Plenty of inexpensive Thai massage shops line Chiang Mai’s sois, and we’ve sampled a lot of them. Most of the run-of-the-mill joints offer an hour-long Thai massage for around 150 baht, which is exceptionally cheap. You can bump that price all the way up to several thousand baht for an upscale spa experience (still a good deal). We’ve visited both ends of the spa spectrum, and following are our favorite high-end and budget spa venues. Have your own favorite? Leave a comment on our Facebook page!
For a top-notch experience, head to Oasis Spa. Affordable but luxurious packages include the Oasis Pampering, which, for 2700 baht (or about $95 USD), is an amazing deal. This two and a half hour service consists of a body scrub, which leaves your skin smooth and soft. You get to choose your “flavor” (we went for the Thai coffee scent), which your masseuse spreads across your body in a thick exfoliating layer. The shower is turned on to a perfect temperature for you, and you step in to rinse off. After that, you return to the massage table, where warm and fragrant oil is spread across your body for a long, relaxing massage. Finally, you’re treated to an invigorating facial, and leave the premises looking and feeling revitalized.
Other sessions also include hair treatments, herbal compresses, Thai massage, hot stone massage, Ayuraveda treatments and an herbal steam. You can book all of these individually or as part of a package.
Individual cabanas are available for the ultimate in privacy, and rooms in the main building come with private baths. Perhaps our favorite amenity, however, is the free transportation to and from your massage!
For those watching their budgets, consider Lila Thai Massage, with two branches inside Chiang Mai’s Old City. Massage and other spa treatments come at the same price as regular Thai massage joints, but this place is different: it employs released inmates from the Chiang Mai Women’s Prison. The staff have received 180 hours of training while in prison, and you can tell.
A low-price Thai massage on the street will cost around 150 baht (about $5 USD), and at Lila’s it’s 180 baht (about $6 USD), but Lila’s is consistently top notch. Besides Thai massage, you can get budget foot massages, hot oil massages, and facial treatments, just to name a few. All are of equal or similar prices as any budget Thai massage shop, but in this case you’re supporting women who are restarting their lives. Massage with a good cause – perfect!
While these are our two favorite spas in Chiang Mai, this is by no means a comprehensive list. We look forward to continuing to shop for the massage, and hop that this post has inspired you to do the same!
[Photo credit: Dennis Wong, via Flickr]