Massage has been practiced in Thailand for along time and, thus, Thais have long understood and enjoyed the health benefits and physical pleasures of massage. As Thailand has become a more and more popular tourist destination, Thai massage has become an activity more and more foreigners want to enjoy while visiting Thailand. As a result, the number of establishments offering Thai-style massages has increased significantly in recent years. This has been particularly true in major tourist destinations such as Pattaya.
Today, establishments - ranging from the large and magnificent to the small and obscure - offering massage may be found almost anywhere in Pattaya where there are concentrations of shops, bars, and/or restaurants. They are easily identified by their large English language signs and colorful pictures and diagrams of the human body and feet. Massage services are also offered by almost all medium and large sized hotels. And…massage is even offered on the beach. Thus, those who want a massage should have no difficulty finding somewhere to get one. And, the fact that there are so many massage providers has helped keep prices down. An hour of real, basic, authentic “Thai massage” or foot massage generally costs between 150 and 200 baht, although some “services” can cost a good deal more, and spas and hotels – with their luxurious, comfortable ambiences - charge more.
The explosion in the number of places offering Thai massage and foot massage has not come without drawbacks, however, if for no other reason than it is difficult to select from among the many providers. The biggest problem, however, is that the quality of massage varies greatly from place to place – the ability to do massage correctly requires considerable strength, knowledge and motivation - and the size of the establishment one selects or the certificates and diplomas on the walls are no guarantee of satisfaction. This is why people that find a place or person they like keep going back over and over again. Aside from “word of mouth” recommendations, the best one can do when trying to select a massage provider is to look for an establishment that is clean, has a relaxing and pleasant environment, and offers its customers some degree of privacy – many facilities simply put all customers together in a big room!! When looking at the person who is providing the massage, one should try not to focus too much on factors such as beauty…but more on things such as apparent fitness and general cleanliness.
Among the massages one can get in Pattaya are the following:
Traditional Thai Massage: It begins with a customer reclining on a mat, mattress or raised platform and involves a provider stretching, twisting, and pressuring various parts of a guest’s body. When done correctly, traditional massage is supposed to improve almost all aspects of health…and it feels great, too!! Traditional massage is usually given from one to two hours, although the ideal length is probably about ninety minutes. Prices usually begin at 150 to 200 baht an hour and might be discounted for a longer massage. Prices at “nicer” or more centrally located places can cost more, and services at a large hotel or a spa can be considerably more…The basic Thai massage at the Royal Cliffs Hotel, for example, is 2,000 baht!!! Tips are usually expected…or hoped for.
Reflexology or Foot Massage: The second most frequently requested massage – in many places it has become the most popular massage – is the foot massage, which is also known by the name “reflexology.” It involves applying herbs to, pressuring, pulling, pushing, and stretching various parts of the feet and leg up to the knee. Care providers use special tools or implements to do this. Reflexology is based upon the belief that there are nerves in the feet which connect to other parts of the body, and that by massaging these nerves overall health and specific health problems can be solved or made better. Customers may sit in comfortable chairs but many – probably about 50 percent – find that the experience is painful. Thus, this massage may or may not be suitable for you. Prices for foot massage are generally the same as for traditional massage.
Oil Massages: The next most popular massages among customers – and the most popular among providers - are oil massage and aroma massage, both of which involve covering the body with various good health-inducing oils and then doing the massage. Providers like to do this massage because it is more expensive, usually starting at 300 baht an hour It can also be easy to do, simply involving rubbing oil over a human body! Customers like them, at least in part, because they are more erotic, or can provide the possibility of more erotic activity as it is done with the customer naked and in private. If erotic activity does result in the course of the massage – it is certainly possible – then the provider will expect a tip. Those receiving these massages should be aware that the oils used can be harmful if used improperly. There is also is also always a possibility that the substance being applied to the body is not the correct substance. It is probably a good idea to get an oil or aroma massage at a spa or place with an excellent reputation.
Beach Massage: beach massage is a variation of Traditional Thai Massage done on the beach. It is particularly common at Jomtien Beach, south of Pattaya Beach. The providers – there are about an equal number of male and female providers – wear smart smocks and identification badges. They charge around 300 baht an hour. Although the massages they provide might omit some steps usually included by providers who work indoors, most customers seem very happy with the beach massage experience.
Soapy Massage: this type of “massage” is also known as “full body massage” or Turkish massage.” It is a type of massage – “activity” would be a better word than massage – which promises customers erotic gratification and has been popularized in the media with its pictures of young women sitting behind class walls, in a room called the “fish bowl,” while male customers gaze at them to pick and choose a massage partner. This portrayal is accurate. Customers may sit and observe 20 to 30 ladies, all of who are wearing numbers, in a comfortable setting while having a drink or chatting with friends or other customers After a man has selected a lady and they have gone to a room – a nicely decorated place with a bed and bathtub, and possibly an adjoining bathroom – the lady will give the man a bath, a bath which can be quite pleasurable and physically stimulating. Then, after the bath, the man is supposed to receive a massage – which is often just a few minutes of rubbing - which is usually aimed at physical arousal. Then, they will retire to the bed for intimate pleasures Establishments providing soapy massage are much more difficult to locate than more traditional providers but there are several in Pattaya. The largest concentration is located across the street from Big C in North Pattaya.