Tortured at the Chiang Mai Women's Prison.

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Traditional Thai Massage. Ouch.(Photo borrowed from thaimassage.com. )
Traditional Thai Massage is more than just a good rub. It involves poking, prodding, twisting, and stretching, too. Steve and I finally experienced the full body version today, delivered by a couple prison inmates at The Chiang Mai Women’s Prison.

This prison has a rather innovative (I presume) program of training its inmates for jobs “on the outside.” In additional to massage training, the prison also sells crafts made by the inmates, and I think I saw a restaurant staffed by prisoners, too. It’s either a brilliant social program, or a forced labor camp…I am going with the former in order to feel good about participating.  

When we got to the prison, we were waved in by a tiny uniformed lady. We entered a highly air conditioned room (it felt great since it was hot and muggy outside) and were greeted by three smiling inmates in blue pajamas -- the masseuses/prisoners.
Do you like our pajamas? Me and Steve at the prison.
The room was lined with mattresses placed on the floor, just like other massage rooms I have seen in Thailand. It was a lot more open than you would expect. No clanging of jail cell doors or anything like that.  

Steve and I were given our own pairs of pajamas to wear, then we lay down to receive our torture, I mean massages. While Steve LOVED it, I found the whole thing to be quite painful. My lady had very strong hands, and when she wasn’t trying to remove my muscles forcibly with them, she was standing or kneeling on some part of my body. Some people love it, some people, not so much. There was a moment when, as I lay on my stomach, she used my arms to pull my head and upper body up forcibly, kind of like a backbend. I think that’s what did me (or at least my lower back) in … I am now hobbling around like an old lady!

We left, and paid our 360 baht (about $12) bill on our way out.
Schoolgirls practicing English with Steve.
We also left something nice in the tip box. I hope the ladies actually get it (I think they will), and I hope they do well in their futures.

Other highlights of the day included: breakfast at the hotel’s huge and wonderful buffet; strolling through old city and stopping at several shiny gold temples; Steve’s $3 haircut (a #1 on the razor!); getting a lesson on the five precepts of Buddhism from an orange-robed monk at “Monk Chat” at a temple (Wat Chedi Luang). We also helped six little girls nervously practice their English at this same temple. They asked us a series of simple questions (What is your name? Where are you from?) from a card and tape recorded our answers. They took turns with the card, and a couple of them were so nervous and shy, but they all did well.
Wualai Road Saturday Walking market.
There was a lot of giggling, and they were so cute… we had a fun time.

Finally at 4pm we strolled over to Wualai Road, where a “walking street market” is set up on Saturdays. It was a little early, so we killed time by… getting foot massages! After then, after the foot massages were over, Steve’s lady talked him quite easily into a shoulder massage. So I had one to, and it was a tamer version than I had just experienced at the prison, and felt pretty nice.

We then spent about three hours at the market, which was lined with vendors selling many handmade goods. Many of the things had a real creative and artsy flair. One could find purses, figurines, notebooks from handmade paper, etc, etc etc.  They had some T-shirts, too, of course … I got a Hello Kitty tank top for about $1.
Key chains. Wualai Road market.
  I bought a number of souvenirs that I will now have to ship back. Everything was priced cheaply, and most things had price tags on them. The numbers were so low I didn’t do any bargaining at all! We also had dinner at the market. I had a papaya salad for about 30 cents, and then a little banana leaf boat thing filled with a mushroom omelet, also about 30 cents. Steve had a couple meat dishes, and nothing was over $1. Amazing!

Tomorrow…a date with some elephants! We are so excited. Stay tuned!

stabber911 says:
I love massage especially hard massage, my advise to you if you ever try massage in thailand again. Just say no to which ever one you are not comfortable with.
Posted on: May 19, 2008
cmgervais says:
We could have spent all day helping the girls, they were so sweet. We would have run out of things to say though ... their English card was fairly short :^) ! Just the basics.
Posted on: May 18, 2008
reikunboy says:
an interesting day, good experience with the inmates and thanks for helping out the kids with their English. I bet your glad to be out of Phuket.I've never been to Chang Mai so I look forward to the updates.
Posted on: May 18, 2008
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Traditional Thai Massage. Ouch.(Ph…
Traditional Thai Massage. Ouch.(P…
Do you like our pajamas? Me and St…
Do you like our pajamas? Me and S…
Schoolgirls practicing English wit…
Schoolgirls practicing English wi…
Wualai Road Saturday Walking marke…
Wualai Road Saturday Walking mark…
Key chains. Wualai Road market.
Key chains. Wualai Road market.
I am pretty sure this is Wat Panto…
I am pretty sure this is Wat Pant…
Wat Pantong.
Wat Pantong.
At Wat Pantong.
At Wat Pantong.
Construction at Wat Chedi Luang.
Construction at Wat Chedi Luang.
Wat Chedi Luang grounds.
Wat Chedi Luang grounds.
Wat Chedi Luang roof detail.
Wat Chedi Luang roof detail.
Wat Chedi Luang.
Wat Chedi Luang.
Grrr! Wat Chedi Luang.
Grrr! Wat Chedi Luang.
Enormous tree, Wat Chedi Luang gro…
Enormous tree, Wat Chedi Luang gr…
Wat Chedi Luang grounds.
Wat Chedi Luang grounds.
Steve and Buddha at Wat Chedi Luan…
Steve and Buddha at Wat Chedi Lua…
Elephant detail at Wat Chedi Luang.
Elephant detail at Wat Chedi Luang.
Building detail at Wat Chedi Luang…
Building detail at Wat Chedi Luan…
Wat Chedi Luang ruins.
Wat Chedi Luang ruins.
Monk Chat! At Wat Chedi Luang.
Monk Chat! At Wat Chedi Luang.
Steve and our monk.
Steve and our monk.
Buddha statue at one of Chiang Mai…
Buddha statue at one of Chiang Ma…
Buddha statue at one of Chiang Mai…
Buddha statue at one of Chiang Ma…
Wat Phan Ohn. There was a beautifu…
Wat Phan Ohn. There was a beautif…
Wat Phan Ohn roofline.
Wat Phan Ohn roofline.
Moat that surrounds the Old City.
Moat that surrounds the Old City.
Steves haircut was about $3.
Steve's haircut was about $3.
Steve gets a buzz!
Steve gets a buzz!
Blooming tree.
Blooming tree.
Blooming tree.
Blooming tree.
Chiang Mais less scenic area.
Chiang Mai's less scenic area.
Prison entrance.
Prison entrance.
Step one of the massage is the foo…
Step one of the massage is the fo…
Steve and his inmate/masseuse.
Steve and his inmate/masseuse.
Shelling out about $6 per massage!
Shelling out about $6 per massage!
Temple.
Temple.
Foot massages at Wualai Road marke…
Foot massages at Wualai Road mark…
Steve waits for massage #3 at Wual…
Steve waits for massage #3 at Wua…
Kind of a meat garland at the Wu…
Kind of a "meat garland" at the W…
Food for sale at Wualai Road marke…
Food for sale at Wualai Road mark…
Wualai Road Saturday Walking marke…
Wualai Road Saturday Walking mark…
Shopper at Wualai Road Saturday Wa…
Shopper at Wualai Road Saturday W…
He wants to join the fun.
He wants to join the fun.
Mystery food.
Mystery food.
Me and a tangy salad that cost abo…
Me and a tangy salad that cost ab…
Elderly Music Fund. Dig deep!
Elderly Music Fund. Dig deep!
Beautiful lady drummer.
Beautiful lady drummer.
Elderly musicians.
Elderly musicians.
Omelets in a banana boats.
Omelets in a banana boats.
Steve buys mystery meat on a stick.
Steve buys mystery meat on a stick.
Trying on a robe. That guy was a r…
Trying on a robe. That guy was a …
Breakfast buffet at Royal Princess.
Breakfast buffet at Royal Princess.
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes