You will often hear a chorus of women offer you ‘Thaimah-ssagge’ as you walk down any street. These are not in anyway sleazy, unless the girls are all about 18 years old, wearing micro mini skirts and the shop has a blacked out window with a lit up heart in the middle of it.

There are a gazillion massage places in Thailand, and it is seen as a normal part of healthful living.  All masseuses have a slightly different technique, and some are better trained than others. Chose your massage place by how many locals are in them and how old the masseuses look.  Generally it’s the older women who have the most experience.

There will be large sign boards with the lists and prices in front of the shop.  Quite often the better ones will have nice chairs, and the woman will have matching uniforms.  They are normally one hour, but you can also find 30 min to 2 hour massages.

The main types of massage are:

Thai massage: Lots of pressing, twisting and kneading, where you are normally given a loose fitting outfit to wear and taken to a curtained closed off area.  Often called Yoga for lazy people.

Oil massage: more stretching and rubbing the full length of the muscle.  These can be quite painful, unless you ask for a light massage.  You will have a sarong which they move around to access your limbs, and will be done in a curtained off area.

Foot massage:  This should start with a foot wash, lots of work on the sole, and toes; leading up to knees and sometimes thighs.  Some will include a short head or shoulder massage.  These will be done in the chairs you will see through the shop window.

They will also offer hand, shoulder, and neck & back, head, and hot compress massage.


If you have a problem with an ankle or shoulder, tell the masseuse before you start.  She may leave it alone, but if she goes for it and you feel okay about it, let her.  The older ones have a lot of experience in working out pain and knots.  It will feel better for it from what I have witnessed.  *I have to emphasize, only if you feel comfortable with it, as I don’t want any lawsuits where someone says, you told me to let the masseuse work on my leg and now I have to get it removed.