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5 Reasons To Study Thai Massage In Thailand

Magnificent Thai temple

 Why learn Thai Massage in Thailand?

Every year thousands of people come to Thailand to study Thai Massage. They have a number of reasons for doing so. Let’s look at them in detail:

Cheaper than in the Western world (for short stays, airfare and accommodation cost will eat up the difference, but for longer study periods it can be cheaper)
The perception is that the training is more authentic or better (not always true)
There is a large selection of Thai Massage schools (very true)
Easy and cheap availability of massage treatments (A big advantage)
It is fun being in Thailand (the atmosphere, the people, the smiles, the entertainment, the food)

Thai Massage study in a pleasant environment

For the purpose of this article, we will shine a spotlight on the last reason, that it’s more enjoyable being in Thailand.

When you study Thai Massage, the quality of education, the cost, and the school selection are all important.

And it does make a big difference if you stay in a boring Motel 6 room in a city that has no atmosphere compared to staying in a holistic hot spot with a vibrant massage community and lots of possibilities for other activities.

That’s what you find in Thailand!

Where to study Thai Massage in Thailand?

Acro yoga in Chiang Mai city park
Thai Massage students play with acro yoga in Chiang Mai’s city park

I often get asked what the best place to learn Thai Massage in Thailand is. This depends on several factors:

  • If you want to be near beaches, then the best choice would be an island in the southern part of Thailand like Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, or Phuket.
  • If you like big city life or you like the curriculum of the famous Wat Po school, then you would have to be in Bangkok.
  • If you prefer to have the biggest choice of schools, a city with lots of atmosphere, the lowest cost of living, a vibrant holistic community, spectacular natural surroundings, and lots of things to do, then Chiang Mai would be your best choice.

Overall Chiang Mai has by far the most factors in its favor. Just keep in mind that there are no beaches within 1000 kilometers.
In this article we will focus on Chiang Mai.

spotlight on Chiang Mai

When should you go

The next question I get asked a lot is what’s the best time of the year to visit Thailand. Let’s start out with the time which you should avoid. That’s March, April and May.

These months are extremely hot, and in the case of Chiang Mai suffer from horrendous air pollution due to agricultural burning. (If you go to the southern islands, the air pollution is not an issue, but it is still hot).

The most pleasant months in Chiang Mai are November, December, and January. That’s when the days are warm and the nights cool down. That’s a big advantage in a country that is almost always hot. That’s also the festival season – more about that later.

July through September is the rainy season in Chiang Mai, but generally it doesn’t rain so much that it will inconvenience you a lot (there can be exceptions). The advantage of this time period is that the cloud cover keeps the temperatures down and that the air is cleaner.

Chiang Mai climate calendar
Which months are best to visit Chiang Mai?

Which Thai Massage school should you choose?

I get asked this question a lot, but it is impossible to answer because it depends on your personal preference:

Do you prefer a small intimate school with a local feeling?
Do you prefer a large school with a massive curriculum, big classes, and a variety of training options to choose from?
Do you prefer one-on-one training where you work directly with a teacher?
How much time and money do you have? Do you want to take an introductory Thai Massage class or a full-fledged multi-month training program?
What teaching style and class options appeal to you most?
Do you want to learn from one specific teacher or in a larger institutionalized environment where you don’t get to choose a teacher?

Finding the best school for you

As you can see, there are many options. There is no ONE best school. If there were, everyone would study Thai Massage there and all other schools would go out of business.

However there might be ONE best school for YOU and your preferences. The only way to find out is to do research on the internet. Look for reviews, check trip advisor and Thailand forums.

Read the website of the schools to find out what they offer, where they are located, if they are in town or out of town, compare prices, etc.

If you have plenty of time, you can also just show up in Chiang Mai and then visit several Thai Massage schools before you make your decision. 

Chiang Mai advantages

Chiang Mai tuk tuk taxis
Chiang Mai “tuk tuk” mini taxis near the old city wall

This is without doubt the most atmospheric major city in Thailand. Here are some factors:

It has a very low cost of living (much cheaper than Bangkok)
It has a laid-back atmosphere with a slow pace of life
People are generally friendly and tolerant
There are lots of attractions in and around Chiang Mai
The natural surroundings are spectacular. The city is surrounded by mountains.
The pleasant winter climate is better than any other place in Thailand
It is a very safe place to be, even for single women
It has the biggest selection of Thai Massage schools in Thailand
Excellent food with plenty of healthy and vegetarian choices

The festival season in Chiang Mai

Float in Chiang Mai flower festival
One of the dozens of colorful floats at Chiang Mai’s flower festival

I already mentioned that November, December, and January have the best climate. In addition, this season is also famous for its spectacular festivals. 

These are mostly multi-day events with huge colorful parades, floats, fireworks, thousands of fire balloons lighting up the sky, and a party atmosphere. People come from all over Thailand and all over the world to see those festivals.

The Thais are true masters at putting on amazing festivals with lots of entertainment, great food, dancing, competitions, shows, and colorful parades.

The main Thai festivals are:

Loi Krathong in the second half of November
New Year (December 31 – January 1)
Flower festival (February)
Songkran, the Thai New Year (April)

The dates of some of these festivals are calculated by the lunar calendar which means that they happen on different dates every year.

Other entertainment

Besides the above-mentioned festivals, there are plenty of smaller events happening, like the famous Sunday market in Chiang Mai which is a weekly festival all by itself.

Jang on a nature trail
My wife and fellow Thai Massage therapist on a nature trail

And if there is no festival happening, you can find lots of other things to do like mountain treks, hill tribe village visits, elephant camps, adventure activities, zoo, botanical garden, tiger kingdom (you get to hug a tiger), snake farms, orchid farms, and many others.

Or you can rent a scooter and drive through stunning scenery right outside of Chiang Mai.

mountain scenery near Chiang Mai
Mountain scenery near Chiang Mai

What if you cannot study Thai Massage in Thailand?

Regardless of the advantages which you might find in Thailand, most people will not travel halfway around the world to learn Thai Massage. 

They might not have the time or the money
They have family and children whom they cannot leave
They have jobs that do not allow them extended holidays
They do not feel comfortable with major travel abroad
They would prefer to learn in their own environment
They are looking for an easier, more convenient solution
They want good training without a major financial investment

The ‘Study Thai Massage Online’ Solution

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This is where Thai Healing Massage Academy offers the perfect solution. You can learn Thai Massage right from your home, at your own pace, and in a convenient way.

The training is excellent and detailed. It includes videos and text material which you receive gradually, like in a live school.

In this way, you have enough practice time and don’t get into an overwhelm mode like when you receive all training material at once.

The instructor, Shama Kern,  is a veteran Thai Massage teacher with over 20 years of experience. He has been living in Thailand for two decades. 

You will feel like in a classroom without having to leave your home.

This solution will work best if you are already a massage therapist or yoga practitioner/teacher. If you are not sure if online training is for you, check out this article.

On top of the Thai Massage training, you will also receive lots of fascinating material about Thailand – its culture, its beauty, its massage scene, its people, etc.

You will feel like you are in close contact with Thailand without having to travel there. It’s not a dry study program but a unique learning experience with atmosphere and cultural content. 

Thai Healing Massage Academy offers 20 online training programs which cover Thai Massage and many highly specific therapeutic methods to turn you into a Thai Massage expert.

You can start with a free introductory video series or, if you are ready to really study Thai Massage, check out our most popular training program.

How To Learn Thai Massage

Learn the inspiring holistic art of Thai Massage online with certification and CEUs

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author's picture

The author, Shama Kern is the founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for over two decades and he is the creator of 20 online Thai Massage training courses.

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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons To Study Thai Massage In Thailand”

  1. Dear Shama,
    thank you for very interesting article and informations. Now I know everything and the only things for me is if I want to fill my dream – visit Thailand and complete some 4-8 Thaimassage course 🙂

  2. Hi Shama, great info, this article should help a lot of people in their decision making if they have time and money, if not they should follow your online training. Even though I studied in Thailand, I must say that what I have learned from you combined with my Thai massage training does give me an edge.

    I’m very grateful for your teachings, two years later Saithong and I still use techniques learned from your Thai Healing Massage Academy in our workshops.

    To all that are contemplating learning Thai Massage, I would highly recommend that they start with your online teaching and after that go to Thailand and learn from a Thai school or a Thai massage master like Pichet Bontumee. Thank you Shama for another great article. Ciao, see you in 2016, I have got my ticket to Thailand, looking forward to seeing you and Jan.

  3. Once upon a time i wanted to travel to Thailand to study Thai massage. I identified a school at Lahu village founded by the late Asonkanada.
    The flight fair to travel from Ghana-Africa was more than the cost of living in Thailand for three years.
    A Thai massage therapist in Ghana also gave me Shama’s address and that if i ever get to Thailand i should look for him,since i planned studying with many teachers.
    I tried to look for Shama on the internet and i found out that he offers whatever i wanted to know in Thai massage online.I took his mini course and i was certain that i had met my Master not my teacher.Now he has made me unlimited access member.I value both him and his training more than any thing because he is honest and knowledgeable.


  4. Dear Shama,

    First of all, I find your posts extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences & advices.
    I would like to ask you the following, I have come to considering only the following 3 options:

    Watpo (Bangkok), Old Medicine Hospital and Loikroh (both in Chiangmai). This are the answers to questions you advised to ask oneself. Could you based on that tell me which (in your view) is the most suitable option from those 3.

    1)I prefer a small intimate school with a local feeling.

    2Although I do want a school with a good standing curriculum.

    3)I think I do prefer one-on-one training. Unless you advise rather not.

    4) I have checked fees on the 3 options, and my budget can cover 2 weeks courses in any of them.

    5) I’d like a introductory Thai Massage class (the 3 schools above offer an introductory 1 week course)

    6) I feel specially keen on Thai Yoga massage, but I remain open.

    5) I’d like to learn from one specific teacher.

    For now, I been considering as follows:
    Week 1: General Thai Massage Course (5 days, group course) at Watpo Massage School.
    Week 2: Advanced Traditional Thai Massage 1 (5 days, private course) at Loikroh Massage School

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • Antonio, based on what you are saying, I would say that Loi Kroh massage school might be your best choice. They are a small school with an intimate feeling, and they do a lot of one-on-one training.


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