Nothing completes a long day of touring in Hoi An better than a blissful and relaxing massage. Finding a spa will be easy as there are literally hundreds of them to choose from. They are on every street in Hoi An and if you look out your hotel window, chances are there's one next door. For as little as $10 you can enjoy a 60 minute full body massage!
Before running out to the closest spa, you'll need to do some homework. We learned the hard way not all massages in Hoi An are created equal. The level of training, cleanliness and professionalism vary greatly so it's important to do some research first. We'll give you all of our best tips and suggestions on how to make your Hoi An Massage a great one!
What to Expect From The Typical Hoi An Massage
Typical “Asian Blend” Massages in Hoi An consist of the same routine.
You will be offered a drink while your feet are soaked and washed in a warm foot bath. You will then be shown to your massage room or curtained area.
Usually you will be asked to undress down to your underwear. In some spas the may provide a pair of silky boxer shorts to wear. Unlike Bali massages they do not provide disposable underwear. The masseuse may or may not leave the room while you undress. For females this could be an issue as you would be topless. If you are uncomfortable, you can ask them to give you a moment so you can into position laying face down.
The massage usually begins with some tiger balm being held under your nose. They then lay a towel over top you and start massaging through the towel on your legs, back and shoulders for a few minutes. After that they will pull the towel back and tuck it into your underwear. The very top of your buttocks may be exposed.
They spend a good amount of time massaging your back and shoulders using oil. There is usually a combination of hands, elbows and forearms used. During this time the masseuse will ask “is pressure ok?” Only use the words “Softer” or “harder” as they most likely won't understand anything else.
After completing your back, they will wash it with a warm cloth to remove the oil. Then move on to your calves and the back of your thighs. Then it's time to turn over where they will massage the front of your legs, arms, top of your chest and head.
The massage usually is completed with you sitting up so they can rub your back and shoulders one last time for a few minutes.
Hoi An Massage Tips
Hoi An Massage Prices
At first glance Hoi An Massage prices are higher than most places in southeast Asia.
The spa menus have their highest prices possible posted. These are NOT the prices you should pay.
These listed prices are for tourists that don't ask for a deal and just accept the price. If you are one of those people, stop doing that! You are driving up prices for everyone else. Ask for a better price then the one that is posted on the menu. Most of the time it seems to be “Happy Hour” at every spa in Hoi An. This is their sales pitch where prices will generally be anywhere from 20% to 50% off.
Here is an average rule-of-thumb for pricing (After Negotiation):
60 Minute Full Body Massage: 200K Dong ($10 US)
90 Minute Full Body Massage: 300K Dong ($15 US)
30 Minute Foot Massage: 100K Dong ($5 US)
Note* Closer to Ancient Town and the Night Market prices can be higher.
60 Minute Full Body Massage: 400K – 600K Dong ($20-$30 US)
90 Minute Full Body Massage: 600K – 1.5M Dong ($30-$65 US)
30 Minute Foot Massage: 200K – 400K Dong ($10-$20 US)
Spas Catering to Koreans
From our experience we found quite a few spas that catered mostly to a Korean clientele. You can spot these spas easily as the main sign will be in Korean rather than English or Vietnamese. These spas tend to be more expensive due to paying tour companies a percentage of their sales for bringing in clientele.
One of the best ways to know what your getting into is ASK! This may be challenging if they don't speak any english. Usually the person at the front door will know some basic english and if not, use google translate. Here are questions we always ask at the entrance before committing.
- Can I see the massage room please? They should be eager to show off their massage rooms if they are clean and peaceful. That way you can get an idea of the atmosphere you'll be in. Things to look for are cleanliness, lighting, space between beds, private rooms or curtains, music and overall vibe.
- Do you change the towels and sheets between customers? I know what your thinking. That should go without saying right!? Not even close. Many spas only change their towels once per day. If you ever have doubts you can ask them to change the sheets and towels before your massage.
Before you get a Hoi An massage, make sure to check the reviews. Google reviews and Trip Advisor will be your best bet. Watch for “local guides” on Google who do a lot of reviews. On Trip Advisor, only look at reviews from people who have more than one or two contributions. Unfortunately there are lots of fake reviews so it's good to read reliable ones rather than just relying on the overall rating. I would stay clear of Spa's that don't have any reviews or aren't listed at all. There are so many spas to choose from it's a safer bet to get a massage from a well established business.
Things To Watch Out For
Not all of my experiences were good getting massages in Hoi An. I'm not going to name the spas involved but if you stick to my list below you should be good to go!
Cleanliness: One of my biggest concerns is always cleanliness. After one of the massages, I was horrified. My masseuse said “finished” so I got up and started to get changed into my clothes. While I was doing that she took my used oily towel and refolded it into the towel animal it was in when I arrived. She then placed it on top of where I had been laying for the previous 90 minutes for the next customer. SICK!
That means when I came into the room I had no idea how many people before me had used that same sheet and towel. I literally ran home to take a shower.
The only way to prevent this is to ask for a fresh linen when you arrive in the room but the language barrier can make this a tough request. The only other thing you can do is to take good look at the sheets and towels with the lights on. Make sure there are no stains or marks from previous guests and if there are, point them out so they can be changed.
Cell Phones: They love their cell phones here! If you all of a sudden feel that you are being given a one handed massage, have a quick look back. There were a few times where the massage completely changed pace and felt like I was being petted rather than massaged. More likely than not your masseuse is on their cell phone. Politely say “no cell phone please” if it continues ask to speak to a manager.
Solicitation: Unless you are actively seeking that kind of dodgy service, you aren't going to run into it in Hoi An. There were no occurrences on the street or inside any of the spa's in Hoi An where extra services or a “happy ending” was offered. Many of the spas are family run establishments that also caters to families. Hoi An is a safe town where you don't need to worry about being propositioned. Always stick to store front spas that have great reviews and there will be no issues.
I didn't experience anyone that demanded tips but I've heard it happens. If you had a great massage, make sure to tip your masseuse. The staff that work at spas in Hoi An are paid a salary or per massage. Any money you give them will be on top of that. Salaries are not high in Vietnam so tips do mean a lot to them. 10% to 20% is normal but not mandatory.
Best Places To Get A Massage in Hoi An
To compile our list of the best places to get a massage, we asked expat groups, seasoned Hoi An travelers and people who spend a lot of time in Hoi An. Combined with our own personal experiences, here are spas we can confidently recommend.
*The prices below are there advertised list price and MAY be negotiable.
Click on their name to visit their website/menu
Citrus Health Spa is voted by expats as one of their favorite spas in Hoi An! Their 60 minute massages starting at 360K dong ($15 US). This highly rated spa uses their own organic garden to produce herbs for their treatments.
Another expat favorite is the Palmarosa Spa. 60 Minute massage treatments start at 380K Dong ($16 US). The spa features luxurious private massage rooms and is a 10 minute walk from Ancient Town.
Heaven Garden Spa is An Bang's Beach top rated spa among expats and locals. Their team of trained professionals provide relaxing outdoor treatment in spotless clean facilities. 60 minute massages start at 350K Dong ($15 US)
Phuoc Lavender Spa provides highly professional massages at a fraction of the cost compared to the luxury spas. 60 minute massages start at 360K ($16 US). They are rated as one of the top on spas in Hoi An on Trip Advisor and is known to have many repeat loyal clients.
Body Works spa is a 10 minute walk from Ancient Town and features clean and high quality massages. 60 minute massages start at 250K Dong ($11.00 US). The friendly, english speaking owner of spa is on location everyday to ensure every client has a great experience. It was one of my favorite spas in Hoi An as they made you feel like a truly valued client rather than just another tourist. My vote for top value Hoi An massage.
Mimosa Spa was also one of my top choices for consistent high quality massages in Hoi An. They are located just off the night market but are still affordable compared to other spas in the neighborhood. 60 Minute full body massages start at 250K Dong ($11 US). Their private rooms are spotless and lighting is perfect for a nice relaxing Hoi An massage. Again the english speaking owner of the spa was friendly and made you feel like a valued client rather than just another tourist.
Coral spa is one of the highest rated spas on Trip Advisor and Google. They are known for giving one of the best Hoi An massages in a high quality luxurious spa environment. 60 minute massages start at 500K Dong ($23 US). I am going to visit this spa before I leave Hoi An and post it here if it was worth the extra cost. From what a few people have told me so far, their vote has been yes!
Luxury Wellness Spas
If you are looking for a luxurious and modern spa in Hoi An, My Chi Spa at the Almanity Wellness Resort delivers. This gorgeous western style spa will pamper you from start to finish with ultra luxurious surroundings. It is a full spa experience that caters to the most discerning of clients. 60 minute luxury massage treatments start at 1.4M Dong ($60 US). Hotel rooms at the resort also include a 45 minute body massage.
The spa at Anantara resort is a luxury spa that provides high end treatments in a professional spa setting. 60 Minute treatments start at 1.5M Dong ($65 US). Every spa experience is catered to each individuals needs ensuring the highest level of quality and relaxation.
Hoi An offers some of best and most affordable massages in the world. Chances are you're going to have a relaxing and therapeutic massage when following this guide! Try out different spas and discover which one you like best! Make sure to tip for great service and be kind. The therapists that work in these spas work extremely hard for not a whole lot.