See me, feel me, touch me, heal me. (Remember ♫ The Who?) Do you love a spa experience, too?
One of the things I like to do while travelling is give myself a little gift every now and then. I’ve saved plenty of money from getting free tickets and free hotels, so, why not spoil myself on occasion? Getting a good massage is one of those little luxurious gifts.
My first massage abroad ever, and the best massage in Bangkok, was at Wat Po, the graceful and pretty Buddhist temple made from ceramic pieces, styled like mosaics, on the banks of the Chao Phrya River, that also houses the Wat Po Traditional Massage school. The rubdown was fantastic, and I felt great afterwards, but it was not a luxury spa event, and that was quite okay. Instead, it was outdoors, and surrounded by a sea of another dozen or so people also getting massages, in a friendly, communal atmosphere- and the air was charged with the relaxation we were all enjoying, simultaneously. Different, yes, but a delicious rubdown nonetheless. I highly recommend this as a do not miss Bangkok activity to definitely do. And it was easy to get to; I was staying at the Royal Orchid Sheraton (hotel free with my SPG points), which has a stop for the public river boat taxi ride just in front. A few bahts and a few smooth minutes later, I was there.
My most recent favorite massage in Southeast Asia was at the Novotel in Solo, on the Island of Java, absolutely divine. I arrived jet lagged, got my massage after showering and unpacking, figuring it would be a good way to unwind before going to bed. Naturally I fell sound asleep about half way through, but when I woke up, it was heavenly. I felt that all the soreness and stiffness of my muscles from the long flight had just melted away, and instead, every part of me was relaxing, cooling and healing. The masseuse was wonderful. I would go back in a flash. It was the best massage I had in Indonesia.
One of the strangest massages I ever got, was from a young woman at the Sheraton Suzhou (hotel free with my SPG points) in China who looked like she couldn’t have weighed more then 70 pounds dripping wet, but, wow, she could pack a serious punch in her rubdowns. Each time I was just about to whimper, “you’re hurting me, could we have a little less pressure, please?”, it was as if she read my mind and adjusted accordingly. The rough part was only during the first third of the massage, the last two were as gentle as the breeze. I’m glad I tried it there, but I might think twice about going for it again.
Speaking of breezes, the best massage in Bali was a lovely one I had outdoors, set back from the beach, under a canopy on a bed nestled under trees facing the ocean. This was my treat at the Sheraton Laguna Nusa Dua Resort (hotel free with my SPG points.)
I also really like enjoying a dry sauna in these steamy, hot countries- a good sweat there helps counteract the relentless humidity outside, and I found my favorites at the Regent (first visit to KL) and also at the Imperial (next visits to KL, hotel free with my SPG points), both in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
And one of my all-time favorite spas is the Olympic Korean Day Spa in Los Angeles. There I like to soak for a while in the distinct herbal baths they have (hot and cold), and then have a scrub afterwards. Best part of the scrub is when the fancy-black-lace-bra-and-black-underwear-clad attendants (what a uniform!) rinse you off by gently throwing buckets of warm water at a time all over; it feels so good. Wow! I wish we had that in Boston, but, alas….
It’s definitely fun to have fun, but you have to know how. So says Dr. Seuss, and I believe the man knew what he was talking about.