In more or less any row of shops in Thailand, you’ll find a place that offers massage; it’s an essential, unremarkable part of everyday life. But there’s an ancient form of massage available in the northern cities of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai called Yam Khang, which is loosely similar to hot stone massage, but a million miles less ordinary. Here’s how it works: with the guest lying face down, the male or female masseur stirs a selection of herbal oils into hot water and then transfers hot coals into the highly viscous, oil-heavy mix with a traditional metal ploughshare, which is used because it is thought to impart extra mineral qualities. The masseur then puts their foot into the bubbling hot solution and uses it to massage the guest with the hot herbal oils. Admittedly, it sounds eccentric and possibly even dangerous, especially for the masseur. But the results are incredible – stiffness, aches and kinks are eased out from the calves, back, and neck as if by magic. One guest said that, in the nicest possible way, it feels like being ironed and having your creases disappear.
For more information and bookings, get in touch with our reservation team in Thailand at: