In Thailand, "sauna" actually means an herbal steam bath. The sauna has a tradition as long as the Thai massage. Meanwhile, there is a diverse sauna landscape on Koh Phangan. We visited the oldest, traditional sauna on the island and introduce you to some other, slightly hidier places.

The steam sauna has a long tradition in Thailand

The traditional sauna is based on Ayurvedic teachings as well as on old folk knowledge. In the private sector, small sweat tents were used that only offered space for a chair. In the temples there are records of various herbal mixtures and their effects, outside they rely on recipes handed down orally over generations. For example, lemongrass has an antibacterial effect, jasmine has an anti-inflammatory effect and lotus has a calming effect. Particular value is placed on adding regionally growing plants to the classic, well-known medicinal plants. You go to the steam bath for muscle pain, problems with the airways and digestive system, skin problems, for deep cleansing or simply to relax. If you suffer from high blood pressure, fever or poor circulation, you should not go to the sauna. The sauna session is always accompanied by a wide range of massages.

Sauna and massage belong together

The Wat Pho Herbal Sauna Ban Tai is the oldest sauna on Koh Phangan. Here, men and women sweat apart and you wear a sarong made available, swimwear is not enough. A session should not last longer than 20 minutes, then you shower cold (also with sarong) and then relax at one of the seating. After the second pass the body is perfectly prepared for a massage. You can choose between classic Thai massage, coconut oil massage, neck-shoulder-back massage or a foot massage. The ladies at Wat Pho have golden hands! After the massage you should go at least once more into the steam chamber. After an afternoon in the steam room you will find that your body climate has changed. You are just not so hot anymore!

My personal recommendation would be, after sauna and massage only a light dinner to eat and without alcohol and cigarettes. I'll leave my skin alone that day and treat myself to my favorite body cream the next morning after showering.

Wat Pho sauna-Koh-Phangan Ban Tai

The Wat Pho Herbal Sauna is a traditional Thai sauna, which is why nudity and mixed saunas are out of the question. In Western-run saunas, however, women and men are usually sweating in the same chamber and the clothing suggestions vary from "as nature made you" to "sarong".

Sauna on Koh Phangan - an experience for all senses

Also in Ban Tai is the Pro par detox sauna. The complex impresses with its shady, tropical garden and the location directly on the beach. In addition to a steam bath, pool and massage, homemade scrubs and detox drinks are offered.

Pro-par-detox-sauna-ban tai-my-koh-phangan

The sauna in the Dudka Bar is an experience of the extra class. The location above Haad Chao Phao offers a breathtaking view and after a great meal you can end the day with a cocktail from the well-stocked bar around the campfire. Live DJs also play at more or less regular intervals.

The Dome in Mae Haad is a very special place, it almost seems a little magical. Sound & light are used here. Singing bowls and gong meditations, fire shows or yoga lessons are offered regularly. The Dome is specifically not a place for children.

The Dome Spa-Koh Phangan-Mae Haad

Some yoga centers such as Wonderland, Orion, Ananda and The Yoga Retreat have in-house saunas available in the course of detox, healing or yoga packages, or can be booked separately.

Also gyms like this Xantiva in Hin Kong offer Sauna & Ice Bath. Newly opened (2023). Wildwood Beach Fitness on Ban Tai Beach. This is something refreshingly different, both in terms of the presentation and the location.


Have you ever tried a sauna in the tropics? Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments.