Written by Chandrika Ghosh
Co-written by Candice Neo
Edited by Candice Neo
What first comes to mind when you think about Bangkok? Yes – shopping and cheap massages!
But let’s face it girls – there are times when we just need a quick fix and a 250-baht foot massage can refresh us sufficiently for Round 2 of shopping, but there are also times when we want to pamper ourselves and spend the day soaking in a nice Japanese onsen, enjoying a good quality massage at a classy spa, while sipping tea and relaxing with soothing music.
What’s even better is that luxury in Bangkok doesn’t necessarily mean burning your (or your guy’s) purse, especially when it comes to onsens and spa. Onsens may cost you a bomb elsewhere, but you’ll be surprised at what you can get in Bangkok!
Stay with us as we journey to find the most value-for-money and affordably luxurious onsens and spas in this bustling city!
1. You’ll love this luxurious onsen experience complete with a view – Panpuri Wellness
Let your mind, body and soul truly relax as you settle down into the calming warm waters of your onsen bath pool, with the most gorgeous skyline views imaginable.
They offer a variety of spa treatments including a divine Clean Detox Herbal Compress treatment!
The wellness centre itself is minimalistic, clean and open which adds a beautiful ambiance to the place, helping with the unwinding of the body.
The signature Kusatsu pool features waters sourced from one of Japan’s onsen resort towns! Other onsens include a soda bath, vitality pool, cold plunge pool and another bath that changes according to the season!
They also offer daily yoga classes if you’re in town for a few days and missing out on your usual daily practise.
If you don’t feel at peace after this, then I don’t know what will calm the travel jitter nerves.
2. Soak in luxury Japanese ambience: Kashikiri Soda Onsen
Have you always wanted to enjoy a good onsen with an ambience that reminds you of Japan? Or if you have never been to Japan, have you always loved the idea experiencing that oriental touch somewhere closer to home?
At Kashikiri, you can indulge in a luxurious onsen and spa experience that is almost unparalleled in Bangkok. When you enter the spa, you will be greeted with all sorts of Japanese trinkets, dolls and even a huge Totoro plush toy at the reception area.
Here, private onsens are provided, so there’s no need to worry about any awkwardness soaking naked in a hot tub with strangers. But if you would like to enjoy a romantic moment with your loved one, you can opt for a couple onsen or a tub for two!
You get to choose your onsen minerals – from Noboribetsu (for relaxing and relieving tensions in muscles) to Beppu (which contains collagen and boosts your skin and hair) to Norikura (which contains healing minerals for skin allergies) – all of which sound so amazing that you would be spoilt for choice!
The onsen was a very relaxing experience, the water was heated to a comfortable temperature around 40 to 45 degrees Celsius, and we felt refreshed and a little sleepy afterwards (yes, we opted for Noboribetsu!). Cold water is even provided, in case you feel a little unwell from the heat!
We recommend the Oriental Herbal Compress and Massage, which includes a 30-minute private onsen, followed by a 2-hour massage at 2200 baht (USD 63.70) – a value-for-money deal compared to many other packages, which are pricier. Our therapist was very thorough and paid attention to the different parts of the body during our massage.
Throughout your spa, you get to put on cute yukatas (Japanese summer traditional wear), which adds a very nice touch to the Japanese experience. You can even groom yourself in the dressing room after your massage (yes there are combs and mirrors available!), and there are lockers for you to keep your belongings too!
Our session ended with complimentary refreshments of hot Japanese tea, swiss roll and watermelon slices. It was truly comforting!
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3. A thorough calming of the body and mind: Let’s Relax Spa & Onsen (Thonglor)
A popular affordable spa option among travellers and expats, Let’s Relax Spa & Onsen really gets you to put aside your worries as you disrobe and slip into the wonderfully soothing onsen pools, which are only available at the Thonglor outlet.
Rich in natural minerals retrieved from hot springs in Japan, the five onsen pools you get to dip in are segregated by gender. From the 42-degrees-Celsius stress-relieving Gero hot spring bath to the beautifying Silk bath with micro-oxygen bubbles to the 18-degrees-Celsius cold bath to tighten the skin and close the pores, we were very refreshed by the soothing experience.
After your soak, you can proceed to the sauna or hot steam bath, which at 40 degrees Celsius helps to replenish the moisture in your skin as well. But you must not miss this other highlight – the Hot Stonebed Bath, during which you lie on a floor made of natural stone that is heated to around 44 degrees Celsius. This releases anions and infrared rays, which enables you to perspire and purge the toxins from your body.
You’ll need your calm your body down in the Cool Down Room after all these heat, before proceeding to your massage. We tried the Aromatherapy Oil Massage after the onsen, and we felt all our knots and muscle tensions being eased away – a very relaxing experience!
If you can linger for a little longer, we recommend you to proceed to the Relax Room after, where you can lie down and let your body recover from the onsen and massage, while you listen to music or read a magazine. After all, true relaxation is when you can put away everything else for the day, and focus on calming your body and mind!
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4. Embrace good health and beauty: TRIA Spa
If you are planning to take a wellness vacation to Thailand, don’t miss the TRIA Health and Beauty Institute, where you can thoroughly refresh your body and mind holistically.
The Japanese Onsen at this spa exudes sheer opulence and luxury. The pool is heated to a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius that helps to relieve stress from sore muscles. All spa treatments also include steam, infrared sauna, vitality pool and onsen, with separate facilities for men and women.
If you have extra time, do check out the herbal steam room! It uses natural herbal products to help you detoxify and relax. Imagine the soothing fragrance of lemongrass and kaffir lime intoxicating your senses and releasing all that work stress you’ve been carrying around. Simply refreshing!
But if you still can’t decide on your massage or treatment, or simply wish to use the onsen, why not purchase a 1-day pass instead? It entitles you to use all the spa and fitness club facilities (including the onsen, steam room, infrared sauna and vitality pool, but excluding treatment) at just 1500 baht. If not, their 90-minute traditional Thai body massage for 1900 baht is pretty value-for-money too!
5. Experience luxury and relaxation, the Japanese way: Arima Onsen
Arima Onsen is one of those places that brings the Japanese and Thai cultures together and marries them into a beautiful amalgamation.
Widely known for its reliable and consistent service over the years at reasonable prices, Arima Onsen boasts of a luxurious and fully-equipped onsen where you can indulge your senses while soaking in the mineral water bath. And while you’re at it, feel free to order a few drinks to help you unwind. At 500 baht for an hour in the onsen, how much more value-for-money can you get?
We also recommend their package comprising of a luxurious Thai body massage, coupled with a manicure and pedicure session, at 900 baht – quite a steal!
And if you’re feeling slightly adventurous, we suggest you try out their ear cleaning service, packaged along with a Thai body massage, priced at 600 baht. We bet it’ll be an experience that’s difficult to find elsewhere!
**Do note that the onsen facility at Arima Onsen is currently only available for men.
6. Far from the madding crowd: Treasure Spa
Craving to run away from the madness of the city, without actually having to leave all the action behind?
An urban sanctuary, Treasure Spa is located at two strategic spots in the city, where a haven of age-old treatments are seamlessly combined with modern-day luxury. The outlet at Thonglor almost feels like an exotic jungle retreat that draws you into a world of calm and peace.
Treasure Spa is also one of the most popular spas among both tourists and locals. And rightly so! You get an great service, professionally qualified masseuses and an ambience that transports you into a trance – all at a price much lower than what you would expect to pay for top-notch treatment.
If we have tempted you enough to experience this first-hand, go ahead and check out their wide variety of treatments and massages. You can pick from a range of holistic Ayurvedic treatments like the Shirodhara or try the fancier Rose and Champagne package with your significant other.
The Spirit Thai Touch massage is also a great value-for-money option priced at 1200 baht for 2 hours. If you are in the mood for something different, we recommend their relaxing Aromatic Warm Oil Massage with Hot Herbal Compress for 90 minutes at 1755 baht.
Don’t worry about getting there, as upon request, they can arrange for pick-up transport from the nearest BTS station to the respective spa – how convenient is that!
7. A very thoughtful massage experience: Perception Blind Massage
Perception Blind Massage is an interesting place you should check out if you are looking for a unique massage experience. The spa hires masseuses who have lost their sight, as it is often very challenging for the visually disabled to find employment in Thailand.
We tried the aromatherapy and Thai massages, and our therapists were very sensitive to our needs, our bodies’ problematic areas and they were very friendly, courteous and kind.
Before our massages began, the receptionist showed us cards with our therapists’ profiles, with information on their years of experience and the cause of their disability, which helped us understand their background better. Generally, we could tell that the therapists were treated with gentleness and respect.
Our honest take – if you just want a quick fix or a massage to simply relieve body stress and indulge in some “me-time”, this place may not be the best for you. But if you are tired of the usual massage services, want to give back to the local community, and have the luxury of time to chat with the therapists, understand their situations in life, learn how to interact and be sensitive to them as well, we would gladly say, go try it out!
P.S. If you arrive early before your appointment, why not check out Dexter Cafe next door? They provide great wifi and charging points, and you get 15% discount on your bill if you are waiting for your massage, and 10% discount if you drop by after your massage session!
8. Spa with organic and natural ingredients: Asia Herb Association
Want to experience massage with natural and organic herbal ingredients?
Asia Herb Association uses just that, and combines these herbs with a special technique in their massages. A fresh traditional herbal ball is made every day from therapeutic herbs grown organically in their own farms. These balls are then warmed up and used for a comforting massage session, either by itself, or with a pure oil massage. Every product is ensured to be safe for direct use on the skin.
If you’re looking for some respite from the busy malls and crowded streets, head over to one of their outlets to help your mind and body restore their balance.
You can choose from a wide range of treatments or opt for a package deal. Either way, you are sure to come out feeling enriched and revitalized! We highly recommend the 2-hour-long Thai body massage with fresh herbal ball, priced at 1400 baht, and the Pure Blend oil body massage with fresh herbal ball at 1700 baht.
The Asia Herb Association has outlets across Thailand and Cambodia, with 5 branches in Bangkok itself.
9. Bring out your inner diva: Divana Spa
Every bit of Divana Spa spells luxury – be it the lush garden or the pampering you are showered with, this is one experience you should not miss if you are looking forward to a day of relaxation.
A highly rated and award-winning spa, Divana is known for the wide range of therapies and treatments they provide and their attention to every detail, all of which would heighten your experience. Sooth your soul and calm your senses, while your masseuse restores your body’s balance through the nurturing massage.
Take a day out of your fast-paced Bangkok trip and slow down for once. Reenergise yourself with a delicate Thai body massage and a refreshing foot soak, a package deal priced at 1650 baht. You could also add in a session at the jacuzzi for good measure!
Splurge on your health for a change, because a little bit of self-love is never a bad idea!
10. Enter the magical secret garden: Organika Secret Spa
Looking to add a touch of romance and mystique to your regular spa experience? Organika Secret Spa is your answer.
Walk into an immaculately adorned magical garden, with lush greens that complement the luxurious services on offer.
Our roots lie in nature and Organika epitomises this by keeping all their treatments and products natural and organic. After all, nature is where we all originate from and it is no surprise that some of the best healing procedures are natural.
Organika Secret Spa is a treat to the senses in more ways than one! Once you are done admiring the aesthetic beauty of the spa, get yourself an indulgent full body Thai massage, priced at 1500 baht for an hour.
If you’d like some special pampering, go for the Ayurvedic head massage (1500 baht for 1 hour) or the Oriental Foot Massage (650 baht for 1 hour). And if you’re feeling a little romantic, ask for their Aromatic Milk Bath therapy priced at only 800 baht for a 30-minute session.
Enjoy a private moment with your loved one and come out feeling heady from all the aromatic essential oils, and of course, the romance!
PS: There’s a cafe here too, so if you’re hungry after the spa therapy, go ahead and fill up on brunch delights like eggs benedict or even go for the high tea set!
11. A refreshing after-shopping sanctuary: Urban Retreat Spa
If you’ve taken the phrase ‘shop till you drop’ a little too seriously, head over to the Urban Retreat spa, a beautiful little space in the heart of the city that’s conveniently located near the Asoke and Phrom Phong BTS stations, before all the shopping and walking take a toll on you.
This is a good, clean, and professional massage spa which is totally a bang for your buck. Both travelers and locals swear by the quality of service provided.
With a wide array of services on offer, if you find it hard to pick one, we suggest you try out the 2-hour-long Thai massage priced at only 1000 baht or the Sweet Almond Oil massage for 90 minutes at 1275 baht.
Note: If you are satisfied with your massage, tipping is recommended, around 50-100 baht for a one-hour massage, depending on the quality of the massage. This is because therapists generally do not earn a lot at the spa, and the tip is a form of appreciation for the hard work they put in.
We hope we have changed your perception that luxury spas are too expensive and out of reach! In fact, with a bit of careful digging, you can find hidden gems that are priced reasonably and are good value-for-money for the luxurious indulgence you are receiving.
Do comment and let us know if you know of any other such spa that offers a luxurious experience at affordable rates. We would love to hear from you!