Hidden Treasure Of Soi 33/2
Where you are more than likely the only non-Japanese patron, with young Thai lady staff serving the clientele, would you expect to receive the same service and prices as everyone else?
Would you expect the prices to be virtually the same as six years ago? If your answer is no, you haven't been to the curiously named +Cefle. It is located on a side soi that also contains The Office and Mojo's.
On my first of six or seven yearly sojourns to L.O.S., I was staying quite randomly at the Novotel, now called the Lotus. Strolling around the neighborhood, I serendipitously stumbled across +Cefle on its opening day.
Being a big fan of massage and specifically 'traditional Thai massage', this place, IMHO, is a gem. Interestingly, it was and I still believe is, owned by a Japanese gentleman. There are quite a lot of Japanese residents in the area with a Japanese supermarket one soi over. The patrons seem to be primarily Japanese and it runs with a Japanese like efficiency. The masseuses are all young and often lovely Thai ladies who are well trained.
This is a strictly 'no extras' kind of place where the quality of massage is as good as I have ever gotten for a very reasonable price. Traditional Thai massage, for those who haven't experienced it, is like having yoga done to you. The body is moved around, stretched and kneaded with hands, feet, elbows, knees and just about any conceivable combination thereof.
With soft 'kitaro' like music in the background, the environment is clean and 'Zen like', again more Japanese feel than Thai, but, to be honest, I never thought of that till now. Make no mistake, the massage experience is unequivocally Thai. It is a thing of beauty to observe the lovely serene young ladies, rocking and swaying, using their whole bodies effortlessly to create the desired effect.
There are a few things that are part of the traditional Thai massage at +CEFLE that I very rarely experience at other massage places that are not of the higher end spa like experience.
One is the judicious use of pillows/cushions for support under the legs and/or arms to create the optimal support for relaxation of the body. I am very impressed with the masseuses placement of and use of them.
Another element is the use of a small hot, moist towel over the face and/or neck. This may be used in the two hour massage but not the one hour.
Thirdly, and another element not used in many places is the use of 'balm' on the back. Kind of like a tiger balm, mentholated balm.
One of the first things I do when I arrive in Bangkok is get a two hour massage. I arrived this year three days ago and I have gotten two, two hour massages and one, one hour massage. I truly feel like I am in heaven when receiving them.
Fast forward two weeks. I have been in Chiang Mai and am now headed back to BKK. No doubt there are great massage places in Chiang Mai and in general, the prices for a traditional Thai massage are cheaper in CM. However, it is too easy to take for granted someone who has just the right touch and rhythm.
Oftentimes in massage places, the staff turns over rather frequently. My favorite masseuse, Oil is her name, has been at Cefle for over three years now. She is as light as a feather but has just the right touch for me.
There are photos and numbers of the masseuses working behind the counter so you can see and ask for Oil, #15, if you like. She is very cute, is married and has a child, FYI. I again say that this is strictly a traditional, no extras place.
Other ladies there are also well trained. This is also a place where the masseuses don't have their cellphones with them which I find particularly inappropriate when getting a massage and that has happened more than once here in Chiang Mai.
And, if the ladies talk with each other during the massage (which is rare here in my experience) they will do so in a whisper.
The prices hadn't changed in the many years I have been going there, until this January 1. The one hour traditional Thai massage remains at 250 baht, but the two hour version just went from 300 to 350 baht. Truth be told, I could never understand the minuscule difference before for the 'second' hour to be only 50 baht more.
Value for money. A lot has been said and written about the devaluation of the US dollar and the rising costs of living or vacationing in Thailand. From my perspective the prices of massage versus the same experience in the States, is still a phenomenal value here in Thailand. A two hour traditional Thai massage like +Cefle would easily be in the 80-100 dollar range in the US. Even with the newly increased price of 350 baht for the two hour, equaling about 11.65 is in the range of a 7-9 times savings. I can't think of any other product or service with the same or better ratio.
I hope you enjoy and get a very relaxing massage. I would be interested in hearing others' experiences.
It sure is hard to beat a good traditional Thai massage.