Confessions of a Thai Massage Addict

Hi, my name is Aaron and I have a problem. A whole day went by and I was having withdrawal symptoms… Nobody was poking and prodding my body! I didn’t know what to do! Why, oh why, did I doddle in the shower instead of getting an earlier start. Now I had no time for my not-so-newfound addiction. What on earth would I do without yet another hour-long session of being poked, prodded and stretched??

My addiction is a strange one. Some would call it torture. Others would scream with pain. To me? It’s zen.  The bending. The pressing. That distinctly Thai nature. I love putting on those fisherman’s pants, laying down and letting them put me into those strange, yoga-like patterns. I love the pressure points, as they inch ever closer to my crotch. But this isn’t one of those massages. I prefer the classy joints.

Thai massage, you are a devil. Why must you be so ungodly cheap in Thailand, costing a mere 300 THB (about US$9.50) for an hour-long session and so ungodly expensive in NYC (about US$80 for an hour)? It’s just cruel and unusual punishment that I’m now priced out of what has quickly become a daily ritual for me. No kidding…In my 5 days in Bangkok I got 3 full body Thai massages and 1 foot massage. See? Addict!

On my last visit to Bangkok in 2010 (when the city was besieged by “red shirt” protesters) I had 3 full body Thai massages in a mere 4 days! Glad I was able to keep up that tradition this time around, cuz…well…you know… Gotta keep that record going! And I’m already scheming away at how I can get back to that Great City of Angels (literally, that’s what “Krungthep Mahanakon,” the beginning of the incredibly long Thai name for Bangkok, means).

I love walking around trying the different massage parlors, for this time around I noticed that the techniques vary slightly. “OMG you need a pedicure,” exclaimed my first masseuse when she saw my feet. She was a bit too rough and the movements she made were a bit painful (or was I just out of shape?). I was disappointed, but I knew how epic those amazing Thai massages could be when done right.

When my late-night massage searching came up fruitless, as most reputable places closed by midnight, I found one that was open till 1am. All female staff, ok, not unusual. Uniforms? Check! This had to be legit. And it was! She gave me a wonderful massage, with a nice, extra, not-so-traditional head massage as well.

But I couldn’t possible leave Bangkok without visiting the “Grand Poobah” of Thai Massage places…the traditional Thai massage school at Wat Pho. You know…that place with the really famous reclining Buddha? Here I’ll throw in a photo to jog your memory….

Wat Pho Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho’s famous Reclining Buddha image

Yes, there’s a short wait (5 minutes in my case). And yes, it’s a bit more expensive than you’d get on the street. Sure, there’s no privacy here as it’s just a room full of beds of people getting massaged with no dividers between them. But it is AWESOME!

And, just think, when you finish with that massage, you can step into a zen-like state by wandering the grounds and admiring the incredible work throughout the huge temple complex.

Artwork at Wat Pho

The grounds of Wat Pho are filled with many sculptures and beautifully adorned stupas.

Oh, how I miss you Wat Pho. And, oh, how I miss you Bangkok! You’ll always hold a special place in my heart (and not just because I saw my parents get married there or experienced a coup there). Sure, you’re a wonderfully vibrant city, but those massages! Oooooh those massages!

So, if you need me, I’ll be over here in my little corner going slowly mad about the lack of a daily massage in my life! GAH!

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6 Responses to Confessions of a Thai Massage Addict

  1. Maria January 28, 2014 at 6:45 am #

    Massage – Ahhh! The best – you may not realize just how much you need one, until it’s done and then there’s no turning back… you’re addicted.

    • Aaron January 31, 2014 at 2:28 am #

      I will openly admit that I am a real sucker for a massage. But there’s something about those Thai massages and all the weird poses they put you in that I just can’t seem to get enough of! I wonder if this some subtle message that I should move to Thailand…. hmmm…..

  2. Miles April 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Just got one today on Koh Samui! Totally with you on this one Aaron, it’s one of the great parts of Thailand. Glad to hear you also found the Wat Pho school too!

    • Aaron April 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

      I might as well have a massage membership at the Wat Pho school I’ve been there so many times…. I have the added bonus of having spent a semester of college in Thailand so I got to enjoy massages on a regular basis. Ah, how I miss that!

  3. Nick @ theboywander May 17, 2014 at 12:06 am #

    I just booked my flights to Bangkok last night! Wat Pho here I come. On the other hand I had a terrible massage yesterday in India (maybe that’s why I immediately booked flights to Thailand after haha)

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