Mention massages and most Singaporeans will get excited. To indulge in massages is one of the must-do activities for Singapore travellers on vacations – cheap and good ones to be exact!
Besides the usual Bangkok and Johor Bahru, do you that there are other cities in Asia that boast plenty of affordable massages to bust that tension? Here is a list on where to go for your next massage pursuit!
Image via Lemongrass Garden Spa, Siem Reap.
Siem Reap – the gateway to Angkor Wat and the cultural heart of Cambodia. Besides its strong Khmer cultural influences and remarkable historical attractions, Siem Reap is also well known for its friendly people and Khmer massages!
Rarely found outside of Cambodia, the appeal of traditional Khmer massage lies in its soothing kneads and light pressure squeezes that begins from the feet up to the head. Offered in both oil and non-oil versions, the ultimate goal is to induce relaxation to the body and mind.
The massive influx of tourists into Siem Reap has created a thriving tourism ecosystem and resultingly, the sprouting of numerous massage parlours. Dotting the busy streets surrounding Central Market street and around the vibrant Angkor night market, these ubiquitous massage shops offer a welcome respite to weary travellers.
A typical 60-min Khmer full body massage starts from a mere $10sgd, which is perfect for penny-pinching travellers who are always on the lookout for bargains. Of course, be wary of dodgy establishments that are characterised by sexy female masseuse beckoning to unsuspecting male victims.
Unlike the knot-busting and slightly aggressive Thai massages found in neighbouring Thailand, you are in good hands (pun fully intended) with the soothing style of Khmer massages. It is so comfortable that many get lulled into a dreamlike state. For a wholistic Cambodian experience, do try a traditional Khmer massage in Siem Reap!
Fun fact: Khmer massages were believed to have been founded from the Nokor Phnom period and practiced by monks as an ancient form of healing.
Private mud bath at Thap Ba. Image via Thap Ba Hot Spring.
An idyllic coastal town in the south of Vietnam, Nha Trang has blissfully remained a secret destination until the tourism boom in recent years. Who can blame them? Holiday-makers are lured to the island’s powdery white beaches, warm turquoise waters, friendly locals and cheap seafood.
From visiting the ancient ruins of the Po Nagar Cham Towers that date back to the 8th century to shopping for trinkets in the bustling Nha Trang market, there is so much to see and do in Nha Trang. However, one ‘must-do’ on your activity list is to try the city’s signature mud bath and massage!
The local Vietnamese believe that this natural mineral mud has detoxifying and antiseptic properties, and soaking in the mud will rejuvenate the skin. After a dip in the therapeutic mud, ease out all the knots in your body with a pampering body massage! Being one of the cheaper cities in Vietnam, the mud baths and massage spas in Nha Trang are very reasonably priced.
There are several places that offer this unique mud bath combined with massage therapies, with Thap Ba Hot Springs being the most popular and affordable. For those seeking a more luxurious experience, the renowned I-Resort offers massage and mud bath packages priced from $18sgd upwards.
With a body and mind renewed, you are now in good shape to continue exploring the exciting sights of Nha Trang!
Image via No.9 Spa, Guangzhou.
Contrary to its manufacturing and trading reputation, there are actually many interesting massage spots in Guangzhou. From small, nondescript massage shops specialising in Tuina (a traditional Chinese massage) to sprawling spa establishments, this industrial city has it all.
Massage addicts will particularly adore the 24-hour spas found all over Guangzhou. The frenetic lifestyle of the Chinese people has given rise to these massage parlours that are open the entire day so that one can get a massage no matter what time work ends.
Although slightly costlier than a typical massage, you will not regret this totally indulgent full-day experience. For a fixed price (around $35 – $50sgd), one gets access to most of the amenities such as the sleeping lounge, sauna, swimming pool, movie theatre and basic cafe facilities.
Opt for a body massage and you even get the entrance fee waived! Choose from an invigorating acupressure body massage, detoxifying Chinese cupping massage or a traditional Gua Sha massage! And, for a small amount, customers also get to enjoy a sumptuous whole-day buffet spread to alleviate all hunger pangs.
Whoever invented 24-hour massage centers is a genius. One can spend the entire day here in the comforts of a spa; massage, nap and eat to your heart’s content! If you are spoilt for choice, try Spelland Spa – one of the largest and longest-operating ones.
Tip: 24-hour massage centers are the perfect solution for travellers who want to save a night of accommodation or those who are catching red-eye flights!
Image via Ayurma Kerala Ayurvedic Centre in Goa.
Famous for its laidback atmosphere, it is no surprise that Goa offers countless massage places to cater to the throngs of travellers. In this culturally-intoxicating and peaceful Indian city, it will be a shame if you do not give Ayurvedic massages a go!
The ancient art of Ayurvedic massage has a 3000-year history in Indian civilisation and is considered to be one of ancient India’s best creations. Part of a comprehensive healing system, Ayurvedic massage treatments seek to restore balance through specially blended oils, music, and massage techniques that focus on acupressure points.
The fundamental belief is that our senses are the gateway to a healthy mind, body and spirit. This is the reason why Ayurvedic massages employ the use of touch, smell, sight and sound as part of the healing process.
There are many types of massage therapies available in Goa and in an extreme variety of prices. Prices start from a pocket-pleasing $10sgd and can shoot up to $100sgd in high-end resort spas.
You may encounter enticingly cheap massage touts along the famous Calangute beach stretch but be prepared for a less-than-satisfactory service. Instead, head to one of numerous local parlours situated in the capital of Panaji and along the lively streets of the central coastal areas.
These legitimate massage joints offer individual consultation and the skilled therapists can advice a form of Ayurvedic massage that is most suitable for you. From curing sinuses to relieving headaches, each form of Ayurvedic treatment is different and specific. Head to Goa now and rebalance your body and mind with this ancient form of healing!
A trip to Bali is not complete without getting a signature Balinese massage, or two. This spiritual city is so famous for its healing massages that the distinct style of Balinese massage is well-loved all over the world. Not surprisingly, all who have experienced Balinese massage will rave about its therapeutic effects on body and mind.
Balinese massage uses a variety of techniques, a combination of rolling, stretching kneading and pressure-point stimulation, and special oils to stimulate overall blood flow and loosen stiff muscles. The result is an intense sense of calm and relaxation.
Bali, being the epicenter of wellness in Indonesia, offers a mind-boggling amount of massage centres located everywhere on the island.
On this beautiful tropical island, there is no need to go to a swanky international spa because the local massage parlours are the highlight. One can find ample massage spots that are downright affordable (around $9sgd) in the more populated towns such as Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Ubud. On the other hand, upmarket local spas (from $25sgd onwards) offer peace of mind with skilled therapists, better service and a higher level of hygiene.
What makes it better is the genuine hospitality of the good-natured Balinese people. Expect friendly banter with your masseuse as they expertly knead all tension and worries away!
Whether you are a novice or a massage aficionado, the allure of cheap and good massages is easy to fathom. Eager for a vacation chock-full of relaxing massages already? Pack your bags now!
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