Massage in the Mango
Bangkok Massage Zones
Bangkok's a big place and there many areas for massage, below are just a few of them...
The Chinatown massage scene is hard to find, you'll blink if you miss the turn-off for one popular massage parlor and it's not for the faint-hearted either...
This is shoppers haven see's even the massage shops have the same upmarket attitude. They are focused in one area near Miss Puke.
This is a premium nightlife are by night but by day there are massage parlors and shops spread about along Surawong Road, Bangkok.
This part of Bangkok stretches from west to east in the city like a long corridor with a maze of soi's and alleys.
The Thai massage is often considered a 'must-do' part of any stay in Thailand.
It is an ancient art that was and still is popular in the Orient. In Thailand it was written down at Wat Po in Bangkok where, to this day, those ancient teachings are still taught.
Bangkok, being the capital city of Thailand has the most massage shops, parlors and massage entertainment complexes in the country. Most masseuses are female Thai ladies however a small number tend to be men also.
The actual nature of massage is a much debated subject in some circles. It arguably originated in Asia, some say China where it spread to Japan and elsewhere. Others point to India where it is mentioned in the Vedic texts.
Some of the over-conservative websites out there advise you to be a puritan and avoid any massage shop that doesn't seem super-clean or like a health spa. We would advise the curious traveler to go where they feel is the best massage shop or parlor they feel comfortable with.
Massage in Thailand
Thai Massage: This type of massage manipulates the joints, muscles and nerve-points all over the body using the fingertips and thumbs.
You are advised not to eat a meal immediately prior to a massage, some masseuse' will often ask you this beforehand.
There are a variety of massage types other than Thai body massage available in Thailand. These are listed below:
Oil Massage: The more 'pleasant' and relaxing type of massage using lotions and massage oil. Here the swedish-style kneading and pressing of the flesh and muscle is done instead.
Head Massage: This is usually available in hair-dressers and massage shops. The scalp is rubbed and manipulated. In the hands of an expert this can 'cure' headaches, migraines and general malaise. It is generally a soothing and relaxing experience.
Foot Massage: You see these places throughout Thailand. The multi-colored feet symbol with various areas of the foot highlighted are all over the place. You can also usually see a throng of tourists having this done to them. The basis for the foot massage is that it can show where illness is in the body via 'hard' spots or 'crystals', these then being rubbed and massaged can be 'cured' by breaking them down.
Any others you might see: Gel, lotion, salve are usually an oil massage with a different substance rubbed into the skin, this typically is claimed to have 'superior' qualities than oil massage does.
In Bangkok (and Thailand in general) you have 5 massage styles:
Massage Shops - These tend to be non-private places for foot massage, head massage and thai massage. A thin linen sheet is usually all that divides you from another customer being massage next to you. You tend to see these everywhere in Bangkok with people being massaged though clear glass fronted windows.
Massage Parlors - The more private massage shop with a reception area and proper rooms all of the above massage types are offered as well as oil massage. Aroma massage is often available here (a more expensive version of the oil massage).
Massage Spa's - Taking the parlors to a new level the surroundings and sensual nature of the massage is refined into an art form. At least that is the goal of the Massage Spa. The ladies who tend to perform massage at a spa may be slightly older than other massage girls, this due to being more experienced and (some say) more skillful in massage.
Massage Entertainment Complexes - See the Nightlife section for more on this.
Hotel Massage - Usually the mid to high range of hotels have a resident massage work-force that is on-call most hours of the day. The more budget hotels have a hotline through to a nearby massage shop or parlor for an in-room massage. The prices are usually about the same as a massage shop, however the more expensive the hotel you stay in may affect prices slightly.