Massages, Chiang Mai
Thai massages are a good way to relax after walking all day in the sweltering heat. There are places that offer massages throughout the city. If you want a real massage by someone that has been trained, you can either go to a spa or a small business.
I had multiple massages in Thailand. Some of the best were in Chiang Mail. Here is my guide to getting a legitimate massage in Thailand.
1. GO TO A SPA. (MORE EXPENSIVE RANGING FROM 400-2,000 BHAT
2. GO TO MASSAGE SCHOOL. (GOOD MASSAGES AND CHEAP)
3. WALK AROUND AND FIND A HOLE IN THE WALL. IF THE MASSAGE THERAPISTS ARE TRAINED AND LICENSED THEY WILL HAVE THEIR PICTURES POSTED ON THE INSIDE OF BUSINESS. USUALLY THESE START AT 150 BHAT WITH OPTIONS FOR AN HERBAL MASSAGE, ETC.
I mostly utilized the hole in the wall, taking my chances. I never had a bad massage but some are better than others.
Thailand is famous for its unique brand of massage, which involves a lot of stretching and is done oil-free.
I really enjoy a good Thai massage and of course didn't pass up the opportunity while I was in Chiang Mai.
Massages are readily available, from full blown spas to dingy little shops. Shop around for the best rates, but typically a 1-hour massage can be had for about THB200, which is roughly USD7. Spa resorts will typically cream you off for about 50-100% more, but of course the ambience and "professionalism" will be different.
Be careful of massage parlours which are really offering "additional" services for men.
For an hours massage in most massage joints it will cost around 150 baht.
For the full oil massage it will cost 250 baht.
When getting the full oil massage you will have to strip to your underwear which can be embarressing if not expected.
It is great to receive a Thai Massage. Not all places are good, though. I recommend Lek Chaiya's place. It is a bit more expensive, but the people who work there are good therapists. It is also recommended to take a course in Thai Massage in Old Medicine Hospital (lasts 2 weeks). I took this course, and it was a great experience.
Within the Night Bazaar, there are many places where you can go for a refreshing and therapeutic massage. I have tried a few and found the ones given by the experienced old ladies at Kwanjira the absolute best!
While most eastblishments charges 200 baht per hour for the most common massage such as foot reflexology, or head, shoulder and back massages, Kwanjira only charges 50 baht per half hour. I recommend half an hour of head, arm, and back massages followed by another half an hour of foot massage. It's pure bliss.
Kwanjira, unlike most other establishments, is not fancy or even modern looking. It is also situated in "The Peak", which was a rather quiet portion of the Night Bazaar.
After the massage session, you may want to tip your therapist. After all, they are charging only half of what other charges, but can provide a massage that is more than twice as good.
After pounding pavement throughout the city-there is nothing nicer than going for some foot reflexology or foot massage. It is heaven. You can also go for a Thai massage. There are lots of spas around town. For a short massage or foot reflexology- i recommend just walking into one of the shops around the street. At the sunday market-you can even get reflexology on the street. Very relaxing.
If you have some spare time don´t miss out on a thai massage. These places are all over chiang mai. We needed to make an appointment but i´m not sure if it´s like that with all of them. I´d recommend a check before you get your massage since i´ve been to one that didn´t look clean to me.
For western standards you pay an amount not worth mentioning i believe. A two hour oil and original thai massage is a wonderful thing, but í woulnd´t recommend having it early or at any time of the day that is not close to sleeping time. I`ve been very tired afterwards but it also felt sooo good.
While you`re in Thailand, be sure to get yourself a Thai Massage. After trekking in the hills or shopping, it`s a great relaxer.
You can get a great massage for about US$5. Even if you are one a tight budget, this is cheap enough to have one everyday.
it's always a good excuse to have a good treat to your feet and rest a bit after a long walk in the night market. there are several foot massage shops in the market place. it's clean and tidy.
Don't forget to try a foot or a body massage.
But you can also go to the hairdresser, it's cheap, extremely well done and you'll like silly like me !! ;-)