Written by Beverley Lennon
If there’s one thing my Singaporean friends always do, it’s complaining about the prices on their island as compared to Malaysia.
Personally, living in Kuala Lumpur allows me to get pampered once in a while, I love getting my pedicure, manicure and massage done since it does not cost an arm and a leg here, but after shopping the whole day along Orchard Road recently, I looked for a cheap massage place and could only find a shady-looking one at Lucky Plaza with 30-minute foot massages at SGD $30! Walao eh!!
Thankfully, you guys can often cross over the border to enjoy wallet-friendly shopping and dining options in Johor Bahru (even cheaper than in KL)! Not just that, you can also find affordable spas with quality massages near City Square and KSL for when you get tired from your shopping spree.
The ones we listed below are non-sleazy, open until 1 am, offer free transport from customs and more! Why splurge on a so-so massage in Singapore when you could save it for both shopping and spa in JB?!
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1. A four-storey spa that has it all! – Clovell Beaute Parlour
To many, Clovell Beaute Parlour is an experience on its own when in Johor Bahru. It is exclusive, all the while being affordable and value-for-money. There’s also a wide range of treatments and you might well want to spare a whole day to get pampered from head to toe in here!
If there’s one thing that daunts me about affordable spas its the fact that therapists are often giggling and gossiping during your treatment (I get this all the time in Bali!), but this is something you surely don’t have to worry about when signing up for a massage at Clovell as you’ll have a private treatment room, some of which come with a private jacuzzi too!
And if you’re coming with your partner, they even have interconnecting rooms so you can be close to each other throughout your much-needed massage therapy (there’s no better way to bribe him with a spa sesh after you’ve spent a whole day shopping around).
Now besides that, the spa strikingly stands out with girly floral decor, fit for all the princesses out there – also ideal for when you’re on a girls’ trip!
Step in and they’ll take care of everything so your body, mind and soul feel at peace – you’ll even be directed to their dining area where you get complimentary food after your treatment – salad bar, sandwiches and other sweet treats to satisfy your guilty pleasures, along with a tea set to put you right in the mood.
And parents can rejoice too! Clovell even features a kids’ corner to keep the little ones busy while you get pampered, making it an absolute treat for any mom and dad out there!2. Escape to fantasyland at this garden-themed spa – Family Thai Spa
Ask anyone who’s been to JB for a spa recommendation and chances are that you’ll be directed to Family Thai Spa. And rightly so, as besides being family-friendly, they’re good at what they do and that’s probably why they’ve been expanding and opening several outlets around the city!
While we all love the bustling malls and markets around JB, a step into this spa will transport you to fantasyland as this isn’t just any spa – it is garden-themed, bound to awaken your every sense and put them at peace, even more so when you get to experience their secret sky garden!
Now, the place really specializes in Thai body treatments; ideal for when you miss all the stretching you get at the spas in Bangkok! Bonus point is that it’s much less lup sup than the ones there (i.e. no risk of ‘happy ending’).
And when you need some exclusive treatment, their VIP room will serve you right as it’s almost like a mini-spa all to yourself; grab your girlfriends and make the most of it!
P.S. They often have time-limited special promotions such as 6.5-hour spa treatment packages for RM 168 (approximately S$ 55.78). Check out their Facebook page below for the latest deals!
3. For when you miss your Thai Massage from BKK! – Bangkok Spa
What’s more synonymous with Bangkok than affordable massage? Well, it seems that you can now benefit from all the BKK perks just by crossing the border, there’s no need to fly anymore as you can get your fix of equally good authentic Thai body massage in JB, and they won’t cost you an arm and a leg!
Now wait for it – Bangkok Spa even provides free transportation from your hotel, provided it is located in JB Central (CIQ), City Square, KSL and the surroundings. All you have to do is text or call to let them know where you wish to be picked up from.
Alternatively, those driving over can benefit from a reserved parking lot too. Coming to the best part – Bangkok Spa opens until 5am, that means you get to enjoy a pampering session after hopping from one hidden bar to the next when in JB!
Other benefits include free wifi and phone charging services (I know, this is extremely important nowadays when we use up our batteries and internet data faster than posting an IG video). Past guests also rave about the customer service which is top-notch, and the staff is also generally proficient in English but just remember to highlight that you’re here to relax as some have complained about frequent gossiping among the masseuses!
4. Take a walk in nature to soothe your body – Forest Spa Plaza Sentosa
What better way to make use of the healing powers of nature than signing up for a massage at a botanical-themed spa?
Well, although not set right in the middle of the jungle, Forest Spa Plaza Sentosa will surely transport you so deep into lush greenery that you’ll feel as though you’ve escaped to Bali and its magical rainforests!
Besides their usual body massage, the spa also specializes in traditional Chinese treatments whereby they apply vigorous kneads on your body points – great for those who enjoy deep-tissue massages.
Sign up for a pampering session and you’ll be directed to a beautiful room illuminated by fairy lights, a setting that’s bound to bring you to dreamland!
5. The cupping masters – Zie Reflexology
While we’d usually sign up for a pampering session for the sole sake of relaxation, sometimes our body demands much more. Now, I can’t be the only one – I am sure that some of you look out for places that can help to relieve pain, inflammation and improve blood circulation, and rightly so as we’re constantly on the move and deserve a treat once in a while!
If you agree to my saying, you’d like dropping by Zie Reflexology as this is a go-to place in JB for traditional Chinese cupping treatment when in need of restoring a healthy flow of energy. They have years of expertise and provide various cupping options ranging from air, fire and bamboo methods. Their on-site therapists will gladly guide you as to which is best for your desired target.
Besides, they offer other treatments such as reflexology or yet, their traditional Malay body massage which involves unique techniques you can’t find in your usual Balinese or Thai massage. Why not try something new for once?
6. Need a massage past midnight? – Let’s Relax Spa
Getting a massage in JB has become like a must-do and understandably, you can get it at a cheaper price than in Singapore. Plus, it’s also the best way to recover from your shopping spree around the city.
And now, what if I told you that you can get your whole pampering shebang late at night, or rather, in the early morning past midnight?! Let’s Relax is not only popular for its affordable Thai massages but also because it’s open until 3am! You’ve read right; that means you get to finish off your full shopping day, go for cafe-hopping, bar hunting and supper at the night market and still be able to come over for a massage before going back to your hotel; that’s quite like the cherry on top of the cake!
Again, you’ll get an authentic Thai spa experience, with most of the masseuses coming straight from the Land of Smiles, backed up with years of experience too! You’ll also be set on comfy beds rather than just simple thin mattresses on the floor as the spa features convertible sofa beds, while post-treatment perks include hot tea and desserts!
7. Feel as if you’ve been transported to Thailand! – Sabye Sabye
For an immensely relaxing session of traditional Thai massage that’s a lot cheaper than a trip to Bangkok and just as good and intense, book yourself in for a one-hour massage at Sabye Sabye!
The massage parlour is deemed as one of the most affordable in JB, yet it offers quality treatments that seem to rarely disappoint as former guests are often seen buying the spa’s balms to bring back home too; souvenir for all the friends you bojio maybe?
Nothing really fancy at the spa, in fact, you’ll be lying down on a floor mattress but it can’t be more authentic than that! The spa is located right next to Let’s Relax Spa so you know you have an alternative if they’re fully booked!
8. A down-to-earth home spa you aren’t ready to forget – Walea Spa & Retreat
Nestled in a little home just 8 minutes’ walk from KSL Mall, you’ll find Walea Spa & Retreat – many refer to it as possibly the best spa in Johor Bahru. Firstly, they offer top-notch customer service, the spa is sparkling clean, has private treatment rooms, but most importantly they are experts in what they do!
Prior to your treatment, the spa owner Evelyn will bring you through the whole massage process to detail out what you’ll experience during your session – personally I think this is a remarkable customized service that might well set this spa apart as compared to other affordable massage parlours where you’re simply directed to your treatment room and chances are you won’t even know what are the differences between their different massages.
Coming to your treatment room (they only have three), you’ll be comfortably set in all privacy and it even features a jacuzzi – ideal for when you’re coming over with your bestie or partner! You’re very likely to be so very satisfied with the treatment that you’ll sign up for their annual membership programme and come back to try out their body scrub or facial!
9. No frills but nothing to complain about – Thong Thai
Thong Thai is your next best-bargain spa in JB, it is especially great if your back is giving you trouble as most of those who’ve dropped by here have raved about their Aromatherapy Body Massage which helps you to loosen up a little!
Now, it’s fair to say that the spa is pretty basic when it comes to amenities and it offers to-the-point massages, that is, no fluffy towels and cloud-like bed, you’ll be laying down on a floor mattress while your neighbour would be just a curtain away but hey I still think that it’s nevertheless awesome to enjoy a typical Thai massage all the while being on a student budget!
The added bonus here has to be the location as it’s located in Holiday Plaza Mall which is pretty popular. Masseuses are numbered so if you’re satisfied with the one who served you on your first visit, you can always request for the same one simply by mentioning their tag number (no need to remember names anymore – especially when sometimes there’s probably five of them with the same name).
10. Try out the Korean steam room and buffet at this spa! – Wan Jia Therapy & Reflexology by Wang Zu Bu Luo
If you have a little more lolly to play with and fancy a bit of an indulgence, you’ll find Wang Zu Bu Luo fitting your requirements perfectly.
This is in fact one of the more ‘atas’ options in JB with super great packages and offers for their members! They offer unique massages and out-of-the-ordinary amenities like a Nano Korean Steam Room, known to be the first in JB!
A 70-minute health care foot and shoulder massage is up for grabs at RM 88 but you can benefit from a RM 20 discount off their treatments if you sign up for their membership programme.
And that’s not it, following your massage you’re invited to indulge in a complimentary free buffet with plenty of snacks! We’ve heard about their home service too so if you’re ever feeling super lazy to leave your hotel room you could just ring them up! Smells like holiday to me!
Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love a good deal, but sometimes we’re ready to fork out a little more for an even more exclusive spa experience (read: more privacy, top-notch service, cleanliness and more). If you too are ready to splurge a little or if you’re planning something special for your precious someone, these options below might well be the one!
1. Melt your stress away in a jacuzzi at this romantic spa – Spa.Mii
Whether you need a good scrub, rub, pedi, mani or crave a full head-to-toe pampering package alone, with your besties or your sweetheart, I have the answer to it – Spa.Mii it is!
Considered as rather new on the scene in JB, Spa.Mii is one of your best bet if you’re looking to truly restore and revive. What better way to end the week than with a cross-over to JB for a ridiculously romantic spa break with your loved one?
And although slightly more expensive than the others on this list, it’s value-for-money – they value privacy and serve as a tranquil oasis of relaxation while specializing in crystal healing. You’ll be able to truly immerse and experience the healing powers of crystals through their treatments, after which you’re invited to gently soak in a bubbly jacuzzi.
Post-treatments call for tea time as Spa.Mii offers complimentary refreshments for their guests; you’ll find plenty of Instagrammable rest areas around the spa to simply relax and come back to reality.
Now, if you want to make the most of this moment, they even have a dedicated event spa room for special occasions (proposals, anniversaries and more!). With most of their past guests being satisfied with the services and treatments received, we bet you’ll want to get your hands on their skincare products, which are being sold at the spa itself!
2. Sign up for an all-inclusive spa experience – Kaki Kaki at Bliss Boutique Hotel
What could be a better bargain than having a renowned reflexology centre just right downstairs from your budget boutique hotel room?
That’s the kind of luxury you can get while staying at the affordable Bliss Boutique Hotel in JB. Besides featuring family rooms that cost less than RM 170 per night, it’s also where you’ll find one of the 60+ branches of Kaki Kaki – one of Malaysia’s largest reflexology companies. And if you’re spending the night at the hotel, you’re in luck as you can benefit from a 10% discount at the on-site spa (simply request for your coupon from the front desk)!
From 11am to 2am, Kaki Kaki serves up signature body treatments with traditional Chinese techniques but seriously though, their reflexology will be your new BFF once you’ve signed up for a blissful one-hour pampering – you’ll feel so light that it’ll be a breeze to go back to the malls and shop endlessly!
With so many affordable spas to choose from, which one will be your pick? Tag your friends and plan your weekend trip to JB!