Boston Tours with Collette Vacations

By: Johnny Quest and Collette Vacations
All of Collette’s New England tours visit historic Boston, MA. Doesn’t matter if it’s fall foliage or sunny beaches you are after – we have the trip for you.

Inspired by Patriots’ Day, the 115th Boston Marathon, and the Red Sox finally coming around, here are five Boston highlights:

  • The U.S.S Constitution – Old Ironsides! – the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
  • Old North Church – Grab your lanterns. “One if by land, and two if by sea.”
  • Beacon Hill – The historic neighborhood that’s home to the State House. Walking its streets is like stepping back in time.
  • Old South Meeting House – Organizing point for the Boston Tea Party.
  • Faneuil Hall – A must on the Freedom Trail, historic Faneuil Hall offers great shopping and some nice places to eat.

Wherever you go in Boston you are walking in the footsteps of history. It seems it’s always the oldest or first of something. Consider this list a starting point for visitors.

Other favorites of mine include, Fenway Park, the Bell-in-hand Tavern (America’s oldest continually operated tavern) and Boston Common.

For Collette Vacations offers contact R and B International Travel.

 

Akrotiri Thera: after seven years it was well worth the wait!

By: Voyages to Antiquity

Aegean Odyssey really was in the right place on Sunday when we were the first cruise ship to visit the re-opened Akrotiri Thera site on Santorini. Regarded by many as the ‘Pompeii of Greece’ the site was destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 4,000 years ago and was closed to tourists after a safety incident in 2005.

Many of our guests were unaware that the site was being re-opened and as the first cruise ship into the island, we were assured of a warm welcome and most importantly few other visitors.

Commenting on his first visit to site, Dr Matthew Nicholls, one of our guest lecturers onboard said, “The winding road up from the port takes you over the rocky spine of Santorini and you can imagine what life would have been like on the island before the volcanic eruption which covered the town and its inhabitants. The archaeological site has been completely rebuilt and covered with a new steel roof and is now fully open to visitors.

“We were lucky to have been accompanied by one of Voyages to Antiquity’s tour guides which helped us uncover the wonders of the site. You really need a guide to get the most out of the visit as many of the signs and info boards have yet to be completed. This made our whole experience so much richer and enjoyable.”

“One of the best parts of a Voyages to Antiquity visit is you don’t have to fight through hordes of visitors. We had the site to ourselves and were able to see so much. This really is a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in Greek history. The whole site dates back 850 years before Homer and is truly unique. We were privileged to have seen the re-opened site in its newly refreshed style and I hope to be back in the coming years to discover more.”

Be Inspired by the Rhine River with Avalon Waterways

By: Avalon Waterways
As it winds through castle-dotted hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and picturesque Old World villages, the Rhine River is the essence of romance. Born as an untamed river in the Swiss Alps, the Rhine takes the scenic route to the North Sea, illuminating some of Europe’s most fascinating sights and customs. Historically and culturally, the Rhine has been a crucial source of sustenance, pride and inspiration. Fortresses and castles along the Rhine’s embankments highlight the value ancient empires placed on these waters. While ancient times saw the Rhine as a dividing force, today the cities along its shores are an intriguing blend of cultures. Vineyards along the Rhine produce world-renowned vintages and riverside cafés and restaurants celebrate the region by pairing local wines with delectably fresh fare. With scenic splendor and enriching surprises around every bend, the waters of the Rhine set the stage for the very finest moments to be had in Europe.

15th century Attractions. 21st century amenities. Contact R and B International Travel and come experience the comfort of an Avalon Waterways Rhine river cruise.

Historic First for Silversea in Corfu

By: Silversea

For the first time in the 18-year history of Silversea Cruises, three of our ultra-luxury ships — Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, and Silver Spirit — called in the same port on the same day. The historic convergence of the three ships took place in beautiful Corfu, a Greek island renowned for its lush green hills and pure white beaches.

Surrounded by the sparkling turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind and Silver Spirit greeted each other by sounding their whistles as they sailed into this charming and sophisticated port.

Corfu (or Kérkyra in Greek) is the second largest of the Ionian islands, and a land rich in history and myth. It was likely the last stop for Homer’s Odysseus on his fabled journey back to his homeland of Ithaca. For Silversea, Corfu will always carry special significance as the port that hosted an important milestone in our company’s own unfolding story.

5 Things To Know About European Rail Tickets

By: Europe Express

Point to point tickets or passes? Are reservations mandatory? Where and when are seat assignments required? First class or second class?

european rail travel
Travel Europe by Rail

Europe’s extensive rail system makes getting around easy and quick but picking the right ticket options and knowing the rules can be challenging. Here are 5 things to consider when navigating the world of European rail.

  1. Passes are not always the best option – Many people have the impression that rail passes are the most inexpensive way to travel by train in Europe but depending on the number of segments and routing, they can sometimes be more expensive then point to point. Also, some costs are not fully covered by passes; seat assignments or supplements may be required if a pass doesn’t include all countries en route, and some additional fees can apply on specialty and overnight trains. It’s a good idea to always look at the price and efficiency of point to point versus a pass, with all additional local fees included, before deciding which is best.
  2. Seat assignments are a great service – Not all tickets include seat assignments so it is important to clarify if one will need to be purchased in addition to the ticket. Many regional and local trains don’t require them, and some don’t offer them at all. For others, seat assignments are mandatory and must be are purchased locally before boarding if not purchased prior to travel. This is especially important when someone is traveling with a rail pass. Although passes allow for flexibility, they do not guarantee travel if the train is full so when possible, arrange these prior to departure to avoid confusion.
  3. Not all sleeper cars are created equal – When taking an overnight train there are many choices and configurations. Some trains have bunks while others simply have seats that recline. Passengers can also often choose how many people share their couchette. Trains tend to be full in Europe so travelers should be prepared to share a compartment and bathrooms if they did not pay for private facilities. To avoid confusion, be sure to qualify your expectations before booking.
  4. Be prepared to provide proper documents and passports – The conductor will almost always ask to see tickets and seat assignments if purchased separately, so it’s a good idea to always have these on hand. Also, regardless of how travelers get from one country to another, everyone will be asked to show proper documentation. On an overnight train the conductor may collect passports during boarding or shortly after, often not returning them until the following morning.
  5. Know when it is worth it to upgrade to first class – The amenities and quality of trains vary because there are over 50 different train companies throughout Europe. Depending on your expectations, it may be important to upgrade to first class. Trains and routes differ so it is essential to evaluate the specific amenities of each class before deciding what to purchase for a particular journey.

For other tips on navigating Europe’s 121,205 miles of track Contact R and B International Travel

10 best things to do in Caribbean ports

royal caribbean cruise line

A cruise to the Caribbean gives you the chance to partake in many fun and diverse shore excursions. Whether you want something action-packed or laidback, you can find your ideal activities ashore. Consider these:

Zip lining

Many Caribbean islands have zip lining parks. While in port in St. Martin/St. Maarten, visit Loterie Farm at Pic Paradis, where you’ll find not only zip lining but also an obstacle course high up above the trees.

Rainforest hike

If you’re on one of the islands that has a rainforest, consider hiking. Lush
and green, St. Lucia is a prime Caribbean port for this activity. See the
island’s exotic flora and fauna, and learn about the rainforest’s history and
ecology — and its effects on the island — from your guide.

City tours

You may be visiting an island, but the Caribbean still has some lively and
exciting cities to visit. A city tour through San Juan, Puerto Rico, is ideal
due to the many historic places located right in the city center. An expert
guide can share the stories of the sites and help you see as much as possible
before having to board your ship again.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Guide

Shopping

With local crafts and high-end duty-free stores, shopping ’til you drop in the
Caribbean is easy to do. In St. Thomas, an island especially known for its
duty-free shopping, partake in an excursion that takes you to some of the best
shopping spots on the island.

Snorkeling

Nearly all Caribbean ports of call offer snorkeling — after all, these
locations are tough to beat. The Antilla Shipwreck in Aruba is a favorite spot,
as it’s shallow enough for snorkelers (not just scuba divers) to get a good
look at the wreck.

Six best places to snorkel/dive in Cozumel

Waterfalls and swimming holes

You don’t need to just swim in the sea while visiting the Caribbean. In
Jamaica, visit Dunn’s River Falls (see video here) and swim in the water at its
base. In Aruba, visit the Natural Pool, which is formed in the middle of large
rocks in a scenic location by the island’s coastline.

Play with sea life

If you’re an animal lover, the Caribbean is going to make you love them even
more, with the opportunity to see dolphins, monkeys, lizards and ride horses
along the beach. At Stingray City in Grand Cayman, you can swim with hundreds of stingrays who make their home in the bay and are used to human touch.

Western Caribbean Cruise Guide

White-water rafting

Zigzag down a river while in the Caribbean on an exhilarating white-water
rafting shore excursion in the Caribbean. A popular place to do this is in
Jamaica down the Rio Bueno River, which takes you through fast rapids and
tropical scenery.

Local drinks

A distillery or brewery tour is a tasty way to get in touch with the local side
of an island. In the Dominican Republic, try some sips of its famous rum while
visiting a local distillery.

Southern Caribbean Cruise Guide

Ancient sites

The Caribbean isn’t just beaches and tropical adventures; you can also view the remains of buildings left over from ancient civilizations. Many Caribbean
cruises make stops along the eastern coast of Mexico near Cancun. While there, visit the ruins of Tulum to see remnants of the way ancient Mayan civilizations lived.

Can’t decide which activity you most want to do? Don’t worry — most Caribbean cruises visit multiple islands, meaning you can enjoy a different type of excursion in each port. For adventurous and diverse activities onboard as well, check out family-friendly cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.

Discover Amazing Africa

 

 

By: Silversea

Are you among the many been-there, done-that travellers yearning to explore some of the world’s more exotic destinations? Then you need look no further than the enchanting African continent to satisfy your quest.

From the awe-inspiring drama of the world’s oldest desert to the humbling beauty of the Big Five, journeys to Africa speak to your soul. It’s a place where you can track zebra and gazelle across expansive plains, dine in the Namib Desert under towering dunes and brilliant stars, or visit verdant vineyards at the Cape where history lives alongside nature’s most dramatic landscapes.

Plan your amazing discovery with Silversea and R and B International Travel .

60 Second Geography – West Coast of Ireland

 

Travelers to West Ireland find it an easy area to drive and cover, with so much of its beauty and attractiveness right outside the windshield in the countryside. From the rugged western coastline to green stone-walled pastures the vistas are certainly a big part of

 the journey. But you can also sleep in ancient castles or spend the night in luxury modern spa hotels. You can visit ancient ruins and stone cairns of unknown origin. Whatever your mode of travel, West Ireland will put some magic into your visit to the Emerald Isle.The West Coast region includes some part of the following counties: Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Southwest Offaly, Tipperary North, West Cork, Cork City, Kerry, Clare and Limerick.

  • The West Coast of Ireland is the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) region. In some areas all street signs are in “the Irish”. The Gaeltact is spoken over a wide area of West Ireland, especially Kerry, Cork, Mayo, Galway and Donegal and much of the local music, both traditional and modern, is in the native Irish.
  • Visit on the cheap – competitive airfares, bed and breakfasts, trains, ferries and self drives!
  • From North America, fly into either Dublin or Shannon for West Ireland. It’s easy to get around the country!
  • St. Patrick’s “Day” lasts a week in Ireland and their’s no shortage of festivals at other times like the Puck Festival or the Rose of Tralee Festival!
  • Fishing in western Ireland is hard to beat and a favorite outdoor sport of many travelers.
  • Self-drive vacations are easy…but remember to drive on the left and watchout for round-abouts and, in the rural areas, sheep!
  • If either hiking or biking is a favorite pastime, west Ireland boasts hundreds of miles of great countryside and spectacular coastline, including the Cliffs of Moher, just south of the Village of Doolin in County Clare, one of the most photographed locations on the planet.
  • The megaliths of Carrowmore, about 3 miles south-west of Sligo town, are located in the center of the Cúil Irra peninsula and are one of the oldest and largest collections of stone age monuments in Western Europe.
  • Churches and ancient castles dot the landscape like a great outdoor museum. Our favorites? Roscrea Castle, as well as the ruined “Abbey” of Roscommon. Be sure to see Ballyhannan Castle overlooking the River Shannon as well and the chance to spend the night at Dromoland Castle. Of course, you can’t leave out the Blarney Castle.

Are you ready to plan your West Coast of Ireland Getaway? Contact R and B International Travel to get started.

60 Second Geography – Livorno, Tuscany, Umbria

Florance

Goethe once observed that Tuscany “looks like Italy should.” Fortunately, little has changed in the two centuries since the German poet was himself a tourist in Tuscany. The Tyrrhenian port of Livorno was founded in the 15th century. It is the gateway to Italy’s Tuscan region and to many spectacular sights; including the extraordinary Leaning Tower of Pisa, the charming medieval village of Lucca, the lovely hill town of San Gimignano and the timeless city of Florence.

No place is as imbued with such grace, dignity, serenity and history as is Florence. This city’s wealth of architectural and artistic treasures includes works by Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Truly Florence, cradle of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world’s most enticing cities.

  • Ponte Vecchio. Florence’s most famous bridge spans the Arno River and is praised for its engineering. Built by the ancient Etruscans, the Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s only bridge to survive World War II. Today, it is a bustling pedestrian bridge of shops and home to the gold and silver guilds.
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa. This famous leaning Campanile or Bell Tower has drawn visitors for centuries. Now inclined 14 feet to one side due to the settling of the subsoil, engineers have been hard at work shoring it up to prevent any further leaning. The top of the tower is said to be where Galileo conducted his famous gravitational experiments.
  • Uffizi Gallery. This popular museum houses the masterpieces by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Botticelli, as well as a smaller replica of the David. Michaelangelo’s original David can be found at the Galleria dell ‘Accademia.

    Pisa
  • San Gimignano rises on a hill dominating the Elsa Valley known for its towers. It began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes. In 1348 San Gimignano’s population was drastically reduced by the Black Death Plague. The construction of the towers dates back to the 11th and 13th centuries. The architecture of the city was influenced by Pisa, Siena and Florence.

Contact R and B International Travel and start planning your vacation.

8 Different Massages to Try Around the World

I stop my bike and dust flies in front of me.

Where is this place?

I’m on a dirt road leading to Wat Sok Pa Luang, a temple on the outskirts of Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Having caught an early flight from Bangkok this morning, a massage and herbal sauna, recommended by my guide book, sounds ideal. Now I just need to find the place.

I look in my guidebook, scratch my head and look up. I see a red wooden sign nailed to the tree next to me with, “Traditional Laos herbal steam sauna and massage!!!” and an arrow painted on it.

Finally.

Going through a bit of jungle, my skin becomes even stickier in the Southeast Asian heat, I finally reach a wooden house with a veranda, but it looks like someone’s private home.

This can’t be it.

“You want massage,” a woman yells down to me.

I crinkle my forehead and nod yes.

After walking up stairs to the second level, I sit down and am handed a bin for my things and a stack of folded clothes to put on. Always on edge about being scammed in this region, I’m not completely sure about leaving all my possessions with people I don’t know in the middle of the jungle, but I go with it. A woman directs me to enter what looks like a closet made of petrified wood. As I do the steam hits me. It’s the herbal sauna I was reading about.

While in there I’m joined by a monk, but we don’t speak to each other. After leaving I’m given tea from a shiny tin pot then directed to one of the flat beds for a massage. I imagine it can’t be much different than a Thai massage, but as the man hits points in my body in ways I never knew possible, I do feel like it’s a completely new experience.

Trying out spa techniques and services while traveling is about much more than just relaxing.

“It will open your eyes to the different traditions that go in hand with that specific region,” says April Bingham, director of the award-winning Aria Spa at Vail Cascade in Vail, Colorado. “They get to using items and techniques, some you might not find in the United States.”

One of the things you’ll notice when traveling the world is that there is never a spa too far away and that massages tend to change, sometimes drastically, from place to place. Whether it be a soft touch and relaxing hour in Sweden or sweating profusely and having your body twisted in Turkey, no massage is alike and each offers a different historical and cultural experience. Here are 8 different massages to try around the world:

Swedish Massage or Classic Massage

 

Classic Massage. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to what you might think, the Swedish massage did not originate in Sweden. In fact, it wasn’t even created by a Swede. According to an article in Massage Magazine, written by magazine founder Robert Noah Calvert, Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) is credited with adopting the French names for basic strokes that were systemized in the massage we know today as Swedish or classic.

This technique was somehow confused with Peter Ling’s, Swedish Movement System, in the 19th century, giving the massage the actual wrong name. It’s only really referred to as a Swedish massage in the USA though. Across Europe and in the rest of the world it’s just a classic massage.

Technique

The Swedish or classic massage is defined by being a massage of frictions, a mixture of stroking, kneading, striking and rubbing. It’s recommended for athletes or those who exercise often as they’re known to have a buildup of lactic acid and the massage can loosen that to allow fresh blood to run through.

Where to try it

This is one massage that is offered all over the world, but since the technique was created by a Dutch man and named in French, give it a try in the Netherlands and/or France. Remember to ask for a classic massage there.

African Rungu Massage

Jacqueline Avis, spa manager at The Oyster Box in South Africa, says while her spa offers this massage and it’s growing in popularity across the region, you have to go to the tribes of East Africa to trace its roots.

“The Rungu stick is a wooden throwing club or baton, bearing special symbolism and significance in East African Tribal Cultures,” says Avis. “In Masaai culture the Rungu is an important symbol of warrior status to the young males. The Masaai are from Southern Kenya & Northern Tanzania area.”

Technique

Avis says that the key to this massage is using a Rungu stick to help penetrate deeper into the muscle for a more intense experience.

“The shaft of the stick is used for effleurages and circular movement on larger areas and the larger knob is used on bigger, muscles and the small knob is used to get into smaller spaces like the scapula,” she says. “If you like a deep tissue massage then this massage is great to relieve tension.”

She added that this massage improves blood circulation and sensory nerve perception as well as increases lymphatic drainage and give people a deep sense of relaxation.

Where to try it

This technique is becoming very common in spas, like The Oyster Box, around South Africa and also popping up in spas in Europe.

Japanese Shiatsu

 

Shiatsu. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Shiatsu may be known as Japanese today, but its origins are elsewhere. According to the Shiatsu Society, “Massage, along with acupuncture and herbalism, was for centuries an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, which was introduced to Japan by a Buddhist monk in the 6th century.” The Japanese went on to use these ideas in their own style and in 1919 practitioner Tamai Tempaku organized the practice into a regiment technique and it was eventually recognized by the Japanese Government in 1964.

Technique

Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese and applying pressure to certain parts of the body is extremely important in this massage, but there are many variations of Shiatsu to fit a particular person and practitioner. Shiatsu also includes some alternative techniques like acupuncture and cupping. The aim of this technique is to create balance in the body.

Where to try it

Why Japan, of course! Japan Shiatsu College has been approved by the country’s Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. They offer courses as well as a treatment center. Not to mention that this massage is available in spas all over the country and the rest of the world.

Hot and Cold Stone Massage

 

Hot Stone Massage. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You’ll find several variations of this indigenous technique all over the world, but its roots are less known about than other massages on this list says Mary Nelson of Tucson, Arizona, creator of LaStone Massage, the original hot and cold stone massage.

“With the stone work, it was sort of a secret with all indigenous people,” she says. “Not just Native Americans and they would sometimes use temperature.”

She write about hot stones being used in therapies throughout history and that this sort of energy work can be traced back 700 years to the Hopi Nation, there reservation is located in Arizona. With the help of her spirit guides she conceived the practice of hot and cold stone work for LaStone massage in 1993.

Technique

While some places only offer hot stone massages, Nelson says the focus of LaStone is applying different temperatures to the body for affect.

“The whole goal is about using temperature to get the body to chemically respond,” she says. “It’s all about alternating temperature to make the appropriate changes for the cleansing process.”

She says that this technique can be added to other massages and that applying hot or cold temperatures to the body is going to make the experience that much more powerful and that it’s going to stay with you, sometimes even three days later, as opposed to ending as soon as the masseuse stops.

She wants to make it clear that not all stone massages are alike and that she highly recommends going with a certified LaStone therapists as they are trained to know what temperatures to apply, which is the whole point.

“LaStone Therapy is going to work with all parts of the system,” she says. “There are dances that go on with vibrations in the body and it affects you chemically, emotionally and spiritually.”

Where to try it

You can find a listing of LaStone practitioners on Nelson’s website. Since it can be traced to Native Americans in the Southwest, we recommend trying it on your visit to the region.

Hammam or Turkish Bath

 

Turkish Bath

Baths in Europe and Asia have existed for centuries. However, the Ottomans in Turkey were particularly interested in building baths in the then capital city of Constantinople when it was named in 1453. Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, designed several important bath structures around the city, which is now Istanbul, during this time. Some are still in operation today, like Cemberlitas Hamami, giving spa-goers a truly unique chance to take part in an old world activity, in the same place it’s been happening for centuries.

Technique

Visiting a Hammam in Turkey is about much more than just receiving a massage. There is an entire process to your visit. According to Cemberlitas Hamami’s website, steps leading up to a massage include, changing into a  pestemal or traditional cotton body wrap, heating up the body in their camekan, which is a sauna with a heated marble platform at the center and having your body scrubbed down and washed by an attendant. Then you receive a massage, which they offer variations of, but depending on where you go and who your masseuse is, can include people walking on your back and twisting or pulling at your body, so be prepared or ask ahead.

Where to try it

Cemberlitas Hamami has been in operation since it was built by Mimar Sinan in 1584, so it’s quite the experience to visit here. That said, there are several Hammams to choose from in Istanbul, so read up on which one sounds right for you.

Thai Massage

 

Thai Massage. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Thai massages, often referred to as yoga massages, have been taught from generation to generation orally, leaving little documented about the massage’s history. In an article for Massage Magazine, Anthony James, a natural medicine doctor, credits Jivaka, contemporary of the Buddha and personal physician to Bimbisara, who served as king of North India from 543-491 BC, with creating the foundation for the modern day Thai massage, which explains its links to yoga.

Technique

A Thai massage requires a bit of movement from both the masseuse and receiver. It will include deep tissue kneading and rubbing, but the masseuse will move your body parts in certain ways and apply pressure to give people a deep stretch. You’ll hear quite a lot of cracking in your bones if the masseuse is doing things right.

Where to try it

It’s pretty hard to go anywhere in Thailand without being solicited about a massage and they’re so cheap in the country, you can afford to say yes every time. Wat Pho in Bangkok, which houses the famous reclining Buddha, is a world-renowned massage school. Students there offer their services to the public, so it’s a nice place to stop during a day of touring in the sticky city. Plus, it’s more of a spiritual experience receiving this massage in a temple as opposed to a random parlor.

Ayurveda head massage

 

Ayurveda Head Massage. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Continuing with Indian influence, this massage spawns from a 5,000 year system of healing in the country. According to an introductory article to the practice by Scott Blossom, a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, for Yoga Journal, Ayurveda or “knowledge of life” is “a system of healing that examines physical constitution, emotional nature, and spiritual outlook in the context of the universe”. Massage in several variations is a part of this system.

Technique

For the head massage, practitioners use certain oils as they knead and stoke all over a person’s head, going through their hair, but focusing on hitting their temples. They’ll also work on your shoulders, hands and more in this massage. Narenda Metha, author of “Indian Head Massage: Discover the Power of Touch”, notes in Yoga Journal that this massage supports the nervous system by alleviating stress, allowing the body to release and repair other areas.

Where to try it

Since India’s cities can be very busy and you’ll want to completely unwind with this spa service, maybe look into visiting a yoga retreat or meditation center while in India. Places like Ayurveda Yoga Villa in Kerala offer spa services.

Laos Massage

 

Laos Massage

Now for the massage that started this piece. It’s hard to find direct information about a Laos massage, but you can trace is similarly to the Thai massage, linking to Jivaka in India. Though the origins are similar, the technique and ritual is slightly different and you may find that you prefer one to another.

Technique

A Laos massage is conducted as pressure is applied to certain points of the body in a repetitive flow. You’ll notice a bit of foot reflexology in there and it’s somewhat softer than a Thai massage, but still you’ll feel cracking in certain points of the body. One common addition to this massage in Laos is the herbal steam room as mentioned at the start.

Where to try it

If you want a truly unique massage experience where you go off the beaten path in less than a 30-minute bike ride from Vientiane, head to Wat Sok Pa Luang. The massage house at this religious area will be in the forests. Look for signs.

– Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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