A visit to Thao Dien’s traditional Thai spa Leelawadee provides an array of therapeutic treatments sure to leave you feeling revitalized
Leelawadee Thai Therapy Thao Dien was opened a few years ago at 5/19 Duong 64 in Thao Dien by Mimi Noita, a native of Thailand with a desire to bring traditional Thai massage therapy to Ho Chi Minh City. In an effort to maintain authenticity, she imported the treatment products, from oils and balms to herbs and teas, from the Land of Smiles.
I headed to Mimi’s new Leelawadee location on the other side of Thao Dien, on the ground floor of the THT Apartment Building at 215A6 Nguyen Van Huong, D2. Opened in January of this year, this second Leelawadee Spa location brings all the charm and comfort of the original. Enter into a room of inviting tapestries adorning the walls and soothing atmospheric music in the background. In the immersive tranquility of this Thai spa, patrons of Leelawadee can choose from a variety of treatments. There’s the traditional Thai massage (VND350,000 for 60 minutes or VND500,000 for 90), deep tissue massage (VND500,000 for 60 minutes or VND700,000 for 90), Thai herbal hot pack massage (VND950,000 for 120 minutes), aroma therapy with hot stones (VND400,000 for 60 minutes or VND550,000 for 90), foot reflexology (VND300,000 for 60 minutes or VND450,000 for 90) a body scrub (VND500,000 for 75 minutes), or still more treatments to choose from, like a head and shoulder massage, back therapy or a relaxing facial. For pesky hairs in unsightly places they offer waxing treatments as well.
After choosing my 90-minute deep tissue massage (VND700,00), I was brought by the massage therapist to a room with low lighting and a few massage tables adorned in fabrics of customary Thai patterns (also imported). She directed me toward an immaculate bathroom, handing me traditional Thai fisherman pants and a top to change into. I did and when I emerged she directed me toward a table where she washed my feet with a hand towel and warm water before telling me to lie face down. She then provided a simple caveat before commencing, “Deep tissue massage deep, okay?”
“Okay,” I replied, a lover of immense pressure, especially after all the time I’d spent in front of my computer recently because of the pandemic. Well, quickly, I became aware that I should have taken her warning a little more seriously. As she began working the legs it was clear she meant business. By the time she’d worked up to my hips she was kneading into flesh and reaching muscles I never knew could be reached in an intense plundering of tension from these hard to reach places.
There I was under low atmospheric lighting, the pacifying scent of jasmine and lemongrass in the air and a long and winding Thai zither ballad serving as a soundscape, as the masseuse continued up my back, shoulders and neck, administering excruciating pleasure. I actually cried out at one point. She asked if I wanted her to ease up, but it was too good, too freeing of the tightness and toxins within, so I peeped back meekly, “I’m okay.”
After a while she asked if I wanted to take off the shirt for the use of oil, which I did. This lovely small-statured masseuse with the hands of an ironworker then continued with well-oiled acupressure. I’ve never had a deep tissue massage that managed to get that deep and feel that restorative. At times I saw stars, and it was simply incredible.
When the massage was over it took me a few minutes to get up off the table and change back into my clothes. There’s a shower for anyone who wants it and a steam room as well, but instead I wandered outside to retrieve my motorbike in a euphoric daze. That night I slept like a baby for 10 straight hours, waking the next morning loose and limber. While I may relish the intensity of my deep tissue massage experience at Leelawadee Spa, not to worry, they’ll gladly tailor any treatment to your level of pressure or comfort.
Leelawadee Spa’s two locations in Thao Dien are open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. For more information or to make a reservation give them a call at 0899342956 or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LeelawadeeThailand.
Images by Vy Lam