A Herbal Steam Bath In A Chicken Coop in Trat

A herbal steam bath in chicken coop - a unique Thai experience

Unique Trip Thailand

Words: Mark Glanville
Photos: Sirimaya
Published: 
May 17, 2018

With so many spas these days offering many intriguing treatments, it takes a little something different to catch my eye. The idea of being encompassed in a chicken coop for a herbal steam bath in a village settling in the tropical Thai countryside did just that.

Chong Chang Tune Live Ecomuseum in Bo Rai district of Trat province, offers just such an exotic treatment at its Spa de Chong. It’s a highlight of the ‘living museum’ experience and picturesque nature trails on offer to visitors here, amid the charming welcome of the local Chong community.

Before I know it I’m at Spa de Chong, sat on a low stool next to a steamer and I find myself thinking ‘here it comes, here comes the chicken coop’ …and then I was in the chicken coop. With just my head poking out from the top, looking (I’m guessing) not at my most dignified but (of this I’m certain) sporting a blissful expression on my face.

A herbal steam bath in chicken coop takes 15 mins

The 15 minutes of the steam bath, which I was told uses herbs gathered from the local countryside, seemed just the right amount of time. Emerging from the chicken coop my pores felt better, I felt better.

There was more spa loveliness to come, in the form of a white mud body scrub in the nearby river. Sitting down I’m painted on my arms and legs with the delightful white, fragrant mud and then find myself watching curiously as it dries. I probably could have sat there for an hour or two longer, captivated by this, but it was time to rinse off in the river and, subsequently, revel in the lovely clean feeling I had.

Time to rinse off the white mud scrub in the river

While at the river and as this is Siamese ruby country, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a pan and strike it rich with these beautiful stones. It didn’t take all that long for me to come to the conclusion I probably wasn’t going to strike it rich, but hey I gave it a try and I had fun doing it.

Panning for Siamese Rubies

Getting there

Ban Chang Tune village is about 50 minutes by car drive from the Trat town. Trat itself is around 300 km from Bangkok, and there are regular flights and bus services. Bangkok Airways offers two flights per day on the Bangkok-Trat route. Regular buses and minibuses leave from either Ekamai eastern bus terminal or Mo Chit northern bus terminal. A self-drive holiday is most recommended as you can combine this with other unique attractions in Trat.

Welcome to Chong Chang Tune Live Ecomuseum

Homestay

A two-day/one-night homestay experience for group visit of 6-20 people costs 1,300 baht per person, inclusive of six activities, three daily meals, one night’s accommodation, tree seedlings and saleng (motorbike sidecar) sightseeing trips. More info here (in Thai).

Checking in

There’s a good option of hotels in Trat city. Trad City Hotel offers new and clean rooms when compared to the relatively tired rooms at Hotel Toscana Trad. Or enjoy homestay experiences with local communities such as Ban Tha Ranae mangrove forest or Huai Raeng Ecotourism Group.