| Thai Spas
Real Relaxing Destinations
If you plan to have an unforgettable spa experience in Thailand, you will absolutely come to the right place because our spas have gained popularity for bringing customers total relaxation in tandem with good health. Besides, we are best known for our unrivaled friendly hospitality and remarkable Thai massage. In fact, Thai massage and Thai spas are inseparable, and having a mere glimpse of them before you give them a try is useful and sensible.
People receive a Thai massage to sooth muscular aches and pains, ease sprains, relieve nervous tension and to stimulate blood circulation. Thai massage is sometimes conducted with the application of heated herbal compresses to improve its result.
Generally, traditional Thai massage is divided into royal Thai massage (Nuat Ratchasamnak: นวดราชสำนัก) and folk massage (Nuat Chaloeisak: นวดเชลยศักดิ์). Royal Thai massage was formerly reserved for the King and the royalty. Thus, masseuses must perform their task in a deferential manner and only hands are allowed to be used. Breathing onto the patient's body is considered impolite, so masseuses shouldn't bow their head while giving a royal massage.
Royal massage is a tender massage because masseuses apply less strength to ensure that they don't hurt the patient. In comparison, folk massage is a vigorous one and it is used among the general public. Other parts of the body such as elbows, knees, legs, heels and feet can be used to give a more forceful massage.
Apart from Thai massage, the magnetism of Thai spas is their deliberate styles that match the topography and culture of each region and a great choice of local herbs and other spa components that create a wide selection of Thai spa programmes.
It is difficult to name some of the best spas here since this is a matter of taste and price. Normally, the quality of products, treatment menus and the styles of décor make differences to each place.
In this issue, Thaiways briefly introduces our health conscious readers to the key spa destinations of Thailand by focusing on the characteristics of spas in each region.
Luxury Central Region Spas
Resulting from its wonderful central location, including the Thai capital, the region contains a large number of executive spas. However, the spas in this region range from the luxury hotel spas, which welcome all visitors, to the less extravagant day spas in renovated houses. But the cream of the central region is the medical spas, a new type of spas that has recently risen in the central region especially in Bangkok.
The medical spas provide signature spa menus such as various kinds of massage, herbal steam, body scrubs and hydrotherapy, to relax your body and mind, together with therapeutic programmes and the use of aesthetic technology under the supervision of physicians. Though they may not sound like the real place for absolute relaxation, the medical spas conveniently offer a one-stop service for good health seekers. Examples of therapeutic and aesthetic treatments available in the medical spas are the regular health check-up, high blood pressure and diabetes controls, detoxification, and alternative medicine like yoga, Chinese acupuncture and reflexology, as well as slimming and nutrition management.
Another interesting feature of central region spas is a good range of high-quality homemade products produced from natural and local ingredients. With the harmony of great selections of Thai herbs and their healing properties, Thai spa and beauty products cover from head to toe. They come in all kinds of applications-cleansing, scrubbing, wrapping, masking, massage oil, massage gel and cream, and hair care, to name but a few.
Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, and Chang Island are ideal spa locations in the central region where you can get away from the busy city life and experience a real charm of a relaxing and rejuvenating spa therapy.
Thai Lanna Spas in the North
Apart from the cooler climate and breathtaking mountain scenery, the Lanna style architecture and its exquisite decorative arts such as woven fabrics and wood carving significantly enhance the character of northern spas. In a unique relaxing northern spa ambience, all your five senses will be pampered. The beautiful scenery and Lanna culture always create good first impressions to newcomers. The aromatic smell of native plants floating in a bowl and the soothing essential oil will make you fast asleep. Indigenous herbs, fruits and vegetables are essential ingredients for making you refreshing drinks. The gentle and graceful hand touch together with the tunes of Lanna musical instruments played during the treatment will lull you to a deep rest.
Some of you may want to try traditional northern style massages like "Yam Khang" (ย่ำขาง) and "Tok Sen" (ตอกเส้้น). Both are the fruits of local wisdom that can effectively relieve muscle pains. Yam Khang is a kind of massage which a masseur gives by warming his feet on hot charcoal before pressing them on a client's body, while, in Tok Sen, a therapist prods a wooden stick onto a client's body to clear a blockage in the energy lines.
The "Yam Khang" traditional
northern style massage.
If you want to relax and experience the natural and cultural beauty of the north, the Lanna spas are recommended to you. Although the majority of them are in hotels and resorts in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, you can also find a significant number of spas in other northern provinces like Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Nan.
Green & Pampering Southern Spas
Thai spas in the south are quite distinct from those in other parts of the country. Apart from having the beautiful marine landscape that attracts record numbers of tourists, the southern region offers tourists an authentic Thai spa experience in combination with seaside cultures. Most treatment menus in the southern spas are somewhat tied to the ocean and beach culture. For instance, a treatment may combine healing methods with the use of fresh or dried local ingredients like grated coconut, Phuket pineapple, turmeric and black sesame. Imagine yourself having a stunning body massage in an outdoor pavilion located amidst the warm tropical sunshine and the gentle sound of waves lapping against the seashore. What else could make you feel more relaxing?
For mineral bathing lovers, Ranong province has many natural hot springs to offer which are genuinely suitable for bathing. The water here not only has the property to relieve tension and muscle pains and to regulate blood pressure, but it is also of benefit to the skin. Therefore, most spas in the province adapt the mineral water, which is directly piped from the geysers, to use in their treatment programmes.
The southern region is dotted with all kinds of spa ranging from the hotel and resort ones, which provide luxury treatments in the ultimate spa escape, to the cosy ambience home spas and day spas that offer professional treatments on daily-basis. Phuket, Surat Thani (especially Samui Island) and Krabi are famous southern holiday destinations that offer you a complete relaxing and healthy spa vacation.
Although the characters of Thai spas differ from region to region, they all represent Thainess, an integration of the gentle Thai manner and traditional healing power that can't be found elsewhere. That's why many visitors put a spa visit into their tour programmes. On your trip to Thailand, just find a spa near you, walk in and then enjoy the happiness. No matter where you are in Thailand, you can always find a good spa to unwind.
- Sala Luckshamee Spa, in Bangkok Rama Hotel, Tel: 0 2722 6602 to 10
- Mandara Spa, Tel: 0 2476 0021 ext: 1563
- Banyan Tree Spa, Tel: 0 2679 1052 to 4
- Massage & Spa in Aiyara Palace Hotel,
Tel: 0 3841 6800
- Spa in Loma Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 3842 6027 to 8
- Ravindra Spa,
Tel: 0 3823 5777
- Sukko Cultural Spa and Wellness,
Tel: 0 7626 3222
- The Sense Spa
Tel: 0 7633 3014
- The Merlin Spa in Patong Merlin Hotel,
Tel: 0 7634 0037 to 41
- The Merlin Spa in Merlin Beach Resort,
Tel: 0 7629 4300, 0 7629 4333
- Anchan Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7627 1250 to 1
- Kata Beach Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7633 0530 to 4
- Karon Beach Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7633 0006 to 7
- Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7639 6519 to 23
- Kandaburi Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7742 8888
- Paradise Thai Spa,
Tel: 0 7634 0666
C & N Resort & Spa,
Tel: 0 7634 5949 to 50
- Salathai Spa,
Tel: 0 7629 6631 to 4