The Christian Science Monitor has highlighted Korea's "bang" culture, meaning rooms that can be rented by small groups and offer a wide range of entertainment from singing and movie viewing to saunas.
It ranks jjimjilbang or Korean saunas most highly. "Jjimjilbang are the ultimate in 'bang' entertainment," the paper's global news blog said on May 24.
CSM explained that Koreans worry about social conformity in public, "but in a 'bang' they can let their hair down." The daily said people frequent them when they wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the city either to relax or to have some fun.
"There's norae-bang (Korean karaoke) for those who want to sing along in a private space where they'll only be entertaining their companions, not a roomful of strangers. There's also game-bang (video-game-playing rooms) and DVD-bang (to rent and watch DVDs)."
But it said jjimjilbang are best, explaining that there are sex-segregated hot pools, "but also many special sauna rooms that both sexes may share after they've donned the requisite uniform: color-coordinated cotton shorts and shirt."