Ubud Stories and Tips

Balinese Massage

The Preparation of the Jasmine Oil Photo, Ubud, Indonesia

On the menu of blessings at the Tjampuhan Hotel is in-room massage service. When we were there it was $40/hour per person, including the jasmine tea at the end. I convinced Chuck to go for it. We had already been initiated when our guide took us to a day spa in Sanur beach and we tasted 30 minutes of bliss for $10.00! This promised to take us to even greater heights and we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our masseuses.

Two women were sent to our room with platters in their hands, presumably holding all of the materials needed for this ritual. There is no room for modesty with Balinese massage so I was told to remove my sari and lay on my stomach. Chuck was instructed to do the same, except he didn't wear a sari. They had small earthenware jars that contained jasmine oil, and when they removed the lid, the scent started to tease my nostrils. They never pour the oil directly on your skin, but rather warm it in their hands and begin the magical rubbing and kneading. They start at the feet and work their way up, the motion always sweeping toward the heart. No a single square inch of skin is left out; I had sensations in places I didn't know existed.

Aroma is an essential part of this ritual, as it has a very soothing and calming effect on the nervous system. Thirty minutes into the session, you are to flip over so they can work on the front part. They do cover the pubic area with a small towel so they can work around it. I couldn't ask them where they learned this art, or how long they had been practicing it, as they did not speak English. I think Chuck and I exchanged a word or two at most during the entire session as he was as absorbed into his sensations. When they are finished, they give you an opportunity to throw something on, and then present you with a wonderful cup of warm jasmine tea. Both women were more than happy to oblige for a souvenir photo. Whatever you do when you're here, don't forego the massage; it's addictive.

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