Walk A Mile in My Shoes—A Thai Massage

by Nancy Bestor

Bob and I walk a lot when we travel—a whole lot. It is not unusual for us to walk 8–10 miles in a day. We often choose our two feet over taxis and buses for the simple fact that we can stop anywhere we want, for as long as we want, for an up-close glimpse of the city we are visiting. Thus, on a recent visit to Bangkok’s Chatuchak weekend market, which covers more than 27 acres and houses more than 15,000 booths, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a sign for a foot and leg massage. It sounded like manna from heaven.

While the Chatuchak market is a big tourist destination in Bangkok, far more locals than tourists shop here. And they can find just about anything they need from underwear to kitchen gadgets, and from dried flowers to pets, just to name a few things.

We were at the market on a very hot Sunday. We walked down aisle after aisle after aisle, looking at all the wares on display, including fresh and packaged foods, housewares, clothing & shoes, jewelry, furniture, handicrafts, antiques, live animals, and oh so much more. As I am wont to do, I was looking for the “perfect” gifts to take home. I’m not the most efficient shopper, and in a place like Bangkok, I am easily distracted, particularly by food. Case in point, we ate two meals here (although I like to call them snacks) before lunch.

The market is purportedly organized by product, and there is even a map that points out its various “departments,” in the event you need a particular item. But the organization is very loose, and we couldn’t figure out much method to the madness. So we wandered aimlessly down aisle after aisle, and it took a long time for me to decide what I wanted to buy. Bob humored me, but when we came upon a booth advertising foot and leg massages for 141 Thai Bhat ($4.00) for 30 minutes, he decided he was going on break. Not only were there half a dozen masseuses ready and waiting, the booth was a clear vinyl tent enclosure that was air-conditioned. Say no more. We were sold.

We told the woman in charge that we both wanted foot/leg massages, and our two masseuses got right to work. They took their jobs very seriously—there was no chatting, no laughing, and not even any smiling—just a fabulously invigorating, deep tissue massage. There are so many things I love about Thailand, and a Thai massage is right up there with the best of them. My legs and feet were rejuvenated in that all too short 30-minute rub down, and I was ready to explore more of the Chatuchak market, or at least find a good spot to get some lunch.