Wat Po Thai Massage School, Bangkok

I’ve always wanted to learn Thai Massage – I just have and when my friend told me she wanted to go and had found a school I was IN! The sad part was, she couldn’t go. So, I went alone to Wat Po Thai Massage School in Bangkok.

What sold me on the school that it was in a temple -wow so cool. When I did my research online about the school there’s almost nothing about the school except one article in SCMP┬áthat reiterates the temple teachings as well lets you know that the masseuse from The Pennisula get trained there, well, WOWEE!

The basic massage course is about 300USD for 30hours, 9am-4pm for 5 days. The interesting thing is that the course starts any day of the week except Sunday. The NOT SO INTERESTING THING IS – it’s not in a temple, womp womp what a huge let down. This school is associated with Wat Pho the famous temple in Bangkok. Inside the temple is a place where you can get a thai massage however no teaching happens there. The teaching happens across the street in a non descript building.

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This is kind of a crappy picture, but I guess this is what it looks like.

It is in one word, exhausting. Physically it’s very tiring. Not just your hands but your back, your knees, your hips!! It requires a lot of flexibility to do thai massage, especially in your own feet because you’re constantly moving around on your toes, on the back of your toes and I had to get several massages myself just to relieve myself from massaging!

From 9-4 you practice massage and you get practiced on as well, which sounds like fun and it kind of is but students practicing on you isn’t really a true massage – more just like someone touching you. Besides that there is A LOT to know in thai massage, the positions – the movements, the techniques and because of that it’s trying to remember all those details while someone gives you the massage as well.

After class, I tried to take advantage of the SHOPPING in Bangkok, and I went to a lot of markets but I was so tired, I didn’t buy much. After eating dinner I would be back in my hotel around 7-8pm and then I’d have to study all the movements again.

Thai massage is comprised of 5 sections. A full massage should take 2 hours. This obviously means you need to study, you need to practice. My brain was so full – hardcore Asian student study mode and you know what? I nailed that exam. Yes, there’s an exam.

Practice, practice, practice until your hands hurt, knees hurt, hips hurt, back hurts.

Practice, practice, practice until your hands hurt, knees hurt, hips hurt, back hurts.

If you’re interested in doing Thai Massage School here are my thoughts on this particular school:

Pros:

  • Small class sizes
  • Official massage school in Thailand
  • Free professional massages if you need them during class because your body is breaking
  • Great price!
  • Really cool neighbourhood with both hip restaurants and street food

Cons:

  • Language barrier – teachers are not super fluent in English
  • Teaching method is very non Western, there is no try and fail, there’s try and YOU’RE WRONG AND WE MADE SURE YOU KNEW IT
  • It’s not in a temple as advertised
  • It’s not theory based so this you will need to learn on your own – it’s execution based. I would suggest knowing some anatomy and read up on meridian lines.
  • It’s not easily accessible by public transit unless you take a boat, I opted to stay at a hotel right next door. Hotels in the area range from 50-100USD a night which is rubbish because 5 star hotels in Bangkok start at 120USD/night, so major con.

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