One of the first stops in Vietnam for many travelers is the massage parlor! Going for a massage in Vietnam (along with street food and world-class shopping) is an important part of the tourist industry here and a perfect escape from the heat and bustle outside. But what’s so special about massage in Vietnam? Here is a list of popular massages you will find in Vietnam and some recommended massage parlors in Saigon, Hanoi, and Hoi An!
What is Vietnamese Massage?
Massage therapy has existed in Vietnam for centuries. In the early days, massage parlors were seen as shady businesses where men would have an affair or simply stay away from their wives. In fact, it is considered shameful to be recognized when walking out of such an establishment. There aren’t many such cases anymore, so feel free to enjoy a good massage here as much as you like!
Vietnamese massage was mainly influenced by Chinese therapies but has evolved to be unique in that it really focuses on massaging and resolving knots in the muscles. In contrast, Thai massage uses a variety of muscular movements, stretching and moving the limbs. To add confusion to the mix, a foot massage doesn’t have to be just a foot massage! Most places will supplement body massage to some extent. And does acupressure really work? It depends on who you ask! But many foot massage parlors claim it can do wonders for your body just by invigorating the pressure points on your feet. Some salons will also use hot stones strategically placed at points on your body to stimulate and warm up the muscles in the area. Again, does this work? Maybe, but the point is that it feels good. So how do you know which massage parlor or spa is right for you? This is the way…
Things you need to know about Massage in Vietnam:
- Some massage parlors are staffed by well-dressed women who keep an eye on potential customers as they pass by (especially in Saigon). These places may not seem like a legit spa but most are. They are like a men’s club where men can shave properly, sit in the sauna or lounge in the VIP area, order food and get a massage at the same time!
- Many masseuses offer their services by the roadside or on the beach in public. These massages tend to be much cheaper than at age-old spas but for a basic foot massage, nothing gets better than this!
If you go to a place that says it’s a foot spa, the process and options are pretty straightforward. You will be instructed to lie on a bed/foot massage chair and will be given shorts to change into, although some places do not require you to change. Then all you have to do is simply fall into a state of total bliss for the duration of your massage!
- At established spas, massage menus can be quite lengthy. These spas are usually more expensive, so it will be hard to find one that offers a $5 massage. It is questionable whether a simple foot massage in these places is much better than at a dedicated foot massage parlor. Spas are better known for their facials, body scrubs, and other spa treatments.
- A word about tips – many ‘men’s clubs’ establishments will ask for a hefty tip. For example, if your service is only 120,000 VND, you may have to spend more than 100,000 VND in tips. The reason is that the girls working there only earn commissions so tipping is almost expected. Be careful as this surprises many tourists. At spas and foot massage parlors, many offer prices with tips. If it doesn’t state that anywhere, be sure to clarify! This is important as they will either state that a tip is not necessary or give you a specific number on what the minimum tip should be. It’s best to set all of these up before you begin your massage. Also, make sure you bring enough cash to pay for your massage as many spas do not accept credit cards in Vietnam.
- A word of safety when traveling in Vietnam – don’t walk into a spa or massage parlor with a lot of valuables. If a place looks suspicious, it probably is! Visit one of over 100 other massage establishments in the city. And for our female readers, it’s not uncommon for male masseuses, especially in places to give foot massages, but feel free to relax and enjoy the massage as they most likely will make you feel uncomfortable or do something inappropriate.
For a great massage in Vietnam Here are a few recommendations:
The Best Massage Salons In Ho Chi Minh City:
- Indochine Spa: 69 Thu Khoa Garden, Dist.
- Cat Moc Spa: 61-63 Tran Dinh Xu, District 1
- Temple Leaf Spa & Sauna: 32 Thai Van Lung, District 1
The best massage parlors in Hoi An:
- The Calm Spa: 35 Le Thanh Tong, Hoi An
- Citrus Health Spa: 99 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoi An
- Ma Spa: 111B Le Thanh Tong, Hoi An
The Best Massage Salons in Hanoi:
- Omamori Spa: 52A Hang Bun, Ba Dinh District
- Massage only: No. 237 Au Co, Tay Ho District
- Moc Spa: 65A Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem District
We hope you found this article on massages in Vietnam helpful! Regularly follow our blog to get more useful Vietnam travel tips!