For only 12,000 kip, you can relax and feel good about supporting the Lao Red Cross in Udomxai.
Funds generated from their traditional sauna and massage go to community first aid training, construction of toilets and gravity-fed water systems, relief aid and sex education.
It's 700 metres along a bumpy road and then up a hill to get to the centre. Buy your ticket, wrap yourself in the sarong provided and duck in and out of the wood-fired sauna, alternating between almost unbearably hot herb-infused steam and rejuvenating cool fresh air. Locals visit the sauna religiously, believing it is good for the health (and a good way to socialise). In fact, unlike Western saunas where you shower after the steam, locals leave it on to let the herbs soak into the skin. So join the fun: experience Lao culture and sweat it out.
You can also indulge in a no-frills massage for only 40,000 kip. Over the course of one hour the old masseuses knead and iron every single inch of your body, the perfect antidote for the pain suffered during a long Lao bus ride.
By Cindy Fan.
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