Traditional Massage in Bangkok
Thai traditional massage is a centuries old form of physical therapy. For many people, Thai massage is energizing and results in more flexibility. It can also relieve muscle and joint pain. All of these things are especially beneficial to travelers who often suffer from the stiffness and achiness that results from long flights and lots of walking while sightseeing.
There are hundreds of places to get a massage in Bangkok but services vary widely. For starters, it should be noted that some massage establishments in Bangkok cater primarily to men and offer services other than traditional, therapeutic massage. Prices tend to range from 250 to 350 baht an hour. Most experts on massage say that to get the full benefits, a two-hour massage is necessary; but many people opt for one hour.
There is a fair amount of stretching, turning, twisting, popping and kneading associated with a Thai massage and those with medical conditions should take note of this. A few people find the process painful, some find it tickles and some find it somewhat akin to torture. Most people, however, feel refreshed and limber when the massage is finished.
Where to Get a Thai Massage
Two places that have good reputations are Pho Thong Thai Massage, in the Fortuna Hotel, on Sukhumvit Soi 5 (tel. 02-255-1045 300 baht per hour).
Arima Onsen on Soi Surawong Plaza near the Sala Daeng BTS station (tel. 02-235-2142 220 baht per hour).
Most medium and upper range hotels offer massage services - often times in your room. Be a bit careful and specific or you might end up with something other than a therapeutic massage - especially in medium range hotels.
The best place to get a massage, and the spiritual home for the technique, is a Wat Pho, the famous temple which houses a beautiful reclining Buddha. The temple has information about traditional massage inscribed on stone slabs on a corner of the temple.
There are also illustrations of rishis demonstrating different massage postures. These slabs date to the early 18th century when King Rama III commissioned them and are still used as "textbooks" for the massage school.
Prices for a massage at Wat Pho
- 1/2 hour -- 150 Baht
- 1 hour -- 250 Baht
- 1 hour with herbs -- 350 Baht
- Clean bed sheet -- 20 Baht
- Foot Reflexology - 3/4 hour -- 250 Baht
Massage lessons - Wat Pho Traditional Thai Massage School has two kinds of courses.
- General Thai Massage
- Therapeutic and Healing Massage Course (Prerequisite: General Thai Massage)
The cost is 7,000 baht for each course. Classes start every day at 09:00, 12:00 or 15:00. The class runs for 5 days (6 hrs/day), 6 days (5 hrs/day) or 10 days (3 hrs/day).