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“Easy to find. Hard to Forget” is the most fitting slogan I have ever came across. So much so that I made an exception and decided to do a little review of a spa, places which I usually skip while concentrating on more integrative and functional medicine. To my surprise even spas may offer some form of treatments that can demonstrate clinically proven efficacy comparable to acupuncture such as Tok Sen massage that originates from Northern Thailand. So if you are looking for best spa in Chiang Mai, this is worth consideration.
I was literally passing by Fah Lanna Spa accidentally and something intrigued me to stop and hesitantly look inside. It is located inside the old town in the upper middle area, walking distance from some of the most touristy quarters. But they provide pick up and drop if necessary. What was waiting for me there was nothing short of amazement. The tranquil, soothing atmosphere and rustic, but elegant details in design and decor of the entire premises that was drawing it’s inspiration from traditional, natural and even spiritually inclined motives such as the big gong at the end of the narrow walkway crossing a man-made pond that leads to treatment rooms made immediate impact. And of course quiet spa lounge music and ambient sounds like murmur of water from the pond. I thought I will ask if they would like to be featured on my site in exchange of free trial. And here I go.
Guest Relations Manager Ms.M, as she calls herself, was very attentive and courteous and I immediately felt like coming into a very special place where every single detail has been thoroughly thought out. On arrival guests are offered a cup of Roselle Herbal Tea that was served as “ice tea”, cooled and accompanied by ice cubes. Later when I came for a treatment I was also given a brief health inquiry form to fill out. That enables you to point out areas on your body that you want to concentrate in or avoid. Also the preferred pressure can be addressed.
Their list of treatments is extensive and I was advised to try out one of their specialty called Tok Sen massage. I quote from their website:
“Tok Sen is a northern Thai (Lanna) style massage only found in Chiang Mai. Its therapeutical emphasis on the meridian lines is based on ancient Lanna wisdom and aims to clear blocked energy using a special wooden instrument similar to a hammer and chisel to ease muscle tension using mechanical and sound vibration, working deeply through tissue and muscles. Tok Sen therapy relieves muscle aches and pains, relieves energy blockages, helps poor circulation and nerve problems.”
As I wrote on my TTCM article those actual wooden mallet and wedge that are used on the treatment are usually made of either Tamarind, Teak or Hopea Odorata tree. The most original ones are said to be made of Tamarind tree that was struck by lightning and blessed by Buddhist monks in order to pass the natures energy to the patient. So that was what I chose to go for.
The session that included also basic Thai massage stretching and pressing lasted one hour. It started with applying tiger palm kind of lotion onto the skin to stimulate the blood circulation and then started with the tapping. It had funny rhythmic sound, two fast hits and then moving the wedge along the meridian and then two hits again. Toktok…toktok…toktok. The name of the therapy is therefore very well descriptive. When it reached my shoulder and arms I felt unexpected shivers going around the meridians that were stimulated especially around shoulder blade and back of the arm.
Within the treatment room there was toilet and locker for storing your clothes as they offer brown loose outfit to wear during the treatment. Afterwards at their Fahtara Coffee I was offered a little rice cake kind of snack and herbal tea to finalize the memorable experience. Next to the Coffee there was also souvenir shop selling some spa products and traditional items. After talking with Ms. M while enjoying the snacks, before she had to go to another meeting, I was left wondering the beauty of the premises and was given a little tour by another staff member. He explained about the history behind some traditional artifacts found in different rooms and spaces. The Coffee-Restaurant functions independently so that you can go and have a meal or coffee there and enjoy the atmosphere even if not taking any spa treatments.
They have even their own well providing water for the ponds and they use organic ingredients in their products and do recycle some waste material in an eco-friendly way. And what’s even more noteworthy they have engaged in several social responsibility and charity initiatives such as village school building and elephant rescue sanctuary while boasting as fair employer for it’s staff. And you can see and feel it. This place is not only soulless facade and money making machine set up by faceless globalist investors as some luxury places like many five star hotel chains may turn out to be. Also Ms.M said that she had been working in five star hotel previously, but finds that Fah Lanna Spa offers much better working environment and conditions. Considering they are classy establishment and competing in the luxury day spa category, their prices are still from the lower end that include taxes.
Fah Lanna Spa was the best way to experience true spa pampering first time in my life. It’s definitely among the best spa treatments in Chiang Mai that you can get. I almost felt I never want to leave it. I could literally live in such an oasis. Although being only short visit, this was truly one of the highlights of my latest three months travel in 2016-2017. And I’m not saying that just because I got free trial in exchange of producing this article, as almost all reviews on Tripadvisor are praising the place only with very few exceptions. They have also produced several breathtaking promotional videos. Here is the best in my opinion:
If you are looking for Thai massage workshop and happen to stay on the eastern side of the Moat, Lanna Thai Massage School is maybe the best one. Especially if you stay at Pao Come Boutique House or at Eagle House, it’s just 70 meters away. On my Food and Shelter article you can find more about accommodation options in Chiang Mai.
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Fah Lanna Spa
Address: 57,57/1 Wiang Kaew Road, near corner of Jabhan Road, Sripoom, Ampur Muang, Chiang Mai 50200.
Tel: 053 416191 or 088 804 9984
Email: email(at)fahlanna.com, fahlannaspa(at)gmail.com
10 am – 10 pm
Last appointment 9 pm