Massage Shops in Phuket: Should You Avoid Them?

Massage Shop in Patong (Phuket)
Massage Shop in Patong (Phuket)

I have been only to Patong in Phuket, and as such my experience of massage shops in Phuket is limited to the shops in Patong. I cannot say if the massage shops in Karon and Kata beach areas will be any different from the ones in Patong. But why should they be any different? Its all in Phuket after all. Phuket is very different from Pattaya. Firstly, everything in Phuket costs more money. Whether you are going on an island tour or getting a massage, you have to pay more money than what you would pay in Krabi or in Pattaya. Secondly, the probability of getting cheated in Phuket (read Patong) is way more than in Krabi or Pattaya. When it comes to getting a massage in a massage shop in Phuket, there is over a 50% chance that your therapist will be interested more in offering extras than giving you an honest massage. If you are really interested in a good and strong Thai massage, try going to one of those expensive outlets such as Let’s Relax or De Flora Spa.

Types of Massage

Foot Massage Chairs in Phuket Massage Shop
Foot Massage Chairs in Phuket Massage Shop

I have published a detailed article on the types of massage, prices, and what to expect from the massage shops in Pattaya. Everything is generally the same in Phuket too, except for the price and the naughty factor. I request you to read this article on Pattaya Massage Shops so that I do not have to repeat everything here. When you click the above link, the Pattaya article will open in a new tab, and you can return to this article whenever you want. In short, massage shops in Phuket typically have foot massage, Thai massage, and oil massage on their menu and most customers choose one from these three options.

Cost of a Massage in a Massage Shop in Phuket

In Phuket, a Thai or a foot massage usually costs 300 THB, and an oil massage costs 400 or 500 THB, all for one hour. These prices are approximately 50% higher than the prices in Pattaya. Quality-wise, Pattaya is better. I will elaborate this.

What is Wrong With Massage Shops in Phuket

Because most massage shops are primarily in the business of extras, there is much less emphasis on quality of the massage and the cleanliness of massage beds.

Dirty Bed Sheets

Many shops do not provide clean bed sheets for every new customer, unless the customer insists on it. They keep re-using the sheets as long as possible.

Untrained Staff

A therapist who earns her living by giving extra services can’t be expected to have learnt the techniques of a real Thai or foot massage. Yes, some of them are trained and/or experienced and can manage a decent massage but somewhere along the way, massage for health will be forgotten and massage for fun will begin. If you do not know, you can’t even imagine to what extent the extras go in those shops. And when they find out that you are not interested in extras, they will rather spend the remaining time looking at the clock on the wall.

How To Deal With the Problem

It can be easy if before agreeing to a massage, you tell the staff that you do not want any extra. Say something like: “Only massage, no special.” And if the therapist smiles and says “No special, no problem”, then perhaps you will be OK. Otherwise, just stick to foot massage because that happens in the front of the shop where no extra is possible. Thai and oil massage beds are in the back of the shop or on the upper floors.

If you find yourself stuck in an uncomfortable situation, be very polite in saying no. Do not get angry. If they end the massage early, let it be so. You are going to give them just 300 THB, it does not matter.

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