Top 3 Reasons Why Nuad Thai Massage is on UNESCO Heritage List


In December 2019, Nuad Thai was added to the prestigious UNESCO Heritage List. According to Unesco, the Thai Massage has its “roots in self-care in Thai peasant society of the past, where every village had massage healers whom villagers would turn to when they had muscle aches from working the field”.

This intangible cultural heritage list is separate from the world heritage list, which recognizes buildings and sites of prominence. There are 549 items on the cultural heritage list – split into three categories – from 127 countries. Nuad Thai is on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity listing.

Top 3 Reasons Why Nuad Thai Massage is on UNESCO Heritage List

  1. Nuad Thai is an expression of love and care for others and it strengthens social solidarity, enhances self-reliance and is a quality that has inspired and come to define Thailand as a caring society.
  2. The continuation of this Thai tradition helps uphold the community’s identity, which is firmly anchored in its history and local wisdom.
  3. Nuad Thai, or traditional Thai massage, serves as a sign of recognition of this folk wisdom-based medicine and of traditional medicines in general around the world.

Nuad Thai – Traditional Thai Massage

Nuad Thai, when translated to English, means Thai Massage. Many people who tried this form of massage believe that it helps in reducing stress, boosting energy, and enhancing athletic performance. Thai massage uses gentle pressure and yoga-like stretching techniques to relax the entire body.

Thai Massage works the whole body using a series of movements that are similar to yoga stretching. A trained therapist will use their palms and fingers to apply firm pressure to your body. You’ll also be “twisted” and stretched into various positions. You can wear comfortable, loose clothing during the massage.

In this article, we will focus on the difference between Thai Massage and the typical Swedish Massage, which is sometimes called the “Classic Massage”.

Clothing – On or Off?

Swedish Massage uses essential oils or lotions. As such, clients are undressed and covered only by a towel, lying face down on the massage table. While Thai Massage also use oils, these are not essential oils and are often not applied. Hence, clients are typically not required to undress or allowed to wear loose, comfortable clothing. In addition, massages are done with the client lying on a mat or firm mattress on the floor.

Strokes – Gentle, Soothing and Relaxing?

Thai Massage – There is constant body contact between the therapist and client, but rather than rubbing on the muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, “twisted” and stretched; the client will be positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the session, which is also combined with deep static and rhythmic pressures.

Swedish Massage – More relaxing compared with Thai Massage. It incorporates:
– Sweeping strokes, which are usually used at the start and end of a massage.
– Kneading strokes, which “kneads” the muscles to release any pain.
– Pounding strokes, which are fast percussion movements, such as tapping, chopping, and pounding.
– Resistance strokes, where the application of deep pressure to particular spots is done using the fingertips, knuckles, and the thumb.

Positioning – Up Dog, Down Dog?

As mentioned above, Thai Massage works the entire body using a series of movements that are similar to yoga stretching. So if you are thinking that you need to adopt specific yoga poses by yourself in order to receive treatment, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Thai Massage is also commonly known as “lazy yoga massage” because you don’t need to put any effort into the movement. The therapist knows what he/she is doing, so just relax your body and let the therapist take control of it.

Unlike Thai Massage, Swedish massage rarely requires the client to move, let alone change positions. The therapist will begin the session with the client facing down on the massage bed or lying on his/her back, and flipped over at the halfway point.

Whether you prefer Thai Massage or Swedish Massage, you will be delighted to know that both types of massages will last between 60 – 90 mins.


Massage is a huge business in Thailand and it is regulated by the Public Health Ministry. While Thai Massage is offered by both “spas” and “massage parlours”, the legal difference between a “spa” and a “massage parlour” is unclear. To protect your interest, it is advisable to patronize only legal businesses.

Please click on this link to get more info on UNESCO’s website:

Thailand Plastic Bags Ban – Should You Be Worried? Plus, Top 5 “Upmarket” Alternatives (Updated)

Updated as of 24th Jan 2020.

Since late last year, there were rumors circulating about Thailand’s plastic bags ban.  As such, some Thai shoppers have resorted to baskets, buckets, and even wheelbarrows to skirt a new ban on single-use plastic bags. 

This restriction, introduced at the start of the new year, is currently supported by several major mall operators and convenience stores. The plan is to be rolled out into smaller businesses by the year 2021.

This ban was an effort to tackle the country’s crisis on plastic (especially single-use plastic bags) that is creating an escalating problem of land and sea debris.

In support of this ban, while managing our travelers’ shopping joy, DeFreesia found you a solution… Introducing #DeFreesiaShoppingBags!

This is the brain-child of the two founding partners, who spent “hours” cracking the “Plastic Bag Ban” code… Now, you must be wondering what’s so special about this shopping bag? Check this video out!

Plastic Bag Ban - DeFressia Shopping Bag

All Travelers with DeFreesia Transport Services from February 2020 will receive this FREE! Book your travel with up today and no more worrying about Thailand’s plastic bags ban!

For those who fancy more up-market non-plastics bags, these are some options curated for your review:

Non-Plastic Bags #1 – Kiddee Project

What: Kiddee Project’s designer, Vipavat Darapongsathaporn, teamed up with Nan Hospital to create an eco-friendly line of totes made from dialysis bags used for patients with kidney disease.
Aiming to reduce the amount of waste produced by hospitals, the Kiddee Project gives these medical products a fresh spin by upcycling them into urban, utilitarian-style totes. After being cleaned and sanitized, the dialysis bags are combined with polyester to create sturdy and functional bags.

More info can be found at 

Non-Plastic Bags #2 – Chaaum Studio

What: You may have noticed Bangkok city-dwellers carrying waist bags and totes that looked like recycled cement bags; here’s the fact, THEY ARE! Designers from Chaaum Studio recycled cement bags into stylish lifestyle accessories, including bum bags, tote bags, backpacks, and wallets.
The bags are functional and sturdy enough to be the perfect carry-all for your everyday essentials, while also being ideal travel companions.

More details can be found at 

Non-Plastic Bags #3 – Madmatter

What: A lifestyle brand makes minimal yet stylish totes that can easily fall in with your wardrobe staples. Transforming used fabrics and second-hand clothes collected from landfills into eye-catching patchwork designs are what made Madmatter’s totes unique.

More info can be found at

Non-Plastic Bags #4 – Vibes Totes

What: A photogenic, fuss-free tote made to carry all of your everyday items effortlessly. The bag is also a canvas for the graphic art of young Thai artists. You can choose from Canvas or Microfiber material.


  • Digital fabric printing
  • Washable material with quality texture
  • Fully lined interior with hidden interior pockets
  • Durable frame and supports heavy load

Details can be found at

Non-Plastic Bags #5 – Angkor Accessories

What: A company that is based in UK collaborated with a social enterprise in Cambodia, to recycle discarded cement sacks into wallets, purses, handbags and more. The aim of this social enterprise is to give local people in Siam Riep fair paid work without having to leave their villages, and also re-uses cement and other bags that would otherwise be thrown out.

More info can be found at

Do you know more “Upmarket” alternatives, please feel free to share with us? You can drop us an email at, and title your message header as “Upmarket Alternatives – Non-Plastic Bags“.

Anti-Military Protest in Bangkok on 14 Dec 2019, Should You Still Travel?

There was a recent news curated from #CNA (Channel News Asia) that a anti-military rally/protest by an opposition party held near MBK, a prominent shopping area of tourists. See article here:

After seeking a clearer understanding from our local colleagues, we understand that this rally/protest was only an hour long.

We at DeFreesia, do not take political stands but will however advise tourists visiting Bangkok, Thailand to stay vigilant to avoid vacation disappointments due to traffic.

If you need any assistance for your travel in Thailand, feel free to contact us. DeFreesia Transport Services – an authorised operator by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (License No. 14-02461)

Muay Thai Gym Directory Launched!

Named “Awesome Muay Thai”, this directory has been carefully produced to include everything that tourists, as well as Muay Thai fans and practitioners, need to know about this unique martial art; such as, where to watch Muay Thai matches, where to learn to become a Muay Thai practitioner, and where to buy Muay Thai gear and accessories.

Officially launched on 25th September 2019 by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, this “Awesome Muay Thai” directory features comprehensive information for tourists wanting to experience Thai boxing or Muay Thai martial art in its country of origin.

76 Muay Thai gyms across Thailand can be found in this directory, including important information of each gym’s – background, coach’s profile, courses, and Google Maps QR code. There is also a list of shops and stores selling Muay Thai gear and accessories and souvenirs. In addition, related Muay Thai facilities and services including hotels, resorts, spas, as well as shops to get Muay Thai tattoo symbols or Sak Yant tattoos, are listed.

The ‘Awesome Muay Thai’ directory can be downloaded in a PDF file or e-book format at

Going Coconuts in Thailand

With the rising summer temperature in Thailand, coconut juice vendors are literally laughing to the bank as their business tripled in the past weeks. However, the following story is of no laughing matter…

In some parts of Thailand, the scorching heat had left four dead and put the corals in survival mode (and potentially at the verge of extinction); On Koh Torinla, 80 percent of the coral is now bleached, according to Songtum Suksawang, director of the national parks department. This is due to the risen seawater temperature to 31C (or more), which is higher than the optimum range of 23C to 29C.

Read more here:

If you are venturing to Thailand during the June holidays season, please be mindful of the heat and stay hydrated always. Coconut juice helps!

AD: Take advantage of FREE airport transfers in Bangkok

FREE Airport Transfer Bangkok Thailand

E-Visa – Online Application

Applying Visa to Thailand has never been easier. With the new enhanced Electronic Visa (E-VOA) application, you can apply for your visa in just 5 steps!

You can check on your status online between 24-72 hours after application. Once approved, you can print your E-VOA to be submitted on your arrival to Thailand.

** From now till 30th April 2019, the Thai Immigration Bureau waives the THB2,000 Arrival Fee. **

Here’s how to apply your E-VOA online:

1. Go to
2. On the Home page, look for the application widget as shown below:
> Choose your nationality, Arrival airport, Arrival date  and Click on “Apply Now”

3. Fill in passenger details

4. Upload files: Passport page, Airline ticket, and Accommodation documents

5. Check your details

Once your application is approved, you will be able to print the E-VOA to be submitted on Arrival.

Upon arrival, please proceed to the dedicated E-VOA lanes (situated in the Visa On Arrival area) have the following documents ready for the immigration officers at the Checkpoint:

  • E-VOA detail (QR code with PACxxxxxxx no.) – See Below
  • Passport

For more information, you can contact E-Visa Thailand via their email at

Travel Visa – Do You Need One?

visa logo not travel visa

Nope, I am not talking about VISA or MASTERS Credit Card, but an important document which acts as a conditional authorisation granted by a country to a foreigner, allowing them to enter and temporarily remain within, or to leave that country, a.k.a. Travel VISA.

Now, if you are entering Thailand and wonders if you need a (Tourist) Travel VISA, I have just the information you need below!  Holders of normal passports of the following countries are granted visa-free travel to Thailand for a period of up to 30 days. The exemption is granted at most twice in a calendar year when entering over land or via a sea border but there is no limitation when entering by air.  For Malaysians entering by land border, there is no limitation in issuing the 30-day visa exemption stamp.  Korea, Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Chile will get 90 days in both airport and land border:

55 Countries allowed to enter Thailand under the VISA EXEMPTION RULE (updated as of 26th May 2017):

    1.  Argentina
    2.  Australia
    3.  Austria
    4.  Bahrain
    5.  Belgium
    6.  Brazil
    7.  Brunei
    8.  Canada
    9.  Chile
    10.  Czech Republic
    11.  Denmark
    12.  Estonia
    13.  Finland
    14.  France
    15.  Germany
    16.  Greece
    17.  Hong Kong
    18.  Hungary
    19.  Iceland
    20.  Indonesia
    21.  Ireland
    22.  Israel
    23.  Italy
    24.  Japan
    25.  Korea
    26.  Kuwait
    27.  Laos
    28.  Liechtenstein
    29.  Luxembourg
    30.  Macau
    31.  Malaysia
    32.  Monaco
    33.  Mongolia
    34.  Netherlands
    35.  New Zealand
    36.  Norway
    37.  Oman
    38.  Peru
    39.  Philippines
    40.  Poland
    41.  Portugal
    42.  Qatar
    43.  Russia
    44.  Singapore
    45.  Slovak Republic
    46.  Slovenia
    47.  South Africa
    48.  Spain
    49.  Sweden
    50.  Switzerland
    51.  Turkey
    52.  United Arab Emirates
    53.  United Kingdom
    54.  United States
    55.  Vietnam

Why VISAs Are Required?
Many countries require citizens of other nationality to obtain a visa before they enter their country.  As I have explained earlier, Visas are the permission granted by a sovereign nation to a traveler permitting entry for a specific purpose (tourist, business, study, etc.). Often, there are very specific instructions and procedures when applying for and obtaining a visa.

What if i do not belong to the 55 countries listed above? What VISA would I need?
You will need a Tourist VISA which is issued to applicants who wish to enter Thailand for tourism purposes.  It costs THB1000 and is valid for 3 or 6 months.  Upon arrival, travellers with this type of visa will be permitted to stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 60 days.  Further information can be found using this link.

How to apply for Tourist VISA for traveling to Thailand?
You can actually apply for a Visa On Arrival (VOA) upon arrival at the airport in Thailand, or it can be obtained in your home country through the Thai embassy or consulate located there.

thai-tourist-visaImage Source:

Article contributed by Mr. Calvin Ng, Fitness Trainer and Online Business Coach

FAKE Somboon Seafood

Did you know that there are eight official branches operated by the REAL Somboon Seafood restaurant? Famous for their Fried Curry Crab, Somboon Seafood has been in operation since 1969.

Somboon seafood real deal 1

Here’s their history:

1969 – “Somboon Seafood” first opened in Samyan Area, occupying a shophouse close by Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy. This was where the famous “Poo-Phad-Phong-Karee’’ (Fried Curry Crab) was originated and became very popular among Thai diners for its freshness, deliciousness and reasonable prices.

1990 – The second outlet ‘’Surawong’’ opened on the more urbane Surawong Road and the brand Somboon Seafood started to be well-known among Japanese and international expatriates.

1991 – At end of the lease for the Samyan outlet, the restaurant was moved to a new location, “Banthadthong”.

1993 – Introducing “Somboon Chinese Restaurant”, on Banthadthong Road. The new restaurant brand features authentic Cantonese cuisine and is well received by local and international public figures and businessmen.

1996 – New expansion of Somboon Seafood, the “Ratchada Branch”, on Ratchadapisek Road, which at that time was an emerging business district of Bangkok

2001 – The restaurant launched its “Udomsuk (Bangna)’’ branch in the prime residential area of eastern Bangkok.

2008 – The return of “Samyan Branch” at the newly-built Chamchuri Square Building, the same spot where the first Somboon Seafood restaurant was established 40 years ago.

2014 – Somboon Seafood is proudly celebrating its 45th anniversary with the launching of two new branches: “Central Embassy” and “Siam Square One”. The new outlets are located in the middle of the city’s prime entertaining and commercial districts and easily accessible by BTS skytrain.

OKAY, enough of the REAL DEAL!  Now, lets have a look at WHO’s the FAKE?!?

somboondee somboon real fake

Apparently, there is a not-so-new-kid-on-the-block named SOMBOONDEE SEAFOOD MARKET. It was reported multiple times by different bloggers and tourists that they have been cheated by their “flagged drivers” to patronise this seafood restaurant which is passing off as the original SOMBOON Seafood. This has annoyed the original SOMBOON Seafood so much that they decided to warn their clients but sharing that they have only eight outlets and be aware of SCAMMERS!

So next time, please only go to the following outlets to feast on their Fried Curry Crab! I am slurping my saliva while finishing this post! Haha.

1. Bantadthong Branch (nearest BTS National Stadium) – 895/6-21 Soi Chula 8, Bantadthong Rd., Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
2. Surawong Branch (nearest BTS Chong Nonsi) – 169,169/7-12 Surawong Rd., Suriyawong, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500
3. Ratchada Branch (nearest MRT Huai Khwang) – 167/9-12 Huay-Kwang Intersection, Ratchadapisek Rd., Din Deang, Bangkok 10320
4. UdomSuk Branch (nearest BTS Udom Suk) – 26 UdomSuk 60, Sukhumvit 103 Rd., NongBon, Pravet, Bangkok 10250
5. Samyan Branch (MRT SamYan Station) – 315 Chamchuri Square Building, Room101-102-103 Ground fl., Phya Thai Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
6. Central Embassy Branch (BTS Ploen Chit Station) – 5th fl., Central Embassy 1031 Ploenchit Rd, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
7. Siam Square One Branch (BTS Siam Station) – 4th fl., Siam Square One Building Rama 1 road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
8. CentralWorld Branch (BTS Chit Lom Station Exit 1) – 6th fl., CentralWorld 4, 4/1-4/2, 4/4 Ratchadamri Rd., Pathum Wan, BKK 10330

Article contributed by Calvin Ng, Fitness Trainer and Online Business Coach

Top 7 Cafes in Bangkok

coffee bangkok cafe near BTS

While researching on the growing digital nomads community in Bangkok, this topic came to mind and I decided to investigate what would be the top cafes in Bangkok and I ended up with the following list. I have not personally been to all of them but this curated list of coffee joints were mentioned repeatedly by various influencers on the worldwide web.

I will go through the following list in random order and will have  a separate table showing the different cafes based on proximity to BTS stations.  Do let me know if this list becomes obsolete as I admit that I am not based in Bangkok 24/7.

Top 7 Cafes in Bangkok

Proximity to EKKAMAI Station
9. THE GARDEN OF DINSOR PALACE (another branch near Thong Lo as well)

Proximity to PHROM PHONG Station

Proximity to SAPHAN TAKSIN / THONBURI Station

Proximity to SIAM Station
1. AFTER YOU (quite a few branches now)
2. PHIL COFFEE COMPANY (another branch near Thong Lo as well)

Proximity to THONG LO Station
10. GRAM

Hope the list above is helpful!  Have a Caffeine great time!

Article Contributed by Calvin Ng, Fitness Coach & Online Business Trainer

Top 7 Tourists' Scams in Thailand

top 7 thai scams

Have you noticed that not all tour operators in Thailand (especially local tours) are licensed? Also, do you know what are the Top 7 Tourists’ Scams in Thailand? Check this out!

1. This Place is Closed
– This happened some time back when I was travelling with my mum and wife to Bangkok for a short break. We wanted to go to Chinatown for some Sharkfin soup and seafood, so we hailed a taxi outside Platinum Mall. Once we boarded, the taxi driver commented that there was bombing and Chinatown is closed for redevelopment and insisted to take us somewhere else for dinner. As we started driving off, I felt something wasn’t right and googled while in the taxi on redevelopment of Chinatown after bombing… nothing came up. I immediately yelled at the driver to stop and he dropped us off the roadside, in the middle of nowhere. With my awesome navigation skills, my family walked back safely to our hotel 15mins later.

– Another common version of this scam can happen near any tourist attraction but still happens a lot outside the Grand Palace. As you approach, someone will tell you that the palace is closed for various reasons. Ignore them as you will end up in either a gem store or a tailor shop.

2. Damaged Jetski / Motorbike
– Some of us like to play watersports and explore the city in a motorbike by renting them from local pop-up stalls along the beach, especially in Phuket or Pattaya. It’s all smiles of happiness when you scoot-off, but when you come back after your fun, they will point out scratches and dents in the jet ski (or motorbike) and they will demand large sums of money. What they fail to mention is that a dozen other customers have already paid for those scratches. If you rent anything, be it motorcycle, car or jet ski, make sure all scratches and dents are documented.

3. Help me get FREE Gas
– This happens every so often on a Tuk Tuk ride where the driver will bargain with you on the pricing for his ride to a location you wanna go to. He will then tell you that in order to match your price, he will need your help to visit a Gems factory or Tailor shop for a short while so he can get FREE gas. If you are not in a rush for time and have a big heart, you will walk right in t o this scam.

4. Priceless Gems
– Not sure about you, but I am no expert on gem stones so I will typically avoid any gems factory outlets visits no matter which overseas destination I go. It is just too common to be pressured in to buying something very expensive which may be worth next to nothing just for a SAFE ride back to your destination once you are stuck in that situation. Of course, to make you feel better, the shopkeeper will have “actors” who will tell you what a great bargain you had!

– A variant of this scam revolves around the shopkeeper accusing you for paying with a counterfeit note. He or she would go to the back of the store, away from your sight, swap the note you handed over with a realistic counterfeit one and return. Giving the fake note to you, he or she would demand for new payment, leaving you to pay for twice or thrice the original amount.

5. Tailor, Tailor, Alligator!
– Similar to the Gems factory, such tailor shops are typically low quality in workmanship and materials used. This can happen anywhere, but is more likely at tourist locations. Halfway through a Tuk Tuk trip, your driver might ask you to wait as he take a toilet break. Coincidentally, a stranger approaches you, and start telling you about some bargain he found at a tailor shop which only Thai people know.  At this point, your tuk tuk driver will be back and the stranger will “helpfully” tell him where the shop is. At the shop, the prices seem like a good deal and high pressure sales tactics are used to make you pay everything upfront with FREE home delivery! Too good to be true? You decide!

– If you want a genuinely great tailor, go to Paul’s Fashion at Sukhumvit Road (BTS Asoke) SUKHUMVIT SOI-20 (200 meters inside the Soi opposite 7/11 )

6. Ping Pong Show
– Don’t believe the touts outside those shady bars, especially when you are at Patpong area. They will lure you with free sex shows and drinks for only 100 baht each. You will end up paying a bill in the thousands. Stay clear if you are alone as they can turn violent (some may even threaten your life with “tainted” needles with AIDS virus) if you refuse to pay.

7. Meter? No Meter, Spoil
– This is probably the most notorious of all; even the Tourist Police acting deputy commissioner Pol Maj-General Surachet Hakpal vowed to step up its crackdown on taxi drivers who take advantage of foreign tourists. Many Taxi drivers were accused of refusing to use the meter (claiming the meters are spoilt), and some tourists complained that they were charged Bt800 (S$33) for just a 300-metre ride!

Article contributed by Calvin Ng, Fitness Trainer and Online Business Trainer