What do you do when you’re in Thailand? Get a Thai massage!
Thailand was awesome. Since everything was pretty affordable, we were able to treat ourselves to two massages during our five-day visit.
Massage the first
Our first massage was taken after the five-hour morning Thai wedding. The ceremony concluded a bit before noon, so we had a lot of time before the dinner banquet in the evening. After some lunch at CentralWorld in Bangkok, we took a quick ride on Bangkok’s metro to a place called Urban Retreat near the Asok stop.
The prices were printed right outside the train station. It was written in English, so we were probably getting the tourist prices. Still at a pretty good price.
Graciously refusing the bikini wax for this session, we paid for the service up front, then the guys & the girls were separated. We were ushered to the back rooms to first have our feet washed. Me, my bro & our friend Angelo shared the same room, where we changed into these loose-fitting pajamas (photo at the top of the post) & were worked by Thai masseuse ladies.
If you’ve ever had a massage & remember it being a relaxing time, Thai massages may be different. It requires a lot of interaction with your masseuse & will not be afraid to go past your pain threshold. People who love really deep tissue massages would love a Thai one.
These massage mats are placed on the ground for a reason: the masseuse shares the same space with you. When they position themselves for a maneuver, it sometimes requires their whole leg & even their own bodies. For example, this massage ended when my masseuse had me sit up, where then she wrapped her body around mine, the used her torso & arms to twist my body in a way my back has never been bent.
Massage the second
After all the wedding festivities, the next day, we drove out to the resort part of Thailand to relaxing Rayong & touristy Pattaya. After a bit of light sightseeing & lunch eating, we were treated to another massage at the uncostly Thai Massage Center. This one has a funny story.
For 100 baht, we bought ourselves a two-hour massage. Why so cheap? This business’s overhead may be low because they pretty much run massages out of a huge warehouse in what seemed like a a training school for masseuses.
In the case of our group — about 20 of us total — we all shared this really long room, with floor mattresses lined up along each wall lengthwise. At the foot of each mattress is a bucket of ice-cold water to clean our feet & each pair of beds are paired off by a curtain you draw so you can change into those loose-fitting pajamas. Thankfully, everyone in our party came in pairs & we all knew each other. Our friend Kana sported the pajamas best:
You draw the curtain, get dressed, undraw the curtain. The masseuses wash & dry your feet, ask you to lie down, then they get to work. Since these two rows of massage stalls face each other, you can possibly watch your buddy across the aisle get their massages, but since you’re lying down either face up looking at the ceiling or face down into your pillow most of the time, you can only hear your ticklish friends giggle at the touch of these massage pros.
Since I was the first one in the room, I positioned myself at the very far end of the room, right underneath the air conditioning unit. I found it odd that none of the masseuses wanted to massage me, but I found out that it was because I was positioned in the warmest part of the room (outside of air-conditioned rooms, Thailand is hot). When a masseuse finally chose to work with me me, she did it on the condition that we moved to a cooler part of the room. I said it wasn’t a problem, so I bid my wife a temporary adieu & moved to the isolated opposite corner of this long room to finally get my massage.
Thai massages aren’t necessarily relaxing endeavors. In between the really rough scraping down of my shins & jabs at really sensitive parts of my lower back, my masseuse kept me awake by trying to converse with me, despite the language barrier. At one point, she says something to me in Thai, then points to her ring finger. I finally understood what she meant, so I responded in English that yes, I was married. I pointed toward the direction of my old position in the room to where my wife is relaxing. She then proceeds to be playful with me & starts tickling me under my arms. What the heck.
After the 90-minute mark, after the worked pretty much the whole body, they start doing the crazy stuff where they start doing these convoluted positions to bend joints that never have moved that way before. Since everyone started at pretty much the same time, when one person was instructed to sit up, soon enough, everyone is also doing the same. Since I had to start so late, I was a bit delayed in the rotation.
I’m laying on my back, my masseuse positions herself behind me at the head of the mattress & lifts my shoulders up to gesture to sit up. Luke, my friend & the newlywed husband asks out loud:
“Why isn’t Ian wearing a shirt?”
I put on my glasses & notice that everyone is still fully clothed.
Apparently, midway through the session, while my masseuse was working on my back, she would rub down my shoulders & my loose-fitted shirt kept shifting over my head. I wasn’t sure if that was a gesture for me to remove the shirt, so I just did it anyway.
Anyway, now everyone in the group will never live down that massage. At least I have a funny story to tell.