Review: Thai Leisurely Life — Taipei, Taiwan
Thai Leisurely Life (泰悠活) is a Thai themed massage parlor in Taipei. I call it Thai themed rather than a Thai massage parlor because no Thai women work there and as far as I know no genuine Thai massage is offered either. This seems to be a popular model in Taiwan as there are several similar shops including the previously reviewed Thai Happiness nearby.
The Thai Leisurely Life parlor is easy to find. It is located on Minquan East Road which is a main thoroughfare. It has clear signs on the exterior and it stays open well into the night. Since most of the shops around it close earlier the illuminated store front can stand out against the backdrop.
The shop is nice and clean inside. The lobby on the ground floor is open and spacious considering the location and there is a main desk where a cashier sits at all times. While the cashier may only be able to manage a little in the way of English conversation she is perfectly able to point out the price of massages on a printed sheet. As with most massage parlors there are several options available but the most common would probably be a one hour oil massage for 1000 New Taiwan Dollars ($31 USD) which is standard for the area. Two hour oil massages are also available at the discounted rate of 1500 New Taiwan Dollars ($47 USD).
After customers pay the fee for the service of their choosing they take off their shoes and slide on a provided pair of slippers that are quite small. With their tiny indoor footwear adorned they then head up the stairs and into one of several massage rooms that line the hall. The rooms are nice enough. They are of average size and kept clean. Professional massage tables sit in the middle of each room and all the standards like a hook to hang clothes are also there. The doors have small windows in them with one way glass. This seems to be a safety feature more than anything else. The walls around each massage room go all the way up to the ceiling but a lack of music and the way the building was put together mean that customers can sometimes hear noise from other massage rooms especially when a particular customer has a loud voices or laughs a lot.
There are several women working as masseuses at Thai Leisurely Life. They all seem to hail from the Chinese mainland. Most are in their thirties and of average looks. Most are also unable to speak much of any English. It’s clear by their ability to do rub downs that they all either went through some sort of massage training or gained a lot of experience through practical work.
Customers are assigned whichever woman on the roster is next in line though I’m sure repeat clients could request a favorite masseuse by name. Once in the room each customer is given the option of showering in a shower stall down the hall. If they want to take up this offer they must strip down in the massage room then wrap themselves in a provided towel and head down the hall. After they finish and dry off they can head back to the room where they will put on a tiny pair of disposable black paper panties and wait to be rejoined by their masseuse.
Oil massages are pretty much the same everywhere in the world. There is always some variation between individual masseuses but the general process involves the customer laying down and receiving a massage from oil covered hands. If there is anything different at Thai Leisurely Life is would be that things tend a little more toward the healing hands style of massage than a cheap place staffed by underpaid disinterested women working around some tourist trap in Southeast Asia. The women working at this place actually want their clients to feel better when they leave.
People may have various ideas of what being made to feel better requires. In the minds of many people a massage can’t leave a man fully refreshed unless it involves the entire body. Many Chinese masseuses throughout Asia understand this and thus put in the extra to effort to make sure the massage ends happy. The women at Thai Leisurely Life seem to fit into that category.
About half way through oil massage services customers are asked to turn over so that the masseuse can work on the front side of their bodies. It is at or around this point that offers for hand service are usually extended to male clients who seem to be up for it. Those who accept are treated to expert service by experienced fingers and palms. This is followed by a quick clean up and then a more thorough hot towel rub down. After the massage finishes customers can shower again or simply put their clothes back on and head downstairs.
Tips aren’t normally discussed at Thai Leisurely Life. Satisfied customers are free to give their masseuses whatever they think is appropriate after they receive their service but a gift of around 1000 New Taiwanese Dollars seems to be about average and generally goes over very well.
Thai Leisurely Life is a lot like Thai Happiness which I reviewed here several months ago. Both offer nice massages that end on happy notes in the middle of Taiwan’s capital city. Both are clean and staff but cheerful ladies who know how to do a rub down and aim to make their customers feel good. While a person may prefer one shop over the other the objective observer would probably consider them about equal. It is only fair then that Thai Leisurely Life receive the same average two-and-a-half star score as Thai Happiness.
Thai Leisurely Life. No. 88 Minquan East Road Section 2, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. Open 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM, 7 days a week. Phone: 02-2523-2200.