Most of us tourists who visit Thailand end up indulging in a Thai massage. But, as tourists we believe that we are getting an authentic one, but with the huge demand for massages, massage parlors have sprung up all around the country and at every tourist location. And these massage parlors that look authentic to us are not the true Thai ones. The traditional and authentic ones end up remaining a secret and known only to the locals or a select few travelers who have local contacts or stay for a longer time in Thailand.
The model in this photo is Chris, my travel blogger friend who writes on Tieland to Thailand.
But, I found a great place when I visited Prachinburi on an invite from the tourism authority of Thailand. This town located in the Central part of Thailand and at about 100 kms away from Bangkok is not on the itinerary of many tourists. But, it certain deserves more attention as it is one of the more important spots related to traditional Thai Medicine.
The main attraction here is the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr hospital, which was once a colonial building and royal residence in the early 20th century. But, since that time, this place has morphed into a famous hub for herbal products and traditional Thai medicine.
The colonial building that is a part of this hospital was constructed with the personal funds of Chao Phraya Abhaibhubate, the then governor of Prachinburi, as a residence of King Rama V during his visit to this province. The king never got to stay in this colonial building and upon his death, the building went to his queen who finally laid the foundation for converting this into a hospital.
It is because of this hospital that Prachinburi is perceived as a medical hub in Thailand, especially with the local Thai people. Apart from rendering traditional Thai healthcare, this place houses a traditional Thai medicine museum to help visitors understand Thai herbal wisdom and traditional healing. The hospital works together with the local community in doing herbal farming, which gives a livelihood to the farmers and helps the hospital get their raw ingredients.
As a visitor, if you feel like testing these Thai medicines and herbal products, you can walk over to the herbal shop inside the hospital premises and pick from an interesting array of herbal products that include cosmetics, tea, daily use medicines, pain relieving balms, tea, health drinks and more. The prices are extremely reasonable and the quality is nearly international standard. The only difference being, the end product is completely natural.
This hospital also leverages the knowledge of traditional Thai medicine and dovetails it into traditional Thai massages and the end result is a massage that can get rid of most of your muscle related ailments. The hospital has a massage center that offers massages to visitors for a reasonable charge. Personally, I took a massage here and found it to be a great experience and much better than the massages that I took in the tourist areas across Thailand. I am happy I found this place. You should go too and find the true traditional Thai medicine and massages here.