For the last several decades, massage has been an important part of the Thai tourism, recreation and health industries and in the past ten years, for a variety of reasons, its importance has increased.
As a result, almost anywhere inside of Thailand where large numbers of tourists are found, one can also find a large numbers of places offering a variety of massage-related services. This is certainly true in Pattaya, Thailand.
One does not have to look for them... they are everywhere.
Thai Traditional Massage
Almost all businesses or shops offering massage service offer something called "Thai traditional massage" or simply "Thai massage" It begins with the customer reclining on a mat, matress or raised platform. The massage giver then twists, stretches and applies pressure to various parts of the body, usually beginning with the feet and working upward to the head.
When done reasonably well, Thai traditional massage is said to improve general circulation and related aspects of health…and the customer will feel wonderful.
Prices for traditional massage generally start at about 200 baht an hour for either a 60 minute, 90 minute or two hour massage. At "nicer" places prices are more...although not too much more. Generally, massage givers expect tips.
Thai traditional massage is the style of massage given on the beach. Often called "beach massage". It is just called beach massage because it is given on the beach rather than in a shop or hotel.
As with the massage shops, beach massage ladies - they are older and heavier than the average giver - also seem to be everywhere (at least on the beach) and the level of their service is generally considered satisfactory to good.
They don't expect tips as they keep most of what they earn. The price for beach massages is around 300 to 350 baht an hour.
The big problem with getting a good traditional Thai massage is that giving a traditional massage requires a certain level of physical strength, experience and knowledge of anatomy. Unfortunately, many people giving massages lack the necessary strength, skills or knowledge.
The probability of getting a good massage generally increases if one goes to "nicer" places, such as those located in large hotels but the relationship between size, money spent and getting a good massage is far from perfect. Another factor which increases the probability of getting a good massage is whether or not the giver is certified.
In recent years certification courses for massage givers has become widespread - but again the relationship between a certfication and a good massage is far from perfect. Many older massage givers are not certified but have learned through experience and are quite good.
People who get traditional massage must also realize that a traditional Thai massage is not a "romantic" massage. Customers who expect "romance" are frequently disappointed. Many massage businesses explicitly prohibit any kind of romantic activity within the walls of their establishments. Nevertheless, in other places management turns a blind eye to what goes on between the customer and the giver (especially in places where the massage is given in a private room).
But language problems can make negotiation difficult and customers must be aware that what the giver is prepared to give, might be different from what they want or expect. Unfortunately, there is no way for a romantically inclined customer to know in advance whether he can find what he wants at a traditional Thai massage shop.
Foot Massage or Reflexology
In recent years, many shops offering traditional Thai massage have begun offering related services such as foot massage or reflexology, which is said to aid all aspects of health as certain areas of the feet are believed to be connected to and influence certain parts of the body.
It has actually become more popular than traditional massage even though many people complain that it is painful. Many places specialize in foot massage since it easier to do and requires less space. Customers are able to sit in comfortable chairs while the giver uses their hands and various implements to rub, pressure and poke the feet and lower legs.
Oil and Aroma Massage
Two other types of massage which are now offered a lot are oil massage and aroma massage, which also involves the use of various oils. When done honestly and correctly, both of these massages are supposed to contribute to good health
Both can be a very pleasant and relaxing experience. They do involve partial nudity and are usually done in private. They are also more expensive than Thai traditional massage or foot massage, so many massage shops and ladies encourage customers to get them, and might become angry if customers want the cheaper alternatives.
Customers also need to be aware that some of the oils used can be harmful if not used properly and that often there is very little real "massage" done as the givers simply rub the oils on the customer. It should be noted that "oil massage" is sometimes promoted and given as a romantic type massage. The cost for the romantic activity will be charged in addition to the cost for the massage, which usually starts at around 300 baht.
See more about full body massage in Patong Beach, Phuket