If you are in Bangkok for work or holiday and have a half day to spare, and if you don’t feel up to a temple or market visit, I have a recommendation for you. Actually, except for its location, in Bangkok, it’s not even a Thai recommendation.
This suggestion relates to the commitment I have made to myself to start taking more advantage of the lovely spa offerings in this city, and Thailand in general. Last Saturday’s pick was a winner.
Su Esthetics, where I got “worked on” for the afternoon, is a Korean day spa in Bangkok. Their website offers a few special packages, and I went all in for a 2.5 hour treatment session – currently, Traditional Korean Scrub Package C. I booked online and received a phone call the day before to confirm the treatment and time. All was in English. When I arrived, I was greeted by name and provided some tea – then the receptionist / host talked me through what I was about to experience. I was also asked about my preferred intensity of massage (medium-hard).
Somehow though, even with the prelude, the vaginal steam bath was a suprise. This was the fist part of my treatment. In Korea it’s a thing, and it’s called, “chai-yok.” I did not anticipate being instructed to flip my robe up over a hole carved in a wooden box and sit on it. Yes, I did read the treatment summary before I signed up, but the mechanics of it all just didn’t sink in. Underneath the hole in the box stool was a steaming pot of herbs. When you sit down the steam has nowhere to go but right up into your lovely lady parts. It was, well steaming hot. I needed to shift around a bit at times to get more comfortable. Post spa research revealed to me that this is a centuries old tradition in Korea. The pot would have contained mugwort tea and wormwood, and possibly other herbs. These “V-streams” are thought to have a multitude of benefits including fighting infections, reducing stress, aiding in infertility and regulating menstrual cycles. Who knew?
After that was a shower. Then into a Japanese style hot tub in another room I went for a nice soak to soften my my skin for the scrub. The soak was relaxing and fun – I felt a bit like a miner forty-niner in a spaghetti western film sitting in the perfectly round barrel style tub.
After that there was another shower and then I flopped my hot, wet body (I’m still wearing the typical-in-Thailand disposable panties provided for aromatherapy massages that I was instructed to put on after the steam and before the hot tub) onto the prepared vinyl covered bed in the same room as the hot tub. Now the sloughing starts and I really feel like a piece of meat. Korean masseurs use special gloves which have a built in sandpaper component, so the lady working on me only needed to rub her gloved hands on me, which she methodically did, without missing a spot. The dead skin that didn’t jump off my body when it saw those gloves coming was certainly removed of its residence during the scrub. The sensation was rough but therapeutic and hypnotic all at the same time. I felt like my body was birthing the skin of a newborn babe.
Once this was over it was time to slide my newly pink skin into another shower.
Up to this point I am about 1 hour in.
Then I am removed into a pleasantly appointed massage room. I plop onto a comfortable massage bed and close my eyes. The massage and facial begin. There was collagen in the facial and many other aromas and sensations. All ingredients are natural. Milk is featured. At some point there was an electric light therapy of some sort. A vitamin C mask was applied. The body massage was interlaced with the facial and was thorough – again the masseuse does not miss a part, even my breasts and stomach got the treatment. My masseuse checked in with me regularly to make sure I was getting a satisfactory intensity of pummeling, which I was.
In the end I have to say my skin has never felt as soft, and while I’m not 100% sure, I do think some of my facial lines went away. I had only one desire: to slide into silk pjs or sheets and drift off to sleep.
The experience was excellent, and given the price of 2,200 THB (about $65) plus tip, I have to admit I am looking for the next opportunity to go back. How long does one need to wait between Korean body scrubs, I found myself wondering as I said my good-byes to the attentive host?
This was one of several package deals, and the spa also offers its services la carte. Su Esthetics is located in a tastefully decorated residential house on a small soi (street) off Sukhumvit 26. It’s a short walk from the Phrom Pong BTS stop, or if you happen to be staying at either the Hilton or Doubletree Hilton, it’s an even shorter walk.
Before departing, I couldn’t help but notice that they offer a new moringa oil and argon oil facial and body massage treatment. Intriguing.