Sophie tries new things: Thai massage in Bangkok

2016-12-20T15:39:28+00:0018 May 2016|Thailand|

As this post goes to publish, I’m off on an interesting adventure, about to visit a French ghost town in the mountains of Cambodia. And I’ve been warned wifi is sketchy, at best. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d start a new series here on Sophie’s World, as sporadic as all the rest, but there you are. I’ve decided to take on a new challenge, you see. It’s all about saying yes. Saying yes to… if not everything, at least much more than I normally do. Unless it sounds too excruciatingly boring. So here goes: the first installment in the new series Sophie tries new things. Subtitle: Thai massage.

Thai massage Bangkok

Healthland is a spa and massage centre with nine branches around Bangkok. Chavy, a young Thai, tells me that when he wants to spoil himself, he does one of two things: mum or massage. Mum means home cooking. Younger generation city-dwelling Thais no longer know how to cook, he says. In fact, it’s quite common for city apartments to not even have a kitchen. Meals are street food: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Naturally, going home to mum is a special treat.

The other way he spoils himself is by indulging in a massage.

There are plenty of Thai massage studios in my hometown. I’ve been curious, but also a little apprehensive, to be honest. Some of these studios (in Norway at least) have been known to double as a different kind of business, one that I’d feel a bit awkward stumbling into unknowingly.

As we pull up in front of the Sathorn branch of Healthland, I’m reminded that I have a choice of a full body massage or a foot massage. Curiosity gets the better of me, so full body it is. Along with five other equally uncertain brave Nordic bloggers, I’m directed through dimly illuminated corridors and up candle-lit stairs, into a room where six mattresses are lined up on an elevated platform. We’re told to dress down to our knickers and put on the wrap-around tops and loose trousers we’re given.


What follows is 1 hour and 15 minutes of alternate pleasure and pain. Though I must say, pleasure is the prevailing sensation – a stretchy sort of pleasure. My masseuse is small but by no means scrawny. She’s athletic, muscular, strong – and reminds me most of all of the physical therapists at my local gym. Very reassuring.

Fingertips, hands, elbows (ow!), feet, thighs; it feels as if she is using her entire body as a tool. She squeezes, kneads, pokes, punches, rubs. I’m bent and twisted and stretched in every conceivable direction – and some which were until now quite inconceivable. I’m very glad I have flexible hips. A bit worse in the arms and shoulders, I soon learn. She obviously notices, too, and gives that area an enthusiastic workout.

After an hour or so, I’m left to recuperate rest for a bit while she goes off into an adjoining room with the other masseuses. They chat and giggle, and we’re all a bit paranoid. Are they talking about us? Nah, probably not. We’re not that interesting. Or unusual. Or weird. Or are we?

Then she’s back, now wearing a face mask. Ominous? No, as it turns out. She sits back against the wall, puts a pillow on her lap and directs me to lie down on my back. She then leans over my face (not uncomfortably close), reaches underneath my upper back and goes to work on my shoulders and neck and head from that direction. It’s surprisingly pleasant.


Before I know it, the session is up. And here I was, about to fall asleep!
I’m curious how I’ll feel tomorrow. Beat up – or deliciously supple? I’ll let you know.

Have you ever had Thai massage? Would you like to?

Disclosure: I’m in Bangkok as a guest of TAT, the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Every bit of pleasure and pain, every thought and opinion, are mine, all mine. As ever.

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  1. Sanna Rosell 23 May 2016 at 2014 - Reply

    What an #amazing story about our thai massage experience! Pain and/or pleasure – that’s just right! Hope you had a good feeling day after.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 May 2016 at 2008 - Reply

      I did! Luckily 🙂

  2. Indrani 24 May 2016 at 1620 - Reply

    Indian Ayurveda massages are equally good. I have had them. I can imagine Thai massages will be equally good. Have you tried out fish spa? Do take it if you get the opportunity there!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 May 2016 at 2007 - Reply

      Ooh, will try Ayurveda massage then. I tried fish spa in Costa Brava a few years ago. Very tickly 🙂

  3. brad 27 May 2016 at 0904 - Reply

    I have a question? When you get a massage in Bangkok, do you undress yourself, because here in our place, we do it for better experience. Just askin.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 May 2016 at 2104 - Reply

      We did undress, and then put on the loose clothes we were given.

  4. budget jan 27 May 2016 at 1341 - Reply

    I bet you felt wonderful afterward. I might be a little worried during the massage in case it hurt too much, but afterwards I feel so relaxed. Why was the masseuse wearing a mask? What kind of mask was it?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 May 2016 at 2008 - Reply

      Yes, it did feel great afterwards. Felt very limber.
      It was the kind of surgical mask that you often see Asians wear. It’s a courtesy, as I understand it. As she was bending her head closer to my face in this part of the massage, it was probably to protect me from her germs – and maybe vice versa.

      • budget jan 30 May 2016 at 0004 - Reply

        Oh yes, I know what you mean. I am relieved, I was envisaging a different kind of mask – like a dress up lol.

        • Anne-Sophie Redisch 30 May 2016 at 0843 - Reply

          Lol! Can you imagine a wolf mask, say… Spooky. And intriguing.

  5. Nancie 28 May 2016 at 2333 - Reply

    Hi Sophie. I’m glad that you enjoyed your experience. I actually don’t like Thai massage. I find the stretching is often just painful. However, I love a good oil massage, and indulge every second or third day when I’m in Thailand. I also never pass up a good foot massage. Have fun in Thailand, or I guess that’s Cambodia by now! Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 May 2016 at 2013 - Reply

      I think I like them all. 🙂

  6. Bahtiyar 11 October 2016 at 1508 - Reply

    Hello, Anne-Sophie. Thanks for a great post. Thai massage is definitely the best massage in the world. When people hear word “Thailand”, the first association in their mind is Thai massage. I hope you truly liked it.
    Thanks a lot!

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