Chiang Mai is famed for its spas, and quite rightly. The famed slow and gentle Thai massage can be had all over the city, from street side pop-up massage chairs along Loi Kroh Road to exclusive spas in many of the city’s five star hotels. Whether you are looking for a soft, silky oil massage or an elbow in the back to rid you of that computer syndrome knot, this city has it all. And in fact, we have some of the best spas in the country, just take a look.
The original spa was housed in a lovely antique wooden home, offering up a truly traditional Thai vibe. We were therefore a little taken aback, though pleasantly surprised, to discover that their second branch, well, has branched off into whole ‘nother direction. Located just a few steps away from the first one, this branch is modern and bright, though still has the same smiles beaming from staff’s faces and fragrant aromas greeting one on arrival. Whether it be oil, scrub, lotion, etc., every product used at Makkha Spa is 100% natural and extracted from such fragrant and medicinal plants as almonds, macadamia and flowers. The focus here, however isn’t on the frills, but on the deep understanding of massage techniques and the body, each masseuse highly skilled in knowing exactly how much pressure to exert on which part of the body. Most of the service is given in private twin beds room with double showers so you can enjoy this retreat alone make it a special experience for two.
Open 10am – 10pm
Makkha Health&Spa (Ancient House)
38/1 Soi Ratchamanka 8, Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
+66 (0) 98 239 9088 , +66 (0) 53 271 423
Makkha Health&Spa (Colonial Gardens)
4 Sam Lan 2 Alley, Phra Sing, Mueang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
+66 (0) 65 478 5358 , +66 (0) 53 279 324
Makkha Health&Spa (Night Bazaar)
105 Loi Kroh Rd, Chang Khlan Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
+66 (0) 93 241 9642 , +66 (0) 53 271 668
Makkha Health & Spa Chiang Mai (Burirattana Hotel)
115/1-5 Rachadamnoen Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang, Chiang Mai 50200
+66 (0) 65 529 9783
Visit the multiple-award winning Zira Spa
Within the ancient moated wall of Chiang Mai stands the charming purpose-built Zira Spa, which is designed to relieve any tension or stress the moment you walk into its tranquil courtyard…where giant koi glide.
Zira has 36 dedicated spa rooms offering utmost privacy and luxury at very affordable prices. The experience begins on arrival, where guests’ preferences and concerns are professionally addressed and noted. After having your feet washed in scented floral water next to the colourful koi, guests are guided up to their private rooms, each of which offers up all of the frills and mod cons one would expect from a kaleidoscopic Jacuzzi tub to his-and-hers massage tables; from a selection of calming music piped through speakers to tension-draining aromatic oils to breathe in. Each room is designed with mood lighting and natural accents with one aim – to soothe. Once the therapist arrives, simply turn yourself over to their masterful care and treatment. Time will fly and both body and mind will emerge fully recharged and rejuvenated.
Zira Spa has been a recipient of numerous awards since first opening its doors, both national and international, including being honoured as Lonely Planet’s Top Choice Spa in Chiang Mai, being named the top travellers choice from TripAdvisor as well as from the World Luxury Spa Awards.
There is ample parking and all SHA+ Covid regulations followed.
8/1 Ratvithi Road, T. Sri Phum
Open 10am – 10pm
Tel. 053 222 288, 095 793 5888
A Golden and Glowing 24 Carat Massage:
The Lanna Come Spas unique Thong Phaya Lanna massage
It is incredible how fast the spa and massage industry has grown here in Thailand over the past couple of decades, and that is largely due to a combination of time-trusted traditions and skills, passed down through generations, famed Thai service and hospitality and constant innovation.
Here in Chiang Mai you can go to any number of spas where you can enjoy traditional experiences side by side with fascinating new ones. At Lanna Come Spa near the Night Bazaar, there is a comprehensive menu of traditional massages on offer, and excitingly, a new Thong Phaya Lannamassage, which is definitely one for the books.
We will skip the welcoming drink, the ambiance and aromas of the reception area and the gentle greetings, because as comparable as they are to any other good spa in Chiang Mai, this three hour experience is what we are here to talk about.
This unique Thong Phaya Lanna massage is a masters-level massage which draws from highly technical massage techniques of the ancient Lanna kingdom to infuse it – literally – with gold, a property believed to energise the body’s aura which will bring a person fortune, energy and love. Lanna massage traditions are honoured in this fully immersive experience which includes a dedicated soundtrack of Lanna music and sounds from sacred rites, aromas of Lanna herbs and medicinal flowers as well as some potent ritualistic blessings, all of which have been designed into the Thong Phaya Lanna massage experience.
Once showered and robed in the suitably luxurious spa suite, the masseuse gives your feet a scrub before inviting you to lie down on the spa bed. Water is gently rubbed across parts of the body and then herbal paste mixed with pure gold flakes is used to scrub down the entire length of the body. This special Thong Phaya Lanna massage is, after all, all about gold (thong means gold in Thai, and phaya is akin to the great). A creamy golden mask is then applied liberally onto all exposed skin, a soothing experience that has the body gleaming and shining with a golden glow.
The next thing you know, the spa bed’s special sheets are being wrapped around your body, and you are left to lie there, slumberous and soothed by the sounds of Lanna music, as the body is cocooned, snug, cosy and deeply warm, an intimate and personal experience that lulls and hypnotises.
Fifteen minutes passes by like a blink of an eye and you feel almost resentful when the layers are peeled off and your body exposed to room temperature. But like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, the body glistens and shines, the skin seemingly fluttering with energy.
The masseuse then turns on the shower for you and you spend the next few minutes simply basking under the cascade of rain shower as the gold, the cream and the mask slides off the body, a glittering trail slowly fading away.
You then return to the massage table for a thorough massage of golden infused oil. The body is kneaded, rubbed, stroked and moulded with this decadent and luxurious golden oil for what feels like a blissful eternity.
Once the entire body is both sparkling and anointed, it is time to focus on the face, and there is nothing held back here as thin slithers of 24 carat gold sheets are plastered onto the face, leaving one looking like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh as you lie there, absorbing all that gold.
The music then turns more ritualistic and as the gold is gently removed with a mild cream, the masseuse writes ancient Lanna scripts of blessings onto the forehead and cheeks, before ending the treatment.
You walk out feeling rejuvenated and invigorated, with a slight shimmer of gold and trailing an enticing aroma. An unforgettable spa experience for those seeking something to make you feel truly special.
Lanna Come Spa Chiang Mai
88/4 Sridonchai Road, Chang Klan
66 (0)53 274 377, 66 (0)53 284 092
Fah Lanna Spa
Fah Lanna Spa is set in the heart of the old moated city in a lush tropical garden a mere stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Aromatic herbs and tropical flowers, waterwheels and trickling fountains, gentle traditional music and smiling sarong-clad staff are all designed to help you sink into instant relaxation. There are 25 therapy rooms of different sizes and styles, each designed to represent a region in the north of Thailand to enhance the Lanna experience. Masseuses are trained in-house to exactingly high standards and the entire spa experience is designed to pamper and treat both body and soul. Whether it is a short one hour traditional massage or an entire afternoon getting a facial, a body wrap, a steam bath and a full body scrub, the multiple award winning Fah Lanna Spa exemplifies the excellence of Chiang Mai’s growing spa industry.
After a good few hours’ massage, simply wander to the garden café for some sweet treats or pop into the gift shop to check out some of the locally sourced souvenirs.
Open 10am – 10pm
57/1 Wiang Kaew Road, Si Phum
The aromatic scent of essential oils lure you into a soothing feeling at the first step you take after arriving to this charming spa. Staff will be beaming a smile at you with gentle welcoming murmurs, as they suggest and introduce all the packages available on the menu which vary from tradition Thai massage to hair and nail salon. The aromatherapy oil massage, one of their signatures, takes place in a private oriental style room that will ease you from your daily stress with a distinct smell of herbs. There is also a deep tissue oil massage if your want to put an end to any intensive strain or pain. There are also a variety of body scrubs and wraps including deep cleansing sea salt scrub, detox, mud clay wrap, Thai herbal wrap to choose from. and why not also indulge yourself with a milky baht in a sizable jacuzzi tub in a private room making the most of your pampering experience?
187/13 Chang Klan Road, T. Chang Klan
Open 10am – 10pm
Tel. 053 818 869
Chi, The Spa – Shangri-la
Set at the back of the spacious landscaped grounds of the Shangri-La, sits the elegant Chi, The Spa. Walk into a vast reception hall and settle into one of the many sofa alcoves to sip some herbal tea, peruse the Spa menu or just take some time to unwind to the sounds of soothing music and trickling water. The treatments range from a simple traditional Thai massage to a half day lovers’ package filled with treats and pampering delights. Each of the nine expansive treatment rooms are private with some coming with luxurious outdoor baths and each set up for multiple type of treatments. Masseuses are very well trained and within moments of arriving will have you in a pair of slippers and a bathrobe ready for your special treatment. The entire experience at Chi, The Spa is designed for ultimate relaxation and making you feel very, very special.
Open 10am – 10pm
Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai
053 253 888
Le Meridien’s The SPA is an international standard city spa which is infused with Thai and Lanna traditions and services.
This spacious eight room en suite spa in the sleek and modern Le Meridien Chiang Mai hotel sits in the heart of the city and is the perfect destination for spa lovers looking to escape the bustling streets to indulge in some personal pampering time.
On arrival at the reception, guests are invited into the serene waiting room where a scented hot towel and fragrant tea is served while guests peruse the spa menu which covers quick and spa-standard treatments from foot massages to facial scrubs and eye rejuvenators, to truly indulgent spa experiences lasting hours.
Each treatment is designed to serve a particular purpose, whether it is the two hour skin revival treatment which includes a bath ritual, body polish and oil massage, or an aromatic detox massage of rhythmic tapping and flowing strokes to release tension. Techniques are drawn from all cultural sources and guests can enjoy a Swedish oil massage, an Indian inspired chakra ritual of Indian herbal warm massage and Himalayan salt polish. Guests can spend hours in their suites being indulged and pampered by spa professionals and therapists who blend the famed Thai service and massage skills with impeccable international standards set by Le Meridien.
There is a floor-to-ceiling glass room offering spectacular views of the city and Doi Suthep Mountain where guests can indulge in a foot massage, his-and-hers saunas and the hotel’s swimming pool next door to dive into after a few hours’ nourishment of the body and soul.
At Le Méridien Chiang Mai, Chang Klan Road
Open 10am – 10pm
Tel. 053 253 248
Facebook: Le Méridien Chiang Mai