After hours of travel and sitting in planes, busses and boats, it’s time to treat yo self and go get a massage. You’ve probably heard that you should go get a massage in Thailand, because it’s cheap and it’s awesome, and it is. But, Thai massages a little different than what you are probably used to at home, and I’m not just talking about the happy ending stuff.
The first thing you should know about Thai massage is that it is an ancient practice and was started as a Buddhist tradition over 2,500 years ago, and it is considered a vital part of one’s health, just like eating well and exercising. The Thai’s take their massage very seriously.
The second thing you should know is that when you go to get a Thai massage it’s not going to be like your typical Swedish massage. You will most likely be in a large room with other people, you will lay down on a mat on the floor, and you will keep your clothes on, or the masseuse will give you loose clothes to wear. The actual massage is much more intense than a regular massage as well. It’s almost like yoga and massage combined, they really work you out. It can be a little awkward and uncomfortable at times but if you go with it you’ll feel great afterwards.
When I got to Koh Tao I knew I needed to get a massage, after 8 hours on a bus and 2 on a boat and lugging my suitcase around my body was feeling ache-y. There are tons of little massage places on Koh Tao, almost as many as there are dive shops! So you have tons of choices. I decided to make it my mission to try as many as I could, so I could let you know which ones are the best. Also, who doesn’t want to go get a massage twice a week and call it work/research?
So here they are, the best places to get a massage on Koh Tao:
Royal Thai Massage – Mae Haad
Royal Thai Massage is consistently rated one of the best places in Koh Tao to get a massage, and for good reason, it’s conveniently located on the “Up Road” from the pier, they offer a variety of services, their prices are awesome and their massage rooms are air conditioned, which is a major plus. Their masseuse seem to be contractors, so you might have to wait a few minutes for the front desk to call someone to come in for your massage, but I never waited more than 5 minutes I think. You also don’t need to worry about making an appointment, I always just walked in.
What to get: Thai massage (60 min.), back neck and head massage (60 min.), foot massage (60 min.)
Cost: 300 to 350 Baht
Paradise Massage – Sairee Beach
This little massage place is located along the brick road in Sairee and if you aren’t paying attention you could walk right past it. The building is right on the beach and you can hear the sounds of the waves while you get your massage, which I thought was really nice. I also got the best Thai massage here! It was seriously amazing. The masseuse was friendly and always making sure I was alright and good with the pressure. They are also fully staffed so as soon as you walk in there is someone ready to give you a massage.
What to get: Thai massage (60 min.)
Cost: 300 Baht
Kayo Massage – Sairee Beach
Kayo Massage is the big massage place on the brick road in Sairee, they offer a ton of services and are fully staffed so there is no generally no waiting. It is one large room so there is not a lot of privacy. For my massage they had me take off my shirt and undid my bathing suit top while I was laying down, so if you are uncomfortable getting semi undressed in public maybe opt for a smaller place. But the massage is good and the price is decent. (side note, I also got a mani pedi there, but it wasn’t the best, I’d go for one of the massages instead)
What to get: Back shoulder and neck massage (30 min.)
Cost: 250 Baht
Leelawadee Thai Massage – Mae Haad
This little place is right by the pier in Mae Haad, while it can get a bit noisy when a boat comes in and there’s a ton a people milling around outside, the best thing about this place is the price. I think it might be the cheapest massage I found on Koh Tao, and the massage is good too!
What to get: Back neck and head massage (30 min.)
Cost: 200 Baht
I like the idea that massages are good for your health, and with that in mind you should probably treat yourself to one (or ten) while on Koh Tao. It really is relaxing and your body will thank you for it, especially if you need some kinks worked out.