While browsing around Johor Bahru City Square, I ran into a beautifully decorated Thai massage place called Thai Odyssey. Touted as the “Best Family Spa” with “Presented by Ministry for Tourism Malaysia”. Wow, sounds quite fancy.
The ambiance inside was lovely. Dim lighting, a familiar spa scent that made you relax, and a smiling staff. Well, at least the reception was smiling. It was a busy Saturday evening and I was expecting them to be fully booked. When I inquired about a slot for a foot massage, the lady took my reservation for a slot 20 minutes later. Efficient.
The spa rates when I visited in July 2014
- Half Body Massage – MYR 55.00 (SGD 21.50)
- Traditional Foot Massage (30 mins) – MYR 55.00 (SGD 21.50)
- Traditional Foot Massage (45 mins) – MYR 63.00++ (SGD 25.00)++
- Traditional Foot Massage (60 mins) – MYR 68.00 (SGD 26.60)
- Traditional Thai Massage (60 mins) MYR 98.00 (SGD 38.00)
I signed up for the 45 minute foot massage. It costs MYR 63.00 (as posted on their spa menu) but with local tax it was about MYR 66.80. I gathered what extra ringgit I had from my previous trip to Malaysia, to be able to pay MYR 67.00. It was my last ringgit. 😛
Promptly a lady escorted me to an area for the brief foot wash. The spa was about 70-80% full of customers so I felt like I was now part of the machine. Good thing the lighting, scent, and soft music took my mind off the hurried feel of business as usual.
The masseuse took my shoes and I had wooden slippers. At the wash, the water was kind of hot. There was no easing into the hot temperature. She washed my feet softly but with a somewhat hurried feel to it. I was probably her 10th customer for that day. It was around 6PM already.
After drying my feet, the masseuse led me to a large and quiet room with large glass windows and doors. The ambiance is superb. It was clean. The Thai decor was in good taste. The arrangement of the foot massage area like the seat, the stool, was neat. I sat down and my bag was placed on a small table next to me. I was given hot tea (it was almost room temp actually) which I downed in three gulps as she stood there waiting for it.
Finding my relaxed lying position, I settled in. She handed me a pillow and a nice white towel where I can rest my arms and hands on (instead of on my lap). I liked this arrangement. Then, she placed a cool weighted eye-cover on me. It felt like it “wrapped” around my eyes/eyeBAGSSS perfectly… helped to take me into the zone. 😛
At first, the foot massage felt a bit rushed. She started on the right foot, then suddenly wrapped it in a towel and worked on my left foot. Apparently that was just the teaser portion I guess. As she eased into the foot massage (starting with my left foot), it started to feel real good. Maybe I wish there was a little bit more oil or lotion since I have hairy legs.
The pace was also better mid-way through the massage. My favourite leg position was when she bent my leg so she could massage my leg calf. That was really good and the pressure was fine. Same thing for my right foot and leg.
Here’s the slightly disappointing part (at least where the 45-minute foot massage is concerned). The ending was quite in-your-face. The massage would end when the masseuse would knuckle the legs and feet… you know, the re-awakening portion (I’ve had Thai massages before, I don’t know the exact names lol). Then, she would say something like the massage is done. And the eye-cover is removed. And voila, time to wear your shoes!!! #wearthemnowplease
I was expecting a light shoulder and arm massage which is usually complimentary or part of the “foot massage” package from my past experiences. This is where you sit up on the stool and you get a quick shoulder and arm massage. Maybe one that just lasts 2 minutes. I saw the other guys in the room get the same thing. I guess this isn’t included in the “45 minute” massage. That could be my only explanation haha.
Because I used up my last ringgits for this foot massage, I put on my shoes and made a bee-line towards the exit. I usually tip (as I always do in the Philippines). But I’m slightly confused by tipping in Johor Bahru. Singaporeans don’t tip, but do masseuse/masseurs, hair stylists expect to get tipped? Or is the concept of tipping totally not in Malaysia and Singapore? In Manila, you tip for personal services (haircut, massage, pulling out of a car park, cab fare, etc.).
I say I give Thai Odyssey a 3 out of 5 based solely on a 45-minute foot massage and the excellent ambiance. Plus, it’s at Johor Bahru City Square which is connected directly to JB Sentral and CIQ/Immigration. I’d go back to try the 60-minute Thai massage.
Read my other posts about Johor Bahru