A Thai massage is a must-do on any trip to the Land of Smiles. Chiang Mai has got a great and growing selection of places to get your relaxation on. That said, go get yourself a massage in Chiang Mai when you’ve got an hour to spare!
Chiang Mai is a great place to try a Thai massage. A city of forward-thinking dynamism mixed with traditional culture, it’s the best of both worlds and there’s a great selection of massage places that reflect this eclectic mix.
Massages in Thailand are so cheap compared to the western world that you can afford to try a bunch of different styles and techniques while you’re here. Here’s our run-down of the best places to grab a relaxing massage in Chiang Mai.
Types of Thai Massages
When you’re choosing a place for a massage you first need to decide what kind of massage you’d like. Thai massage is famous the world over, but don’t think it’s a relaxing western-style experience- this is more like a sports massage in the West, with plenty of physical manipulation! If this sounds a bit challenging then go for an oil massage, which is a much more familiar (and potentially less painful!) option for visitors.
Many places in Chiang Mai also offer traditional massage techniques using bamboo canes, herbal compresses and the Lanna speciality of Tok Sen wooden stucks and hammers. That last one is a real experience!
Recommended for a Traditional Experience
For a highly recommended traditional Thai massage, head to Lila Thai Massage 5th (37 Ratchavithi Rd., Mueang Chiang Mai). It’s clean and quiet and there are well-trained massage therapists working all day. If you want a hard, physical massage then check out Zabai Thai massage (1/8 Tha Pae Soi 1, Mueang Chiang Mai) who will give you a great workout as they smooth out those knots and tensions spots.
Recommended for a Relaxation Session
Green Bamboo Massage (1 Moon Muang Soi 1, 50200 Chiang Mai) is a good place to head for an oil massage. They offer a full range of treatments, including standard oil, head and foot and herbal compresses as well as post-trekking packages if you’re feeling weary after a trip to the hills.
Kiriya Spa Vana (47/14 Samlan Rd, south-west Old City 50100) is recommended for an incredible deep tissue oil massage. It’s deep enough to be effective but doesn’t tip over the edge into being painful. The atmosphere is peaceful and the music calming.
Recommended for an Unusual Massage
Nimman House (59/8 Nimmanhaemin Rd, Nimman) does scented wraps, reflexology and facials using local herbs. They’re more than happy to customize their treatments to your specific requirements if you ask them at the start.
Fah Lanna Spa in the old town (57/1 Wiang Kaew Road, Chiang Mai 50100) specializes in Tok Sen Lanna massage. Your masseur will use a wooden hammer to hit on a specially shaped wooden nail to work the tension out of your muscles. It’s a strange, but very pleasant, sensation!
How much will it all cost?
As with everything, you get what you pay for! If you choose a standard Thai massage for an hour in a normal salon then you can expect to pay 250 baht ($7.50) in Chiang Mai. If you want a full herbal body wrap with facial steam and face pack then you’ll be forking out upwards of 600 baht ($18), but it’s often worth it! Shop around and choose a salon with an atmosphere you like the feel of. With so much choice all across the city it’s hard to go wrong.