Hidden Gems: The Two Hour Thai Foot Massage

Many visitors to Asia, at one time or another, try out a massage.  From country to country, the modality varies slightly, but all retain the common “pain” factor thanks to the freakishly strong fingers of otherwise seemingly small and dainty women.  Massages in Asia are designed to work out knots, take you all apart and put you back together in better alignment, figuratively speaking!  These are not hour-long oases of incense and ocean-sound ambient music as we in “the West” are used to, mostly in the form of the Swedish Massage; these are scream inducing body therapies.  Quite popular with hesitant tourists is the foot massage, which provides the chance to experience Thai massage without having someone walking on your spine.

Thai foot massage

The 2-hour Foot Massage in Thailand

Any market – morning or evening – will have at least one row of chairs set out for the purpose of massage.  It makes sense: after a hard few hours shopping there is nothing better than a cool drink, a comfortable chair and a luxurious foot massage to revive those feet for the evenings shenanigans.  And, indeed, any market might do.  However, there is one secret spot in Chiang Mai where the armchairs are large, the therapists are excellent and the ambience is guaranteed to have you drifting off to sleep in 30 minutes or less.

I speak of Thai Massage in the basement floor of Kad Suan Keaw Mall in Chiang Mai.  Sitting quite innocently on the edge of the food court, there is not much to set this place apart from any other massage storefront you might pass by.  Excepting, that is, for the troves of Thai patrons.  You see, there are two types of massage in Thailand: the one for the locals and the one for the tourists.  Tourists are generally treated to a more gentle therapy and sometimes the price is higher.  Locals tend to avoid these places, opting instead for a no-nonsense establishment.

Thai Massage in Kad Suan Keaw specializes in the foot massage, offering up to two hours.  They also have some capacity for full body and head and neck massage, but the majority of the interior is taken up with the aforementioned reclining armchairs.  A friend and I used to share a ritual of treating ourselves to the full two-hour experience.  We would sit down and commence gossiping, our words becoming more and more slurred until we eventually dropped into a blissful slumber.  Then float over to the food court for a Subway Sandwich (a real delicacy!).

I cannot tell you what it is exactly about a two-hour foot massage that is so magical.  I can tell you the place to go and find out what the fuss is all about though!  Visit basement level, Kad Suan Keaw Mall, the purple fronted store on the edge of the food court.  Don’t thank me, just pay it forward!

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About Mary Llewellyn

Mary Llewellyn is of Irish citizenship and spent four years traversing remote areas around the globe.  Keeping off the main tourist trail, she worked several jobs from farm hand to non-profit foundation manager in Asia.  Now back home for a spell, Mary enjoys meeting other travelers, sharing experiences and offering helpful tips to those setting out.

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2 Responses

  1. Preventative Health Measures for International Travel | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] a massage for the day you land or the first full day there. Not only will a massage loosen sore muscles, but it can energize you for the adventure […]

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    Thanks for the tip Mary! I love Chang Mai. I love Thai massages! It’s so cheap I would get one every day I was there lol ! 😁


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