Where to Get a Massage in Chiang Mai

I feel I have to add a disclaimer to this post, because I am in no way a fan of massages in Thailand. I walk out, after being kneaded and touched so personally for an hour or more, feeling quite vulnerable, and for lack of a better word, strange. And yes, that might seem strange in itself, but I haven't been able to get around it. So I just don't do massages, and maybe I'm missing out - what do you think?

But, there is hope for those of you who might be similar to me, or maybe those who are new to Thai massages or just massages in general. I found someone who makes me feel totally comfortable and secure, and whose gentle manner is irresistible - so irresistible I had to dedicate a post to her!

Her name is Nok, and she gives the best massages I've come across in Thailand - gentle, but not too gentle, and with some infectious laughter thrown in for free.

Nok, the lady with the gentle touch.

The name of the place is Leelavadee by Sarapee Massage, and it's located down a quiet soi a little way outside the old city. Its location means it's not frequented by tourists (the few times I've walked into those places I was immediately put off by the lack of personal touch) and the lack of tacky décor is another good sign. The women who work there are personable and speak a little English, and the owner is an elderly man who has a thing for serving copious amounts of Pandan tea (nobody's complaining). I've listed the services Leelavadee offers below, as well as some photos, and if you do end up going, please share your experience in the comments!

Leelavadee Price List:

(Open every day besides Tuesday from 11:00 - 21:00)

Body & Feet:

Thai Massage
Foot Massage
Oil Massage
Body Scrub
Foot Scrub

Head & Face:

Ayurvedic Oil Head Massage
Facial Threading
Thai-Indian Herbal Facial
Herbal Steam

Hot Wax:

Half Leg
Full Leg

I've also included a few places below that are highly recommended by my friends and boyfriend (it seems everyone is looking for a great massage in Chiang Mai, without any funny stuff or bored masseuses talking on their phones while massaging people) so have a look at those too, and let me know if you've found a gem of a place in Chiang Mai, and I might just include it!

View Where to Get a Massage in Chiang Mai in a larger map

Some cute statues at the entrance to Leelavadee.
Outside area, decked with funny bubble chairs.
Some interesting books and magazines in their collection - if only I could read Thai!
The waiting area where you get to guzzle all the Pandan tea you desire.
Quaint décor in a quiet setting.
Lots of old authentic Thai thingymabobs.

Recommended Massage Places (nothing dodgy here):

- Lila Thai Massage - this well-known place has always received great recommendations from friends. The masseuses are all former inmates that are being offered the chance to earn a dignified living and successfully re-integrate themselves into society, which many are not able to do given the discrimination that former inmates face in Thailand's job market. They have quite a few branches around Chiang Mai.
- Ketthawa Thai Massage (no website) - this was my boyfriend's favourite place to get a massage, and from a male masseur, because he was much stronger than most women masseuses... and my boyfriend suffers from a really stiff back and neck. There are also female masseuses at this place, and massages start from a very reasonable 150 baht - probably because this place is not at all marketed to foreigners, and no one speaks English! But give it a try if it sounds like your sort of place.
Lanna Thai Massage School - this is where we did a 5-day massage course which was worth every penny and taught us invaluable techniques which we still practise on each other today. The people who work here are kind, patient and the massages they give are very attentive to your problem areas. Highly recommended!


  1. I definitely vouch for this place as well. I've been here tons of times and even when the masseuses change, they are still very professional and personable. Good post Adrian!

    1. Thank you! I agree they are good - maybe I can get a photo of the other lovely women who work there too?

  2. This is on my 'to do list': wow lovely experience you have shared

    1. Thanks Anon, and I hope yours is a positive one like this was for me =)

  3. I agree that getting a Thai massage can possibly be a good or negative experience, but it sounds like Nok has the perfect touch! :D I just came back from my first visit to Thailand and getting a Thai massage was at least an interesting experience. If I could tell my past self anything about Thai massages, I'd say don't go to a cheap kind of touristy place, go somewhere more established and homey looking (like the place you went). That's where I had the best experience, not the touristy place. :D

    1. Hah, I'm like a cat in water in any sort of touristy-type places - I honestly find them overwhelming and gaudy. So yeah, homey and laidback is best! =) And I'm glad you did have an enjoyable experience at some point, although... did you have a bad one at a touristy place???

  4. to answer your question... I don't think you are missing out if you don't enjoy them. You found your special someone who makes you feel comfortable and that's important, but you will ruin it if you keep having bad massages. that's how I am. Nice place, wish I could check it out for real

    1. Thanks for your input, Kaileeee! I feel the same!

  5. I went there this week but Nok wasn't there and the owner couldn't tell me when she'd be back. He did give me a lot of tea though, haha! The other lady was nice too, she's not pictured here. Good work Adrian

  6. Wonderful to dedicate this post to Nok - her place sounds great. Your post is also informative to visitors who want massages and don't want to get caught paying lots of money for something that's not so good. Really cool that you and your boyfriend have done a massage course.

  7. i am too nervous to have a massage coz don't think i could relax but lovely to know there are positive experiences...