Maybe it’s because they are so cheap. Okay, maybe it’s because you feel so amazing after. Or maybe it’s because that’s just what you do while living in Thailand. Whatever the reason, you just have to get at least one Thai massage in your life.
Oh Thailand. As if we needed one more reason to come and visit! $1 fresh fruit smoothies, white sand beaches that are so incredibly beautiful they look fake, adorably cute kids and pictures with elephants?? I mean, come on! If these aren’t enough reasons to visit this country I’ll give you one more: Cheap massages. We are talking really cheap here, like $5 an hour.
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Laura C. (an ILP Thailand volunteer) gives us the low down: here’s what you need to know—
- What Should I Expect?
- How Much Does It Cost?
- But What If I’m Ticklish?
- Where Can I Get One?
What Should I Expect?
Technically there are a few types of massages you can get in Thailand and you’ll want to know what you are getting yourself into before you go. (You might also want to check out these other things to know before going to Thailand.) You can opt for the traditional Thai massage or the “head, neck, shoulders” massage, a foot massage or an “oil” massage. When it comes to the Thai massage, they are pretty intense but more traditional and you feel sooooo loose after.
Here’s a basic idea of what you can expect for a two hour Thai massage:
“Don't be expecting a normal ‘American’ massage you can get back at home because it's not. I would describe a Thai massage more as a deep body stretch mostly. They give you a pair of clothes to change into (nice over sized pants and button up shirt). They spend the first thirty minutes of the massage just on one leg. ONE LEG for thirty minutes. Then thirty minutes on the next leg. These ladies use every part of their body (elbows, knees, feet, you name it) to massage all the knots in your leg you didn't even know existed.
"After always being on your feet from teaching English and the nonstop vacations, you realize how tight your body is. Somethings they do hurt, I'll be honest and you're screaming inside your head but keep breathing, after they are done you will feel so loose and relaxed!”
If that’s not your thing (or you want something a little more mellow), opt for another type of massage. A basic foot massage, or the “head, neck, shoulders” means a massage so relaxing you might just fall asleep!
How Much Does It Cost?
It’ll vary from place to place and tourist cities are of course more expensive than the city you live in as ILP volunteers. In your home town, you'll find prices around $5-6 dollars per hour.
Here’s what Laura had to say: “I think for the price itself it's completely worth it! You could NEVER get a massage for two hours for that price in America. It is something everyone needs to experience while you are here. The ladies where hilarious, making us laugh more than we already were during the whole thing. We even got ginger tea and cute little bananas afterwards.
But What If I’m Ticklish?
“For all you ticklish people, still go. I'm completely ticklish on my feet and did just fine! Laughed every time she touched my feet but made it through. Just remember to relax during the massage and enjoy it! Bring a friend and laugh through the whole thing like my ILP group did… it's a lot more fun!”
Where Can I Get One?
Pretty much all over Thailand! You will be glad there’s one right around the corner from your school (Laura says if you're in Phichit to go to the one with the blue sign across from the gas station…you pass it on your way to Tesco. That place is “the best”).
In the Phi Phi islands (don’t miss this view) so you can relax after a day of … well, relaxing, and in there are tons in Bangkok. They really are all over which is good news — one massage is not going to be enough.
If you're looking for one in the city you live in, just check your Area Book (your ILP Head Teacher has it and it's basically recommendations from past groups) or ask your Local Coordinator for their favorite local spot.
Wondering who your Head Teacher is or what a Local Coordinator does? Get all those questions answered with that link.
Need more ideas on what to do in Thailand?
We’ve got you covered — check out our ILP blog for about things to do, places to see and tips for travelers for this country.
Need more info or a question on volunteering? Talk to one of our representatives by clicking that button right there! International Language Programs has been sending college-aged volunteers to Thailand for years and we'd love to help you figure out how you can live in paradise, too!