Getting Pampered for Pennies

Today we did our first hotel transfer from the Aetas to the Baan Amphawa, and although our new accommodations are so gorgeous (more on this later), I’m a bit miffed to have to pick up and leave. I  feel like I finally got to know the area well enough and then there’s the great loss of Ruam Rudee Health Massage, a legitimate and cheap thai massage place right down the street.

Getting an authentic Thai massage is one of those requirements  when visiting Thailand, and in Bangkok, every hotel has an in house spa with awesome packages available. Hotel massages are some of the best massages in the city, but definatly err on the pricier side, averaging out to be the same price as a Swedish massage would be stateside.

But for the bargain spa goer, there’s always the option of trying a smaller parlor to save some Baht, and with at least one or two spas/health centers on each street of Bangkok, pricing gets very competitive (ie:best deals for you).  Other services, both authentic and the more common, are available as well but the real selling point is the Thai massage, and its a perfect way to end your roaming filled day.

A Thai massage is a bit more uncomfortable than a Swedish massage, with the masseuse really digging into your pressure points (what felt like my arteries and veins) and kneading with thumbs, elbows, hands, and sometimes feet. And there’s a lot of stretching and pulling of your limbs as well, so it’s not the most relaxing procedure, but the effects afterword are so worth the few moments of pain.That’s the first time someone has sucessfully needed out the knots in my neck for example, and my back, although sore for an hour after, its been the least stiff it’s ever felt.

Usually  you can tell which massage places are,  shall we say, of ill repute. Girls wearing too much make up and hanging out by the doors outside calling men Mr. Handsome? Yeah, that’s the type of place that will do “happy endings” rather than spa services.

But back to Ruam Rudee which is void of painted ladies and a bit more legit, even though its not associated with a hotel. Its a small shop tucked away in a center with restaurants and coffee places off of Soi RuamRudee Sukhumvit Road. The first floor has big comfy chairs for foot massages, raised up similar to pedicure stations, in two rows flanking you right up to the counter. The second floor is a bit more of a maze, with either curtained off rooms for Thai massages, or small but warm looking cubicles with sliding doors for scrubs and aromatherapy treatments.

Their main focus seems to be on massages, either body, foot, or facial, with scrubs and other spa procedures being offered, but not featured as heavily (ie: cheaper too). In my short time in the vicinity, I got both a Thai massage and a body scrub, with my grand total coming just under ฿1,200 Baht (about $37 USD) and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

They are a bit rougher than other Thai spas at the Ruam Rudee and unfortunately only the manager at the front desk understands English, so if you end up going, ask for an easier treatment with her if you’re feeling anxious. But besides that, it’s a highly recommended place to go from this weary traveler.