Hands - and feet - on. Only very few countries are synonymous with massages. The Swedes with their athletic version (birch twig thrashing optional); the Indonesians (Balinese, actually) with their use of pressure points; the Indians with their hot, oily ayurvedics, and the Thais with their Dusty Springfield inspired walking all over you.

Bang for your Baht

All very nice, but if you really, really want to feel you've got bang for your Baht at the end of the massage then it has to be Thai. And there's only one place to experience the real deal - the spa at the immaculate Mandarin Oriental Bangkok hotel.

Superhuman strength

Just arriving there is part of the attraction, as the Oriental's spa is on the far side of the bustling Chao Phraya River from the hotel itself, and reached by boat weaving through the riverine traffic. On entering the spa you will be greeted with a charming chorus of 'sawadika' by a coterie of grinning and diminutive Thai ladies, one of whom will soon be revealed as possessing superhuman strength as she bends and prods you into submission.

Well earned dinner

An hour later, and having discovered a few new muscle groups, you will feel a completely different person, and thoroughly justified in having a delicious Thai dinner at the neighbouring riverside restaurant.