I tried many spas in Chiang Mai (I know, hard job!) and here are the results. Check out where to get the best massage in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
So, you’re traveling through Thailand and want to get a good massage in Chiang Mai? Great idea. Thailand is famous for its art of Thai massage, and like in Bangkok you’ll find a spa or massage parlor literally at every corner in Chiang Mai. Definitely something to add to your Chiang Mai itinerary!
Fancy a luxury pampering day? You got it. Looking for a good massage on a budget? No problem. In Chiang Mai, massage prices range anywhere from 150 baht an hour (approximately $4,70 at the time of writing) to 10,000 baht (over $300) for a full package at a luxury day spa in Chiang Mai.
With so much choice, though, it might be hard to choose. This is why I’ve done the hard work for you (I know, somebody gotta do it!). From traditional Thai massage, to Tok Sen massage and other techniques, you’ll find all kinds of experiences in town. Discover where to find the best massage in Chiang Mai.
READ ALSO: The Perfect Itinerary for 3 Days in Chiang Mai
Wat Pan Whaen Thai Massage: Traditional Tok Sen Massage in Chiang Mai
Treatment received: Tok Sen Massage (60 minutes)
An Introduction to the Massage Center
Located on the grounds of Wat Pan Whaen temple, this Chiang mai massage parlour occupies an entire building. It’s a very traditional, basic massage place, so don’t expect anything fancy. If you’re looking for a luxury experience, I suggest you skip to the next recommendation.
In the main room, where Thai massage and Tok Sen massage take place, mats are lined on the floor one next to the other, and there are no curtains or anything to protect your privacy. However, you’re fully clothed for these types of massages, so it’s ok. Pillow cases are changed after every customer.
There are also a few other private rooms for those types of massages that require more privacy like oil massage, but i haven’t seen them inside.
We were given some comfortable clothing to wear, and directed to a small changing room. Tok Sen Massage, as well as the traditional Thai massage, is always performed with some loose clothing on, so your masseur/masseuse won’t touch directly your skin as it would be the case with an oil massage.
Once we were settled on the mats, the Tok Sen Massage started. Let me give you an explanation of what Tok Sen massage is. Basically, you get hit with a hammer for an entire hour. And no, I’m not kidding, but it’s not painful as it sounds.
Tok Sean massage is a traditional, ancient practice that dates back to thousand of years ago. A wooden hammer made from the tamarind tree is used to hit a wooden mallet along the meridan lines of the body in a rythmical and constant way. This produces a healing vibration that relaxes the muscles. Fran was afraid it was going to hurt, but the vibration, together with the rythmical sound, relaxed him so much that he fell asleep halfway through and woke up only when the massage was over.
My masseuse also alternated some Thai massage techniques at some point during the massage, and finished the treatment with ten minutes of stretching with the traditional Thai massage movements.
I must say I felt much more relaxed and loose after the treatment, even if I wished the masseurs didn’t talk during the massage between them as it makes it harder to fully relax.
Here’s a small video of Tok Sen massage taken by someone at this same location.
We like it because:
There are few places in town where you can get a real Tok Sen massage, and this is one of them. The massage is very cheap and having a massage right by a temple makes it a more special experience.
Rates start at 150 baht (approximately $5) for the traditional Thai massage (60 minutes). The Tok Sen Massage we got costs 200 baht ($6,30).
The place is pretty big, with over 10 people working at the same time, but it still gets full, especially on the weekends. Thai people love to go for massages, and you’ll see here a mix of foreigners and locals getting treatments.
When we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, we were told they were full, but they took our name and booked us for an hour later. We just went for a snack to THE CLAY at the Terracotta Garden, one of my favorite places in Chiang Mai, which is literally down the street, and the came back for the massage at the booked time (but we still had to wait another 20 minutes).
Wat Pan Whaen Opening Hours: 9 am to 7 pm every day.
Wat Pan Whaen Location: Phra Sing, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
Fah Lanna Spa: Luxury Experience with a Soul
Treatment received: Thai Herbal Ball Massage (60 minutes)
The door opens, and I’m in awe. How can there be such a beautiful oasis hidden here from the chaos of the Old Town? There’s a pond, surrounded by some lush vegetation, and I feel instantly relaxed. I close my eyes. My senses are stimulated, scents are burning, I can smell the aroma of ginger and lemongrass. If love at first sight exists, I’m officially in love.
An Introduction to the Spa
Fah Lanna Spa, located in the old town near Chang Puak Gate, is one of the most popular luxury spas in Chiang Mai. This Chiang Mai spa has won multiple awards, and it’s easy to understand why.
Built in a traditional Northern Thai style, everything from the treatments to the rooms and the architecture of the place are based on the Lanna history and culture. If you’re looking for the ultimate, traditional Lanna experience, there’s no better spa in Chiang Mai. It’s especially a great idea when it rains!
Fah Lanna Spa is a big one, with over 20 treatment rooms, but with the way the space is laid out, and with the personal approach you get, it feels a very intimate experience.
We were warmly welcomed with an ice herbal tea and a cold face towel. They also asked us to fill a paper about any health issues, what kinds of pressure we preferred, and in what area of the body our masseuse should concentrate. Somehow it reminded me of my experience at the spa in Inle Lake, Myanmar.
We were led into our beautiful private room (all the rooms at Fah Lanna are private) and given clothes to change into. Thai Massage, as well as the Thai Herbal Ball Massage, is always performed with loose comfortable clothing that the spa provides, so it’s different from the usual oil/Swedish massage you might be used to.
The rooms come with a fully-equipped bathroom, all the amenities you might need, and a beautiful bathtub with petals ready for a bath treatment – sign me up next time I come!
The massage started first as a traditional Thai massage, which is a form of massage that mixes stretching techniques, yoga and acupressure. It’s not as relaxing as other kinds of massages, and the first time you try it it might feel a harsh one – but wait till it ends!
Then the Thai Herbal Ball massage started. This traditional treatment uses herbal balls that are made of herbs wrapped in a cotton pouch. The pouches are heated and then pressed rythmically all over the body, releasing any tension from the muscles. It’s a very relaxing treatment, and I felt so loose afterwards!
Our masseuses made sure multiple times that were ok with the level of pressure, the room temperature, and the heat of the herbal balls, and I appreciated that they didn’t chat during the treatment (a big pet peeve of mine).
After we got changed back into our clothes, we were led to the spa shop where we had hot ginger tea and some incredible rice crackers (they were so good that we ended up buying a million of them to bring home!). With some packages, you also get complimentary mango sticky rice, but in any case there’s an onsite cafe and restaurant if you want to relax a bit longer after your treatment.
Sustainability & Social Responsibility
When I first learnt about Fah Lanna, the aspect that impressed me the most was its commitment to social responsibility and environmental sustainability. When we visited the spa we chatted with Mrs M., the Guest Relations Manager, about all the things they are doing, and I must say I’ve never heard of such a commitment from any other spa.
Environmentally speaking, the spa has electricity saving measures in place, re-uses the herbs after the treatments, as well as the cotton clothes. All the water in the pond comes from the spa’s well, and the products that are used are made from local herbs and ingredients and come directly from local farmers.
The spa is also deeply committed into creating a great environment for their staff. For example, they provide financial support for the education of our staff children, and other initiatives.
Fah Lanna also supports various charitable causes such as the construction of a school in Mae Hong Son province. In fact, when we visited the Spa, they had just come back from a trip where they built a playground and repainted the school.
We like it because:
The whole experience from start to finish was a 5 star one. The location is a real oasis of relaxation in the middle of the city, the masseuses are highly professional and we felt welcomed every second of our stay. Additionally, we love what the Spa is doing for the community and the environment, and that for us is a big advantage over other spas in town. To us, this is the best spa in Chiang Mai for a luxury yet sustainable experience.
Rates start at 700 baht (approximately $22) for the traditional Thai massage (60 minutes). The Thai Herbal Ball Massage we got costs 1500 baht.
We didn’t personally use this service, but Fah Lanna Spa offers a complimentary shuttle service within Chiang Mai City. You can even store your luggage here during your treatment and get dropped off at the airport after the massage. What better way to end your stay in Chiang Mai?
Don’t make the mistake of not booking in advance, and avoid disappointment. During the high season the spa is often fully booked, so we recommend making a reservation in advance.
⇒ BOOK HERE a traditional Thai massage, an Herbal ball massage, or a Tok Sen Massage with transfers or
⇒ BOOK HERE a 2, 3, or 4-hour package that includes multiple treatments for a blissful day of relaxation (with transfers).
Fah Lanna Spa has also a second branch by the Night Bazaar, which does not offer the shuttle service and is more budget friendly.
They’re also about to open a new branch in Nimmanhaemin Soi 15, which will have the same menu and prices as in the Old City and also offer pick up service.
Fah Lanna Opening Hours: 10 am to 10 pm every day.
Fah Lanna Spa Location: 57 57/1 Wiang Kaew Rd, ตำบล ศรีภูมิ Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai 50200
Supattra Blind Massage in Chiang Mai: Thai Massage for a Cause
Treatment received: Thai Massage (60 minutes)
An Introduction to the Massage Center
Supattra Blind Massage is a very basic massage center located in the Old Town of Chiang Mai. It’s a single room with beds one next to the other. There are curtains for privacy, but they aren’t generally pulled (unless you ask for them to be pulled).
Thai Massage is always performed with loose clothing on, but since I was already wearing loose clothing I was told not to change into their clothing. However, no worries, they have available clothing for you to wear when you come in with clothes that are too tight or revealing.
By the way, Thai massage is an old therapy technique that was first introduced over 2500 years ago. It’s believed it was the physician of Buddha to invent it! A Thai massage might feel rough for people who are used to more relaxing types of massages. During Thai massage, your body will be pulled, stretched and the massage therapist will use even their elbows to touch certain muscles. It will be a very interesting experience the first time you try it out. If it’s unpleasant, tell the masseur to reduce the intensity.
I’ve tried Thai massage many many times these past few years, and not one massage was the same than another. There are many different techniques and movements that can be performed by the masseurs, and in this case there was more pressure and less stretching techniques than in other massages I got. It was very relaxing overall, and quality-price wise this is the best thai massage in Chiang Mai.
We like it because:
My masseur clearly knew what he was doing, which is not always the case with cheap massage places in Chiang Mai or Thailand in general. Of all the Thai massage I’ve gotten, this is the one that let me feeling more relaxed and more straight (for days!), so this shows you that a higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean a better massage.
I really like to know that my thai massage helps these people who would have a hard time making an income in any other way (Thailand is not particularly disabled friendly). The massage is extremely cheap, so please leave a fat tip!
I also really appreciated that after every customer, the sheet and the pillow case are changed, which makes this place more hygienic than most other budget massage places.
At Supattra Blind Massage you can only choose between Thai massage and foot massage. Either massage costs 150 baht (approximately $5) for 1 hour, 220 baht for 1 hour and a half, and 300 baht for 2 hours.
Supattra Blind Massage Opening Hours: 8 am to 9 pm every day.
Supattra Blind Massage Location: Corner between Sri Poom Rd Lane 1 and Moon Muang Rd Lane 9, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
We received a complimentary massage at Fah Lanna Spa in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are our own, as always.
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