If booking a spa break filled with muscle-melting massages is high up on your wish list – but the big-ticket prices put you off – look no further, because we’ve got you covered…
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When you think spa break, what springs to mind? Probably a grand stately home in the middle of the English countryside, cloud-white, fluffy robes, and fizzing glasses of Champers. Sounds good, right? Absolutely, until the sky-high prices bring you right back down to earth. We’ve done the massage maths, and have figured out that Thailand’s the place to go for some proper pampering, and at a reasonable price, too.
More bang for your buck
Thanks to its picture-perfect beaches, sunny weather, and laid back vibe, Thailand’s already made a name for itself as relaxation central. It just so happens that the Thais are a dab hand at treatments, too. And you can get one for a fraction of the price. The numbers really do add up. An hour-long spa treatment in the UK can cost £60. In Thailand, you’re looking at an average price of 300 baht – under £7. In other words, in Thailand, you could get nine hours of limb-loosening massage for the cost of just one back home. Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse.
It’s not just the prices that make Thailand a top spa destination. Here, massage dates back 2,500 years. So, they really know their stuff. Legend has it that the first Thai massage expert was Shivago Komarpaj – he had a pretty impressive job as Buddha’s personal doctor.
What to expect
For a classic Thai massage, you’re normally given a loose pair of PJs to wear while the therapist does your treatment. Expect lots of stretching and kneading – the technique’s based on ideas about ‘sen’, or energy flow, within the body. Hot herbal compresses are another traditionally Thai treatment. They’re stuffed full of sweet-smelling lemongrass, kaffir lime and cinnamon, and laid over aching muscles. As for your spa spots, massage therapists set up shop on sandy shores – where the swish of the waves provide the soundtrack. Or, try a treatment at a tucked-away spa at a market. If you like to keep things classic, you’ll have your pick of traditional spas, too. The pampering possibilities are endless.
Where to stay
Phuket’s Bang Tao Beach is our pick. It’s one of the island’s longest sandy swathes, stretching out for four miles, so you’ll find plenty of massage therapists dotted around this seaside spot. Or, opt for the quieter Tri Trang Beach on Phuket’s south-east coast. There’s a massage hut on the beach that visitors rave about. And, you can stay in one of our snug-to-the-sand hotels, too, so you won’t have to walk far for your pamper sessions.