There are many places to get a massage in Bangkok and it is certainly one of the ‘must do’ activities for visitors; especially traditional Thai massage. At Wat Pho Massage School Sukhumvit they preserve the authentic techniques of deep muscle pressure that have been developed over thousands of years and leave guests relaxed and invigorated like little else can. The Sukhumvit branch of Wat Pho Massage School is a place to receive a massage and learn the skills involved, but – despite its name – it is nowhere near the actual Wat Phra Chetuphon temple (located next to the Grand Palace); it is more conveniently found in the Phrom Phong area of downtown Bangkok a few metres down Sukhumvit Soi 39. This branch is not as well known as the original but still offers the particular style of massage that has been taught in Wat Pho Temple since it was made Thailand’s first ever university, specifically to teach traditional medicine and health practices, and is the only other branch to carry the Wat Pho name in central Bangkok.
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For those interested in learning the ancient arts and practices of Thai massage, the school has five different courses starting with the 30 hour basic level of Thai traditional massage for 13,500 baht. Study time runs from 09:00 to 17:00 with one hour for lunch. Once the preliminary basic course has been completed, there are several other study options, including an advance Thai massage course (60 hours, 18,500 baht), foot massage course (30 hours, 9,900 baht), oil massage (28 hours, 14,000 baht) and baby massage course (21 hours, 9,500 baht). All prices include textbooks and a certificate on completion to show off to your friends back home.
The price of a massage at Wat Pho Massage Sukhumvit is amazing value for money. A one-hour Thai massage costs just 250 baht, or the full two-hour Thai massage costs 500 baht. Foot massages are also very popular here and cost 300 baht for one hour of relief from the tourist trail. Considering the quality of the masseurs this is unbelievably inexpensive. The herbal ball massage is one of the more unusual services offered at Wat Pho Massage Sukhumvit – it consists of a large ball of herbs that is steamed and then pressed against aching muscles. It costs 800 baht for two hours.
The five-storey building has a homey feel but could do with a bit of updating and visitors shouldn’t expect the same level of luxury that can be found in spas; however, everything is clean and service is prompt. Guests will first have their feet washed with soap and be given slippers before being led upstairs to the massage rooms. There are many massage rooms with futon-style beds separated by curtains with pyjamas laid out for the guest to wear. Starting with the feet, the masseuse will methodically stretch joints and apply pressure to muscles using their hands, elbows, knees and even feet. The majority of the massage is pleasant and relaxing, but there are elements of yoga in the stretching postures that can be quite intense at times as it is designed to be beneficial to the physiology of your body, not just a relaxing experience.
Wat Pho Massage Sukhumvit campus is very popular with the Japanese fraternity of Bangkok and reception staff speak Japanese and English, with autographs of Japanese celebrities lining the walls. You should be warned that it is busy here and bookings are definitely advised, especially when it’s raining. Thai massage at Wat Pho Massage School Sukhumvit Campus relaxes the mind, empowers the body and costs a fraction of what massage parlours charge in Western countries.
Wat Pho Thai Massage School
- Opening Hours: 08:30 – 24:00
- BTS: Phrom Phong
- Address: Sukhumvit Soi 39, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0)2 261 0567