Bangkok is a city full of spas and massage parlors ranging in size, style, price and quality. From first class spas and resorts, to store front parlors in malls and lining'the streets, visitors are spoilt for choice when looking for'somewhere to relax, unwind and let a professional work out the stress and tension from your body.
There are so many different spas and massage parlors in Bangkok that some people may find it a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing where to go. But with a little'research and few recommendations, you'll no doubt stumble across'the perfect place for you, not matter what you're looking for.
High-end spas are often found in the 4-5 star hotels, and these are undoubtedly some of the very best in Bangkok. However there are still many establishments in other locations that offer the same high quality of service that you'd expect from a first class hotel spa.
As a general rule of thumb many of the most prestigious and popular spas are situated in the more upmarket areas of the city and tourist hotspots. However as with most rules'there are exceptions, and it's possible to find great establishments located all over the city.
Many fantastic spas are located within'the residential soi's off the main roads downtown. Since rent is cheaper in these tucked away areas, spas and massage parlors here'typically offer better value for money. These places are often frequented by locals and expats, and make for a charming experience if you can find them.
Malls are another place where you're guaranteed to find a number of spas catering to different tastes. Most large malls have a choice of high-end or more budget friendly establishments each offering their own touch of hospitality to the experience.
Spas in Bangkok offer many different'services including massages, beauty treatments, physiotherapy, and'traditional healing such as acupuncture and reflexology. Some spas also have hot and cold pools, Jacuzzis and other leisure facilities for guests.
Along with complementary hot drinks always provided, many high-end spas also offer other food and drinks;'some even have fully fledged restaurants or shops where visitors can buy healthy and organic food.
With so much choice you'll be sure to find a spa that delivers an experience beyond you wildest dreams, for unbelievably affordable prices, no matter where in the city you're'staying.
The art of Thai massage is thought to have been created over 2,500 years ago by Buddha's personal physician Shivago Komarpaj. Drawing influences from similar'techniques used by Chinese, Indian and South East Asian traditional healers, Thai massage incorporates heavy static and rhythmical pressure with yoga like positions and stretching to loosen the muscle, increase blood circulation and relieve stress in the body.
The practice concentrates on manipulating the body's meridian lines and improving the body's Chi, or energy. The Thais refer to this as 'sen’, meaning vessels, and ‘lom’, meaning air. While there are some'similarities to the Chinese meridian theory, the movements of Thai massages are more akin to the Indian nadir traditions of yoga and Ayurveda.
Thai massage has become extremely popular worldwide, but nowhere is better to experience the stress'relieving healing technique than in its country of origin.
Known as Nuad Pen Thai, or simply Naud Thai, the practice widely spread throughout the country and is officially one of the branches of Thai Traditional Medicine, which is'regulated by the government. For this reason there are many'traditional Thai massage schools offering courses in the practice.
A typical session lasts between 1-2 hours and covers all areas of the body from head to toe. Customers will be asked to change into light cotton clothing, which makes it easy for the masseur to do their work, and parts of the body may be washed down with a warm towel soaked in essential oils.
It's no secret that Thai massages can be rather uncomfortable, if not slightly painful. However, all masseurs know that visitors to the country might not be accustomed to'the feeling, and all will ask if you'd like them to apply less pressure when massaging and stretching the muscles.
Since Thai massages can be a little uncomfortable, in order to get the best out of your session it's important to choose a reputable establishment that has fully qualified masseurs. That way you can be sure that even the parts that might feel a little too much, are still doing good to your body.
With Thai massages and spa sessions being so popular with both tourists and Thai's, it's not surprising that many places also offer massages using techniques popular elsewhere in the world.
While these services are typically reserved for the more upmarket spas, it's possible to find places that offer sessions that are extremely affordable, and delightfully relaxing.
Popular massages usually offered by high-end spas include Swedish massage, Japanese Shiatsu massage, prenatal massage. Many places also offer other healing session sessions such as compressed heat stones treatment, aromatherapy, reflexology and acupuncture.
The majority of massage parlors and spa's offer 30min to 1-hour head and/or foot massages, and some specialize in beauty treatments such as manicures and pedicures. Another popular trend is the fish pedicure, where customers sink their feet into tanks of 'doctor fish’ that then nibble away at the layers of dead skin on the feet and legs leaving the new layers untouched. The practice leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft, and is quite a pleasant experience that can be enjoyed at a fraction of the cost charged in the west.