Soapy massage is a treat every men visiting Thailand should experience at least once in their lifetime. It consists of a soapy shower or bath with a naked masseuse, followed by full service. At some places does the treatment also include a bubbly body-to-body massage on an air mattress.
Soapy massage parlours in Thailand are either purpose built buildings or converted hotels, and they can be anything from old shacks to luxurious establishments with large suites. What they all have in common is a “fishbowl”, which is a brightly lit area where the masseuses are seated while they are waiting for customers. In older parlours is the “fishbowl” a separate room with a large glass wall, hence the name. In modern parlours does the “fishbowl” resemble a hotel lobby.
Age limit for visitors is 20 years by the law.
Upon arrival will you be greeted by a Mamasan or Papasan. Their work for commission and will do their best to convince you to select one – or maybe two – of the ladies.
If you have any special wishes, for example girls with special skills or attributes, just tell the Mamasan, who will be happy to give recommendations. I don’t speak Thai, so I always ask for girls who speak English. And at some parlours can you upgrade to a room with Jacuzzi for a few hundred bath extra.
Most parlours rate the girls depending on their age and appearance. Thais consider young, tall, slim girls with fair and smooth skin to be the most attractive. The irony is that slightly older girls are more experienced and may give a better experience for less.
At many parlours will you find some girls outside the fishbowl; they are called “sideliners”, “students” or “models” and are considered to be more attractive, and pricy.
You are always free to leave if you cannot find someone you like or Mamasan is too pushy.
At most soapy parlours do the girls have number tags. The colour or a letter on her tag identifies the price level. If the girls don’t have number tags, ask for the price before you make your choice, or Mamasan may be tempted to overcharge you. Be also aware that some parlours in Bangkok charge foreigners extra.
Some parlours pay commission to taxi drivers, which is added to your bill. To avoid this, ask the taxi driver to drop you off at an address nearby, for example a hotel.
Soapy parlours have a bar where you can relax with a drink and have a good look at the girls before you make your decision. I prefer to sit as close to the girls as possible so they can see me. A smiling and waving girl is always a good sign.
In Bangkok is it mandatory to buy a drink for you and the girl. It costs from 50 to 150 bath per drink, which is paid for in cash to a maid, who also sells lotion and other accessories to the girls.
Bangkok has more than 20 soapy parlours of good standard, and most of them promote themselves as places for “massage and entertainment”. In addition are there numerous less fashionable parlours. Standard treatment is soapy shower or bath followed by intercourse. Only Cupidy offers bubbly body-to-body (B2B)massage on an air mattress. There are also B2B parlours in Bangkok offering soapy massage; the main difference is that they are smaller and don’t have “fish bowl”, but let the masseuses lined up in front of the guest instead.
Pattaya has at least five soapy parlours of good standard. They are called “body massage” parlours. Almost all of them offer bubbly B2B massage on an air mattress, and the price level is lower than at other places.
Phuket, Patong has a soapy parlour with bubbly B2B massage: Christin Massage.
Samui has one soapy parlour near the airport: The Resort Entertainment.
Some words about tipping
Tipping is not mandatory, but it is a nice gesture. The staff have very low wages, so even a small tip will make a difference for them.
At least should you tip the staff serving the drinks. Just round up the bill, for example 20.
The Mamasan (or Papasan) may be paid as little as 100 bath in commission per masseuse. So I recommend to give them a tip when they do their job well.
You may expect that the girls are well paid. But they may get as little as 20 % of what you have paid. So if you have had a good experience, you should tip her. I recommend 300 bath. Sometimes do I tip the girl in advance and receive a more enthusiastic service.