In my 12 years of travelling to the Land of Smiles I have only ever visited a Thai massage parlour once before. I’ll correct that. Once for a Thai massage with the intention of curing my aches and pains. In my early years in Pattaya there were a few other visits to such establishments but let’s just say boys will be boys.
That first and only truly intentional visit was to a Thai massage parlour in Soi Buakhao, Pattaya. I’d left England’s shores nursing a painful back complaint and the 12 hour flight had made it worse. After a few days partying in Thailand’s wild-child resort my back’s condition had deteriorated. I decided the only remedy was a traditional Thai massage.
I had entered the Soi Buakhao massage parlour knowing only too well that bed springs were replaced as often as aromatic oils. I selected my intended masseur and accompanied her to an upstairs room where I explained my condition and the painful position I was in. Then she explained her position, she didn’t know how to massage and liked being on top, although she could do doggie and ‘mission-hairy’ too. For the record, one hour later I hit the streets of Soi Buakhao with my back even worse for wear.
I arrived in Thailand this time with my back none too good and despite Wonderful Wi’s efforts at our village home to knead the nerd back to health, it was looking like it would be a slow process. She kept hinting I should go to Ban Dung, a small town 30 kilometres from our village home, for a proper Thai massage. Hints grew to badgering and finally I gave in.
When Wilai and I visit Ban Dung she goes for a two hour massage and I hit a beer bar or two. This time I’d be joining her, but I had decided 30 minutes of inactivity would be the most I could take. I am a bit of a nervous fidget, and besides, Pattaya had made me very sceptical about Thai massage parlours despite Wilai continually trumpeting their benefits. How wrong I was.
Ban Dung’s massage shop made full use of its yardage. There were six single size mattresses laid along the length of the premises and luckily there were two available when we arrived. The atmosphere within was one of banter and joviality between the massage ladies and their clients. I’m sure I heard ‘farang’ whispered a few times, quickly followed by muffled laughter. My massage was so relaxing I twice fell asleep only to quickly snap back to reality as my masseur continued to work her magic.
My massage experience in Bang Dung changed my views on one of Thailand’s oldest practices and finally buried the bad vibes caused by my Pattaya one. And now my back is so much better.
A 30 minute massage cost me just 50 baht and Wilai’s two-hour session 200 baht. A total of five English pounds or eight US dollars, once again proving what a great value holiday destination Thailand is if you are prepared to sample life outside of the tourist brochure resorts.
How about you, have the likes of Pattaya and Bangkok’s sex massage parlours rubbed you up the wrong way and you now steer clear of a Thai massage, or have you found the more traditional style massage houses give you the right kind of relief. A relief to your body, and your wallet too.
I’m now hooked.
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