Consumer Reports Discrimination

Sauna in Busan bans entry of ‘foreigner-looking people’

Lee Tae-hoon
Written by Lee Tae-hoon

A sauna in a tourist district in Busan is refusing to admit foreign customers to keep the majority of Korean customers happy, staff members of Bally Aqua Land said.

“We are not denying entry to all foreigners. We only ban those who look like foreigners,” said an employee of the jjimjilbang, which is located near Busan Station.

“We are okay with people from Asia. They look like us and it is hard to tell whether they are foreigners or not. But we do not allow those very big and tall people, who clearly look like foreigners.”

She alleged that foreign customers often anger Korean customers and that four foreigners were recently caught for sneaking into the women-only bathing area.

She also stressed that the sauna decided to refuse entry of foreigner couples because they are “too physically affectionate.”

“As this is a public space where many people use, an excessive display of physical affection cannot be tolerated,” the employee of Bally Aqua Land said.

“This is not their country and we cannot allow excessive physical contact in such a public place like this. You know, people don’t act like that in Korea.”

She claimed that motels should refuse service to teenage couples and so should Bally Aqua Land to foreign couples.

“Foreigners are far too excessive in displaying physical affection. That’s why we deny the entry of foreigner couples,” she said.

“They cause too much trouble.”

The owner of Bally Aqua Land has refused to comment over the overt discriminatory policy.

An American English teacher in Busan claimed that anyone other than Korean nationals would be denied of entry to the sauna.

“This location discriminates against foreigners. They only allow Koreans in. I am an English teacher living near there and want to use the spa sometimes,” he said on a consumer report forum of the Korea Observer.

“This is not right and should be fixed asap!”

Another expat with the screenname “edvenchers” also expressed disappointment in Bally Aqua Land.

“That happened to me at that same place about four or more years ago. I was told by the worker that the Koreans who visit there don’t want to share it with foreigners,” edvenchers said.

“I got in a taxi and went to another place.”

Hwang Pil-kyu, a human rights lawyer at Gonggam, claims that xenophobic business owners can continue to practice discriminatory policies because the Korean government and politicians hardly do anything to prevent racism.

“One of the most fundamental duties of the government is publicly and officially pointing out what is wrong,” he said.

“However, the Korean government is completely neglecting its duty and overlooking this important issue.”

It is almost impossible to punish racial discrimination and insults in Korea as the country does not have an anti-discrimination law.

The complaint was originally posted on

About the author

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon

Lee Tae-hoon is publisher at The Korea Observer. He previously worked for the Korea Times and Arirang TV. You can reach him at

  • anon

    I’m an Irish-French American, and I totally agree with this sauna and hope they don’t bend to politically-correct pressure. I’m sure there are plenty of other places for foreign-looking people to go. Stay strong Korea! Don’t lose your modesty, respect for elders, culture and identity.

    • cocopuffy

      ‘modesty, respect for elders, culture and identity’… have you even been here? clearly not…

  • Aldene911

    I am beginning to dislike that country and I liked it so much. I visited twice, never again.

    • ukc213

      ya i know right. fuck that COUNTRY because of 1 sauna owner……fucking idiot

      • Aldene911

        His is the second such story of racism I have read about in Korea in two days..pardon me if I am losing MY taste for the place…you can always go, I won’t stop you. I won’t swear either I have a wide vocabulary. I am a black woman…why would I continue to love somewhere where black folks have to prove they have white friends in order to get a job?!? Don’t be so caught up that you are ignorant to what is happening, learn to be objective.

      • Aldene911

        Countless times I have been told that black teachers cannot teach in some Korean schools because the kids will be “afraid of us”. I am told that my country does not speak English and they prefer white people anyway…They are worried about employing “my type” because “we fight white people”…never mind I have never been in a fight all my Caribbean life..
        I could go on..but I think all this doesn’t even matter as dead horses will not be affected by flogging.

        • ukk213

          You were told but never experienced that situation….. Once again fucking idiot. Taking in what other people tell you without having to experience it.

          • Jarl Borg

            you are a retard,

          • H K

            Jarl Borg is a fucking ugly white trash foreigner.

        • Harrison Hinks

          Das bikaa Caribbean peepal taak laik dis ya know. man fi com an teech ya Inglish laik dis ya nah gonna learn ‘ow ta taak inglish propally. In di Caribbean ya taak in Patwah.

          I am fluent in patwah so it nah bodder me

    • Lina

      Aldene, no matter how many stories about racism you listen, how can you get to hate a whole country only because of that?. I live in korea and I myself as a white-latin woman have encountered with discrimination (actually its quite a coincidence since one of those cases was in a jimjilbang in Busan..), also have heard stories from my friends….but not because of that I will hate the whole country, when I have so many good people in my life that aren’t racists. you cant generalize. I mean everywhere in the world we will find discrimination. And in Korea the new generation is accepting foreigners much more, any race. I guess if you come here with that negative mentality that’s the only thing you will find here. Maybe the old generation still cant get the fact that their country is globalizing. And at the same time, sometimes (not always) the fault really goes to the foreigners who don’t behave.

  • Kyrei

    If that is their policy, then take your business elsewhere.

  • chucky3176

    This was a false news report. Foreigners were let in, no problems.

  • ExposingtheKO

    This article is hugely misleading, par the course for these below par hacks. It’s clearly a case of ‘no drunk russian sailors’

    Check your facts muppet boy

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