space for social distancing. The sign says it’s for sale. 


The lucky thing about being in Korea during the coronavirus outbreak is that citizens haven’t been ordered to stay at home.  Stores of all kinds are open for business. We’re relatively free to go out and about wherever we shall please. For the last three weeks, I have been at work teaching kids with masks on. It’s nice to have a sense of normalcy during a worldwide pandemic. Who knows how long it will last? I appreciate it nonetheless. I know I take a risk every time I go out, at least I wear a mask and try to maintain social distancing, which is easy when you explore an abandoned neighborhood, but super tricky in Korea. Koreans seem to not understand the idea of preserving walking space, something I have noticed even before the pandemic.

Despite the lack of proper distance, Korea has been able to stifle the outbreak. However, I think there is an attitude in people here that see the virus spreading slower than other countries and think the coronavirus is a) almost contained in Korea and b) never going to reach them. I will continue to go exploring as long as I feel safe in this country. My blogs for the foreseeable future cover urban exploration in Korea during the pandemic. Readers, please write to me about your urbex experiences in your country during this age of self-quarantine. In the meantime, stay safe out there! Without further ado, I present the Yellow Dragon Sauna and Hotel!IMG_5884IMG_5817IMG_5894

Front desk for the sauna. 
Front desk for the hotel. Entrance to the sauna on the left.

IMG_5819My trust companion and I visited this location on June 17, 2018. I had seen this place out the window of a bus and told Mr.Urbexpat we needed to hit this place up. The women’s sauna was on the first floor had shower areas and a couple bathing tubs filled with water of different temperatures.IMG_5893.jpegIMG_5890IMG_5885

Inside the sauna.

Let’s go up to the second-floor men’s sauna. It had a lot more stuff, including a gym and barbershop. I am baffled why they didn’t provide these amenities for ladies as well. IMG_5831IMG_5825IMG_5847IMG_5844

The pattern design reminds me of 90s disposable paper cups.


A massage chair. Didn’t see any of those in the ladies’ sauna as well.
Wow, had this place last been open in 2007??
An aerial view of the Yellow Dragon Sauna and Hotel in better times.

Retracing our footsteps, we went up the stairs to find the hotel rooms of the building where I discovered my favorite part of this place: the fake bamboo.  The rooms, in various state of chaos, gave off an inviting glow. It seems that people had been squatting here at some point. It’s also possible that someone is still tending this place. When we entered, I felt this vibe that someone still presided over the place, despite it being long abandoned. IMG_5859IMG_5854IMG_5855IMG_5856IMG_5868IMG_5883

….and Religion.

I wonder how much the owner of Yellow Dragon is asking. Maybe Mr. Urbexpat and I can combine savings and possess our own abandoned building, much like the time Bart and Milhouse became the proprietors of a defunct factory on an episode of the Simpsons.






2 Replies to “Yellow Dragon Sauna and Motel, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju”

  1. Sure ya know but Taiwan is much like Korea. Mostly normal, some stuff shut down, but so far allowed to travel freely, so been ok. So far so good.

Leave a Reply to formosajmacCancel reply

%d bloggers like this: