The Kunming Pampering Guide: Spas and Massages on all Budgets

The Kunming Pampering Guide: Spas and Massages on all Budgets
By Matt Poulter , eChinacities.com

 

Most expats have heard a horror story or two of a friend of a friend left bruised and battered by an incompetent and overzealous masseuse. A story that frequently does the rounds in Kunming is of an American woman who several years ago had to return to the States with crushed nerve endings in her spine because of a bad choice of massage parlour. Strangely the account is short of all other details.

You don’t have to worry about wheelchairs, but what certainly is true is that Kunming has a huge number of massage parlours of varying quality. To help you avoid any nasty surprises, or happy endings, we’ve compiled a short list of some of our tried and trusted favourites. Unless otherwise stated, all venues offer Chinese style massages, which seem to pay more attention to the joints and ligaments compared to Swedish, which tends to concentrate on the muscles.     

Jinfang Forest Hot Springs 金方森林温泉
Jinfang Forest Hot Springs is set in the natural hot spring area north of Anning, which is host to around a dozen different establishments. Jinfang is our firm favourite, both for its ambience and the excellent massage services, perfect after a long soak. The springs are set in a calming outdoor forested area. Pine needles drift down into the rose petal, mint, milk or lemon scented waters. If you so desire, there is even a pool filled with little fish that will nibble you clean.

The pools are well spaced and so Jinfang offers more privacy than most, even at the busier weekends. As well as unlimited access to the pools, a 128 RMB ticket includes a back rub and towel down in the changing rooms, and an hour long foot massage on the second floor with its army of masseuses. If you don’t want to listen to the loud Chinese historical soap operas on the TV, we suggest bringing an MP3. For around 200 RMB you get the works, including a facial and a full body massage with aromatic, moisturising oils. The massage staff is well trained and is happy to chat away or leave you drifting on your own thoughts as you prefer.

Towards the end of the day many of the staff are noticeably and understandably a little tired and “weak fingered”, especially on a busy weekend. If the weather is nice, foot massages can also be taken outside in the forested area or near the large swimming pool. There is also a small café which serves a selection of cold drinks and snacks. Jinfeng is a wonderfully relaxing experience, and although some may balk at the price, remember for its equivalent in the West you would be paying around ten times as much!

Jinfang Forest Hot Springs 金方森林温泉View In Map
Add:Wenquan Zhenlong Xi Lu, Kunming
地址: 昆明温泉镇龙溪路
Opening hours: 10:00-02:00 daily
Tel:087 1863 1588
Getting there:
Buses and small vans leave regularly from the station on Renmin Xi Lu. Both are 8 RMB and drop you off on Baihua Lan Lu on the east of Anning City, a forty minute drive from Kunming proper. From here you can take a taxi, around 30 RMB or a small bread van, around 5 RMB per person to the hot spring complex north of Anning.

Sunnyside Massage Clinic/Blind Massage Centre恩光按摩诊所
Wenlie Jie and its environs is host to a number of massage parlours, outwardly very similar but of varying massage quality inside. Sunnyside Massage Clinic has been around for several years and is definitely one of the better choices. Sunnyside Massage is set at the end of a small tree lined side street that runs off Wenlin Jie. If you’re having trouble finding it, look out for Teresa’s Pizza and Prague Café, the street runs down from between them. Its removal from the noisy main road makes it one of the quietest and most relaxing options for a massage in this busy area. The décor inside is basic at best, but the sheets on the massage tables are always clean and the towels fresh. All masseuses here are blind. They are friendly and extremely experienced. The parlour itself is very small with only four tables. This might mean you have to wait, especially at busier evening times or at the weekend. However, the size of the parlour adds to its quiet and homey atmosphere.

Sunnyside concentrates on body massage and has a range of discount deals available. A 60 minute body massage starts at 30 RMB. A discount card can be bought for 250 RMB, which gives you ten visits. A 45 minute massage is priced at 25 RMB and the discount card 200 RMB. The 30 minute massage is 20 RMB and the discount card 150 RMB. Foot massages are also offered priced at 35 RMB and with a discount card, again for ten visits, its available for 300 RMB. The masseuses are happy to oblige if you have a particular problem pain area which needs special attention, however, you’ll need to tell them in Chinese.

Sunnyside Massage Clinic/Blind Massage Centre恩光按摩诊所View In Map
Add:Wenlin Jie, 2 Fuyong Dao, Kunming
地址: 昆明文林街府甬道2号
Opening hours:10:00-24:00 daily
Tel: 087 1532 5313 / 137 5916 3327

Chenshi Zhuanye Mangren Anmo Dian (Chenshi Professional Blind Massage) 陈氏专业盲人按摩店
Chen’s place can be a little difficult to find if you are not familiar with Kunming. If you’re walking up Wenhua Xiang from Wenlin Jie, look out for a very small street on the left just before the police station. Chen’s Blind Massage parlour is the last shop on the right. Chen’s is a relatively new venture but Lao Chen himself is very experienced. The parlour is another super low key blind massage place, which is all about the quality of the massage rather than the décor. One hour body massages are priced at 30 RMB and half body massages 20 RMB. Foot cure services (zuliao, 足疗) are also offered. They are a little more expensive at 38 RMB but are worth the price. If you haven’t had one of these before think of a pedicure complete with relaxing footbaths full of herbal concoctions as well as foot massaging which lasts for about an hour. Wenhua Xiang is home to some of Kunming’s Best Cafes and so you’re one minute away from a nice cool beer after the foot soaking.     

Chenshi Zhuanye Mangren Anmo Dian 陈氏专业盲人按摩店View In Map
Add:Wenhua Xiang, down the small alley next to the police station, Kunming
地址: 昆明文林街文化巷,在公安局旁边的小街
Opening hours: 10:00-23:00(ish)

Zhaoshi Xiongdi Zhuanye Xiujiao Fang 赵氏兄弟专业修脚房
Zhaoshi reportedly has several locations throughout Kunming, but we’ve only ever discovered this one. Again, it can be a little difficult to find. Your best bet is to head into the Sujiatang residential complex and then ask someone local or show them the Chinese name. Sujiatang can be reached on either the number 98 or number 1 bus from Wenlin Jie. Your effort will be worth it.

ZhaoShi specialises in foot massage and pedicures starting from an amazing 10 RMB. They get more expensive depending on the quality of herbal foot bath you request, although we can’t really tell the difference! A discount card can be bought for 100 RMB which gets you twelve visits. In case it should influence your choice either way, we’ll mention that they seem to prefer employing young men rather than young women.

Zhaoshi Xiongdi Zhuanye Xiujiao Fang 赵氏兄弟专业修脚房View In Map
Add:SuJiaTang XiaoQu, Kunming
地址: 昆明苏家塘小区
Opening hours:10:30-23:00

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Keywords: where to get massage Kunming Kunming massage Kunming masseuse Kunming massage parlours

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