Hidden Private Onsen in BKK’s Hipster District With Spa Water Imported Straight From Japan
An adventure to Bangkok is exhilarating, as it is exhausting. After days out on your feet, trawling the day markets and exploring the endless streets in the blistering heat, you’ll be needing a serious session of pure R&R.
The hipster cafe district of Ekkamai hides one lesser-known gem that’s perfect for a recharge. Kashikiri Soda Onsen and Spa, Thailand’s first private onsen-spa, offers guests the traditional Japanese hot spring experience in the privacy of their personal bathhouses. Depending on the package you choose, the onsen soak is then followed by a range of relaxing treatments, from massages to full body scrubs.
The best part? A one and a quarter hour-long private onsen-massage Kashikiri Balancing Bath package costs just 1,150 baht - that’s under S$50!
Here is what you can expect from an afternoon at Kashikiri Onsen:
Before stepping into Kashikiri, you have to swap your shoes out for a pair of wooden sandals. After greeting you at the entrance, the staff will direct you to the cosy air-conditioned waiting area, where you’ll be served some cold tea.
The spa grounds are very well-maintained and clean, with thoughtful details and interior decor that imbue the place with an organic, Japanese feel.
The first thing to do is to select the bathwater for your onsen soak. Kashikiri offers three different types of water that they import from different prefectures in Japan, each with their own special benefits. Supposedly, there’s one with antiseptic properties, one for rejuvenating joints and one that aids in preserving the skin’s youthfulness.
Next, you’ll be directed to the changing rooms so you can get ready for the spa. The facilities are impeccable, from the spacious wooden lockers to store your belongings to a cloth-partitioned private changing space. The counter-lined dressing area has everything you need post-spa - scented powder, spare hair ties, facial cleansers and even hairdryers.
Both girls and guys are given their own yukata - a light cotton Japanese garment worn mostly during summertime. I’ve always longed for the chance to wear one of these gorgeous summer kimonos - who would have thought that my dream would finally be fulfilled here in Bangkok?
The Private Onsen (45 Minutes)
All the bathhouses at Kashikiri are private - each room contains shower amenities, wicker baskets for dry items and a rustic wooden tub filled with steaming bathwater that’s just perfect for one.
Standard onsen etiquette applies here. First, cleanse yourself at the shower area, soaping up as you would usually do. After rinsing free any remaining suds, make your way to the hot tub.
Tip: Start by sitting on the wooden plank, dipping your legs first. Then, as your body adjusts to the temperature of the hot onsen water, slowly lower the rest of your body in.
The best part about Kashikiri’s personal onsen rooms is being able to fully relax in the privacy of your little tub. No stress about having to soak yourself in front of strangers. Swimsuits are even allowed into the bath, a deviation from the strict no-clothes rule upheld by most onsen baths in Japan.
If you’re here in a pair, you have the option of opening the sliding door that conjoins adjacent rooms, so that you can chat with your partner while soaking off the aches of the afternoon.
The Massage (30 Minutes)
Once you’ve had your time in the hot steamy onsen, an attendant will usher you to a darkened, scent-filled room for the 30-minute Kashikiri Head, Shoulders and Back Massage. You can choose to either disrobe or keep your yukata on, after which the masseuse drapes a blanket across you before starting the massage.
One plus is that you can specify which area you’d like your masseuse to focus on. No worries about language barriers - you can indicate all these preferences, including the amount of force used, in the form that you would have filled in the waiting room.
This massage was quite unlike any I’ve experienced before; a combination of gliding strokes, circular movements and kneading, which did its job in ridding my body of all remaining tension. I nearly nodded off at several points. They also use a special scented massage oil that doesn’t leave a sticky or greasy residue, so you’re left still feeling clean and fresh afterwards.
After a restorative spa experience, you’ll be led back to the cool indoor sitting area, where a tray of complimentary refreshments will be waiting. We were served a trio of brewed green tea, mini swiss roll and fresh cut watermelon.
Some might consider this a minor detail, but I loved how each component balanced and complemented the others. The hot green tea soothes you and makes a lovely pairing with the fluffy, cloud-like white chocolate cream cake, with the crisp, sweet watermelon slices serving as the perfect ending refreshment.
While it does not mimic a 100% authentic onsen adventure, Kashikiri is instead a unique hybrid - combining traditional onsen, private spa and Thai massage all in one package.
Compared to my experiences at the rustic hot springs in Japan, Kashikiri provides a more luxurious and comfortable experience, due to its private spa facilities. Service was incredibly warm, with the spa attendants always alert and ready to assist in a second. Even though they don’t speak much English, they try their best to communicate and meet your needs.
Kashikiri excellent for onsen beginners who would like enjoy a Japanese hot spring experience but can’t make a trip all the way to Japan, or who aren’t fully comfortable with taking on the full-on communal onsen experience. It’s daunting. I’ve been there.
All in all, Kashikiri Onsen is a hidden R&R gem to suss out in BKK, if you’re looking to switch things up from the orthodox Thai massages parlours. I left feeling fully revived and recharged, ready to take on the rest my itinerary.
Address: 84 Sukhumvit 49 Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 9:30AM-10:30PM
Telephone: 081-268-462402 - 258-7902
*BONUS* Book your trip to the Land of Smiles and receive freebies!
Image credit: @thesmartlocalsg
Thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand Singapore Office’s SG52 National Day Flash Promotion, you can redeem BTS One-Day Passes to explore Bangkok City to the fullest, 90-minute Massage Vouchers @ Let’s Relax, and Cold Storage vouchers when you book your tickets to Thailand from the 3rd of August - 13th of August 2017!
Note: The offer is exclusively for Singaporean citizens and PRs.
* Only applicable for bookings made between 3rd August - 13th August 2017 and travel between 3rd August - 30th September 2017. Terms and conditions apply.
This post was brought to you by Amazing Thailand.