Thai massage is an ancient art which is still widely practiced across Thailand and offered at all tourist centres. In Krabi massage shops are found in all the main tourist areas as well as being offered in spas and hotels at more ‘professional’ rates.
These masseuses are skilled at ironing out the pains and stiffness in your muscles from a day of travelling, sightseeing, rock climbing or diving. They are all quite professional at offering traditional Thai, oil and foot massage in Krabi and there is none of the sleaze associated with the ‘massage parlours’ of Bangkok.
Thai massage is an art that has been refined over hundreds of years – passed down through generations. It is still taught by Buddhist monks at the main school of Wat Po in Bangkok.
This form of massage in Krabi is similar to that offered in other centres, focusing on realigning the energy lines in your body through 10 main points, known as sen (there are over 70,000 recorded in all).
In Thai massage, muscles are kneaded, pushed, pulled and stretched into place through pressure from the body as well as the hands. It includes aspects of yoga, derived from Ayurvedic practices.
The most active tool in a masseuses arsenal is the thumb. A correctly trained Thai massage practitioner will avoid sensitive areas such as the knees. If you have ailments or chronic problems sensitive to body pressure, advise the masseuse before commencing.
Type of Thai massage in Krabi
Thai massage: is a vigorous treatment of more than 100 areas of the body, using hand pressure and the masseuse’s own body to apply forces to work pressure points and realign energy lines in the body. It can be a little uncomfortable at times, but leaves you feeling very relaxed.
Typically, a full course will last two hours, costs about 500 baht, and although it may be a little uncomfortable during the ‘kneading’, it tends to leave you feeling very rejuvenated. You can also opt for an hour or 90 minutes, and request harder or softer massaging.
Oil Massage: is gentler than Thai massage, instead of pressuring the muscles with the hands, therapeutic oils are used for deep muscle tissue treatment. It won’t solve backaches and is better as an ‘after treatment’. It leaves you a little oily afterwards, but can be a very sensual experience. Generally, they are more expensive (250 baht an hour and up), but an hour is enough.
Foot massage: is a form of reflexology that works the internal organs by manipulating pressure points on the soles of your feet. This is another skill that has been passed down through the ages and can be quite effective in producing a mild detox effect on the body. Often foot massage is offered on the street side at night markets and events.
Many places also offer massages specialising in specific parts of the body, such as the hands and head.
Thai massage shops in Krabi
In Krabi, you can find plenty of massage shops scattered in Ao Nang and Krabi Town, while a few places are found on Phi Phi and Lanta island. There will generally always be one nearby if you are in a busy area; just look out for the ‘reflexology diagrams’ displayed outside. Your hotel might be able to arrange room calls at a price.
Freelancing massage ladies also ply their trade along the beach. There’s no guarantee that they will do a first-class job but there is something very satisfying about having a massage while lying on a tropical beach under the shade. The quality of these places ranges from mattresses carelessly laid out in a back room with unclean sheets, to spa-like places that have individual booths and soft music. It’s best to stick your head in and see for yourself. Generally the older the masseuse the more likely she is to be experienced and good.
Hotels and spas offer a more luxurious environment, with nicely decorated private cubicles, scented clothing and soft music, as well as more of a guarantee that the masseuse is a good one. However, they are typically two or three times more expensive and not necessarily any better. Typically a standard Thai massage in Krabi will cost about 200 baht an hour, while a foot or oil massage is from 250 baht in the small shops.