Lao Red Cross Sauna and Massage

Get pampered for a good cause

What we say: 4 stars

After three months of renovations, the Lao Red Cross Sauna & Massage has reopened. This Luang Prabang institution has been a favourite with locals for years but the heritage building was badly in need of repairs. The centre is now revitalised and has a fresh look, with all facilities upgraded. We’re happy to report that the sauna is better than ever. It’s an absolute bargain, and all proceeds go to support Lao Red Cross projects in the poorest villages in Luang Prabang and Udomxai provinces.

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The newly renovated Lao Red Cross Traditional Sauna & Massage.

The building is located on Visoun Road, in Ban Visoun across from Wat Wisunalat. It’s walking distance, just five minutes down the slope from the backpacker bar area of Ban Aphai.

Choose from a one-hour traditional Lao massage with oil (50,000 kip), a one-hour aromatherapy massage with premium oils (80,000 kip) or a one-hour foot massage (50,000 kip). All therapists have been trained and the centre is managed by Madame Ohn who has worked there for almost two decades.

Photos explain some of the aromatic plants used in the sauna.

Photos on the wall explain some of the aromatic plants used in the sauna.

The process is simple: undress in the change room, wrap yourself in the sarong provided and then put your belongings in one of the secure lockers. There are three no frills massage rooms with several beds divided by curtains for privacy.

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One of the freshly painted massage rooms.

The traditional sauna is a special local experience, and one we recommend you try while in Luang Prabang. Admission to the sauna is only 10,000 kip. The steam is infused with an aromatic mixture of plants and herbs. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the Lao believe a visit to the sauna is good for your health.

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Communal sitting area for sipping tea in between steam sessions. The herbal tea is brewed daily.

There are separate rooms for men and women. Undress and wrap yourself in a sarong, sit in the very hot sauna for five minutes, then leave and drink a cup of herbal tea. Repeat two or three times. The sauna is extremely popular so sometimes is does mean having to wait your turn.

A behind-the-scenes look at how the sauna works: wood fire fuels the steam; a mixture of medicinal herbs is added to the water.

A behind-the-scenes look at how it works: wood fire boils the pot of herbal tea and the giant vat of water with medicinal plants; a pipe brings the steam to the sauna upstairs.

You can shower after you are finished but the locals believe it’s good to leave that herbal residue on your skin for a while.

Get pampered for a good cause.

More details
Visoun Rd, Ban Visoun Village, opposite Wat Wisunarat (Wat Visoun)
Opening Hours: Daily, massage 13:00-21:00, sauna 16:00-20:00
Last updated: 1st August, 2014

Last reviewed by:
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer & photographer living in Laos since 2011. She's the author of So Many Miles, her blog about diving in, discovering and creating a narrative about the world, one story and adventure at a time.

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