Massage in Bangkok
Thailand is justly famous for its massage and Bangkok must be the massage capital of the world. Massage has been practised for centuries in Thailand and has a long history of therapeutic healing. Its roots may be traced to Indian origins some 2,500 years ago. It is said that the founder of the practice was Jivaka Komarabhacca, a doctor and friend of Buddha. The art of massage probably reached China with the monks and sages who travelled the Silk Road. It then spread quickly into all of Eastern Asia. It probably arrived in Thailand with the Hindu Brahmin practitioners who came as courtiers in the royal palaces of Khmer kings. Traditional Thai massage combines Indian, Chinese and Thai methods. The theory of Thai massage is based on the concept of energy lines running through the body. Although 72,000 such lines are said to exist, Thai massage focuses on the ten major lines called "sen". On these lines are found important acupressure points.
The Ancient Art of Traditional Thai Massage
Many places around Bangkok offer traditional Thai massage, and when they have a sign outside in English saying say "No Sex" they usually mean it, although any hanky-panky customers get up to with their masseuse outside hours is their affair. Traditional Thai massage is a wonderful experience. Prices usually start at around B150 per hour. Two hours is the usual minimum, and many people stay for three, four or more hours, often served with food, drinks, cigarettes etc at extra cost. The majority of customers are men, but women are also welcome. The massage is usually given by a masseuse, though masseurs can be found too. You will be given something like pyjamas to change into. The massage starts at your feet and ends at your head. The usual tip for the masseuse (given at the main door as you leave) is something like Bt100.
Traditional Thai body massage can be found all over town, in massage parlours, in hotels, at Wat Pho (the center for Thai massage instruction) and particularly along Surawong Road. Today, foot massage is increasingly popular. Here are a few selected massage parlours offering traditional Thai massage:
- Hattip Massage: 126/84-92 Soi Phaholyothin 32, Phaholyotin Rd, Ladprao, Chatuchak. Tel: 02 941 8065
- New World Point: Soi 2 Samsane Road (near Nana Market). Tel: 02 281 2657
- Asia Sauna: 365/15-16 Soi Phayanak (near Asia Hotel), Phayathai Road. Tel: 02 214 1623
- Hudtakij 2: 1/775-6 Garden Home Shopping Plaza, Pahonyothin Road. Tel: 02 532 3657
Many massage parlours offer Turkish massage or ab ob nuad, literally translated as "bathe, bake, massage". Prices for an hour of massage, with or without additional services, start at around B1,500 and go on up to around B4,000. Big-name Turkish massage parlours are dense around Petchburi Road, Huay Kwang, Rama 9 and Pinklao. Here is a small selection:
- Cleopatra: Asoke-Dindaeng Road, Bangkok. Tel: 02 246 6680
- Darling: Sukhumwit Soi 12, Sukhumwit Road. Tel: 02 229 4562
- Victorias Secret: 555 Soi Sunvijai, Rama 9 Road. Tel: 02 318 8370
As in any capital city, male/female escort services and room-service massage are advertised in the local Yellow Pages. Prices are more akin to international prices.