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Cheap shopping, Thai massage, excellent street food, and night markets are some of the things that come to mind when one makes travel plans for Bangkok. If you are looking for an alternative travel guide in Thailand, you’ve come to the right place.

Onsens, or bathhouses are pretty common and popular with locals and tourists alike in Japan. It is where one goes to soak their fatigue away, or even warm up during cold, winter nights. Of course, getting clean is one of the primary reasons one’s in an onsen too. While looking for an alternative travel guide in Thailand, I read about a spa place that recently opened. I recognised the brand as they’d opened branches in Singapore too. After years of walking into a 250 baht place for a hit-and-miss Thai massage, I decided to try something new and slightly more lavish.

Yunomori Onsen and Spa is located in the heart of Bangkok and is easily accessible via Uber, or the nearest metro station is Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. Once you’ve endured the traffic to get there, you’ll be treated to peace and tranquility.

The first of its kind, the spa brings an authentic Japanese hot bath and spa experience to Thailand. I was sold from the onsen part. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted warmly by the staff behind the marble reception desk, and then you choose from one of the many packages that best suits you.

Bangkok onsen guidelines

Think 450 baht (SGD19) for all-day access to the onsen. For my self-pampering session, I decided on the first package consisting of the onsen + Thai Massage (90 minutes) + Herbal Compress (30 minutes).

What to expect at the onsen?

First, you’ll be given a receipt and a token with a number to your locker. This will be your identity for the day and to exchange your shoes for a pair of slippers and a tote bag for your belongings. Then comes the fun part. You head towards the gardens and come to a stop before a counter. You’ll get to choose one of the many beautiful patterned yukatas to use for the day.

Don’t know how to wear a yukata? No worries, there’s always a friendly attendant ready to help you.

There are separate onsens for males and females (sorry, no intermingling). If you aren’t entirely comfortable with hanging around the baths completely naked, they also provided females with dark coloured disposable underwear. It’s entirely optional to put them on. Oh, and you get a small face towel too.

If you’ve booked for massage therapy after your onsen, you’ll not be able to return to the baths, for the oils might contaminate the water. There’s a digital clock placed at a strategic place in the baths so you can keep track of your time. Or, an attendant will come into the bath announcing your number when it’s time for your massage.

Chirashi bowl

There’s also a cafe in the compound with fresh food offerings for when you get hungry. The menu includes small portioned main courses, desserts, teas, soft drinks, and even beers! Once you’ve been watered and fed, you can still go back into the onsen and resume your soak session.

Onsen Etiquettes

First, take a shower to cleanse your body of the sweat and grime of the day’s activity.

Interior of onsen

And then you enjoy the 6 baths (Soda Spa, Jet Bath, Teak Bath, Garden Bath, Cold Bath, and Onsen) and the steam room for an unlimited time. Phones are not allowed past the changing room – no nudes are allowed.

First-timers to an onsen might be unfamiliar to the experience, and in most traditional onsens, there are no guides. This one however has a large guide on the walls to recommend you where to dip first! My favourite is the Garden Bath, where you soak in a large outdoor “pond” surrounded by greenery. My second favourite is surprisingly the Cold Bath where after you’ve stewed in the warm waters of the onsen, you get a refreshing cold kick. Do remember to hydrate yourself regularly with the free iced or room temperature water that’s readily available onsite!

Once you’re done for the day, you’ll gather all your belongings, change out and settle your bill. Finally, you’ll book a Grab and wait for it to come and drive you all the way back to your hotel, or to your next activity in Bangkok.

Woman in a pink kimono at the onsen garden

I truly enjoyed my first onsen experience in Bangkok. The place was like a tranquil oasis, providing me temporary respite from the chaos of Bangkok city. Onsen, spa treatment, and food for all less than 2000 THB (SGD84) are a steal and an experience like no other. Even though they forgot to do the Herbal Compression after the massage, I felt energised and ready to get back to work.

I hope you enjoyed this alternative travel guide to Thailand. Have you been in an onsen before? If not, would you like to experience it at least once in your life? Do share your thoughts in the comments below! Looking for more fun, alternative places to go? Read more about my alternative guide to Procida, Italy.

How to get there:

Yunomori Onsen & Spa Bangkok
Address: 120/5 Sukhumvit 26 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand
Opening hours: 9 AM – 12 AM DAILY
Contact: +66 2 259 5778
Nearest MRT: Queen Sirikit National Convention Center
Nearest BTS: Phrom Phrong

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