I know gift certificates are an impersonal gift, but so are bath sets and candles. I’m slightly disappointed that no one has ever given me a spa voucher for my birthday or Christmas. I’m definitely all about experiences over material goods, especially when those goods are useless things like a basket of random crackers and jam. I go to the spa to get my eyebrows waxed but I’ve never had the full, massage or treatment experience. Although, I’ve experienced the typical reason people head to the spa in Asia, which is to get an awesome massage. There are differences and similarities between what a Western spa offers and being pampered on the streets of South East Asia.
- When going to a Western spa, you have to make an appointment and in SE Asia every other store has a woman begging to rub your feet.
- A thirty minute spa massage can cost you anywhere from $40-$200 and in Asia it will only cost you $2-$8.
- In Asia, a pedicure can consist of little fish eat away at the dead skin on your feet and in a North American spa, little women scrub away at your feet.
- Both destinations provide you with something to slip into if you’re getting a back massage. In Asia it’s usually a silk shirt of some sort made for people who weigh 90 pounds and in the Western world they provide you with a giant, cozy robe.
- In Asia, they giggle and point at your big feet and ask you where you’re from, whereas in Western spas they ask you what you’re plans for the weekend are.
- In Asia, happy endings are often offered for a low additional price and in North America, they are only sometimes offered at the scummy spas down the street from a strip club.
- It is polite to tip you’re hairdresser or masseuse in a Western Spa. It’s REALLY nice and slightly unheard of to tip anyone in Asia.
- Asians take great pride in their work and satisfying their customers. North American spa employees… do a good job, most of the time.
- Although there are some lovely indoor spas in South East Asia, much of the time you can find yourself in a tiny open area visible to pedestrians walking by, with no air conditioning as you receive your massage, pedicure or other. Most Western spas are pretty swanky and private.
- Asian spas do not often use oils with their massages except herbal or essential oils for a select few treatments. Western spas, especially Swedish-style ones, will use copious amounts of wholesale massage oil to ensure a smooth and relaxing experience. If you’re in an Asian spa and they ask if you want oil with your massage, that means they’ve served picky Western tourists in the past.
I think someone should buy me a spa treatment so that I can further investigate these comparisons *wink*. It’s pretty affordable for travelers to get a spa treatment in Asia even if they’re on a budget, whereas a lot of people refuse to spend their money on going to a spa in the Western world.
I had a few massages and pedicures while travelling around South East Asia and now that I am back in Canada, I try to convince my drunk friends to massage my shoulders or play with my hair. It usually doesn’t work, but you gotta loose some to win some right?