Bad massage experience in Hoi An

My massage experience at Royal Riverside Hotel in Hoi An was so bad that I had to write a post. Oh my god.

If you’re thinking of trying the massage in Royal Riverside Hotel, don’t. It was absolutely disappointing. I wasn’t really sure if the masseuse was even a masseuse, or perhaps, the facial specialist or manicurist instead.

The “massage” (which I leave in quotation marks because I’m unclear if it even qualified as one) was actually infuriatingly bad, so much so that I actually prayed for it to be over.

adult alternative medicine care comfort
Photo by Pixabay on

Unpleasant experience

I’m used to massages with firm, consistent touches. Isn’t that the point of a massage anyway? The fact that I’m even clarifying this is terrible.

During the sad massage I had in Royal Riverside Hotel, the “masseuse” scratched her head a number of times.

So, she’ll stroke/rub my muscles for a few minutes and that would be interrupted with head scratching.

I was wondering if she was using the phone and I peeked out. She was scratching her head it seemed.

I’m sympathetic to an itchy scalp, but this happened way too often during my “massage”. It was definitely more than five times, because the scratching really broke the flow.

But the more annoying thing was, as she did that, she rested her other hand on my body.

It was so unprofessional. And it makes me so unreasonably angry. As someone who doesn’t like to be touched much, I get an unpleasant tingly feeling when a stranger rests his/her hand on my body, and even more so when it’s a light touch.     

I can tolerate it if the touches are brief, but I found that really unacceptable after the hand-resting happened consistently during the massage.   

Because of this, I really felt like ending the massage early and leaving.

Secondly, the aircon was way too cold. It was also blowing directly on my body. This feels like such a rookie mistake.

Thirdly, the masseuse’s nails dug into me. She had long fingernails. 😦   

Finally, I stated that my feet were ticklish multiple times but it didn’t stop her from grabbing me by the feet during some parts of the treatment. There’s only that many times I can move my feet (sometimes I kick by reflex) or complain before I think I’m being the rude customer.

Every other (and possibly every single) masseuse I’ve encountered in the world have either (1) avoided my feet or (2) been extremely good at pressing on my feet. I’ve done many Thai massages, which include handing legs and feet in more awkward fashions.

I have never had such an atrocious massage experience.

After the massage was over, I remarked to my boyfriend if the masseuses we had were randomly plucked from the streets or actually trained in massage. It felt like they weren’t actually trained.

Sadly, I can imagine some travelers going to the in-house masseuse anyway. Hopefully, if you’re going to stay at Royal Riverside Hotel in Hoi An, make sure you don’t go to the in-house massage.

Go to Lemon Tree Spa and Massage

A better place would be Lemon Tree Spa and Massage.

It’s run by a Korean owner so my boyfriend was interested in the place.

The price of this massage place is like most other massage places. Returning customers get 20% off so this is VERY value-for-money. And tons of Koreans visit this spa.

They even have massages for pregnant women and children.


I did the Thai Massage every time I visited. I’ve tried many massages but I think this is the best Thai Massage I’ve had in ASEAN (even compared to Bangkok).

The massage therapists never use their phones (you can report them in the feedback form if they do), and they really focus on you.

At the end of the massage, they serve you your feedback form as well as a yogurt.

I believe most staff speak both Korean and English so you’re in good hands.

You may have to book in advance – they’re really popular!

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.

Rosie’s Cafe in Hoi An

Great and cheap brunch in Hoi An. All prices are below 5 dollars.

One sultry day, my boyfriend and I decided to have some cafe fare in Hoi An.

No Grab drivers would accept us on this 800m-long ride so we had to bike.

Rosie’s Cafe has no aircon so Asian mothers would be pleased.

We biked into Hoi An Old Town, and down into one of the winding lanes. We referred to Google Maps only twice: once at the start of the trip, and another mid-way when we were near the Japanese bridge.

Overall Old Town is so small, tourists should be able to find their ways easily.

We turned in at this sign for a haircut.

We went past these buildings and a barber (this picture was taken from Rosie’s Cafe, so looking outwards).

Voila! This is Rosie’s Cafe.

Rosie’s Cafe

It was not difficult to find for us.

The interior is homely and pleasant.

VND95,000 or USD4.18 and SGD5.70. For salmon!

My boyfriend ordered a smoothie and salmon toast.

Damn millenials! VND70,000 for Avo on Toast which is USD3 and SGD4.20.

The pictured smoothie was converted from a smoothie bowl. Very good.

I had the avocado toast. I read good reviews about it online. It was delicious!

I decided to get the Acai smoothie bowl. It comes with fruits and coconut shavings.

VND80,000: USD3.52 or SGD4.80 for a lot of superfoods

Ended off with an affogato. So here’s the damage for all the food we had: VND355,000, which is about USD15.62 and SGD 21.30.  

SGD 21.30 for two smoothies, two brunches, and two coffees. Wow.

Of course we had to go there the second time.

This time, my boyfriend had a chocolate milkshake called Dark Paradise. I converted the avocado smoothie bowl into a smoothie.

VND50,000 for the Dark Paradise milkshake, VND65,000 for Green Goodness smoothie. That’s about USD2.20 to USD 2.80. For Singaporean friends, this is SGD3-4.

Ordered Rosie’s breakfast. It was good, as expected.

VND80,000: USD3.52 or SGD4.80 for all these.

My boyfriend had the french toast.

VND60,000: USD2.64 or SGD3.60

I lost the receipt but I took a picture of the menu here. Check out those prices! the most expensive item is the salmon toast at VND95,000. Which means no item here is above USD4.18 and SGD5.70. Truly WTF.

If I could, I’d find a hotel nearer Rosie’s Cafe to eat here more often. I never had a tummyache from any of the food. It’s truly affordable and good in Hoi An.

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.

Day 2 in Hoi An: Tailors and tea

Tailors and food in Hoi An

Rise and shine!

The view from our room

Read all about Day 1 here.

Today we are headed to the tailor and to explore this small town of Hoi An.

First stop: Bebe Tailor

Our first choice was Bebe because of all the good reviews. The shopfront was pleasant.

Chau, a female Vietnamese lady, attended to us. She was nice to us and patient even when we bargained. Towards the afternoon, she did seem more tired.

We went to the first store. Ask for Chau!

Chau gave us helpful suggestions within our budget and weather constraints. The ladies’ summer cloths were satisfactory for me.

We decided to walk around to explore more tailors.

After bargaining and comparing prices, I would have to pay USD500 for all these summer work clothes:

  • Blazer
  • Matching skirt
  • Matching pants
  • Sleeved dress
  • Sleeveless dress
  • Sleeved silk shirt
  • Sleeveless silk shirt

My boyfriend will pay USD350 for:

  • Blazer and matching pants
  • Collared shirt
  • Two collared shirts for our friend

If you go to Bebe, do bring about USD100-200 for your deposit.

Next stop: Yaly Tailor

This is another large tailor in Hoi An. It was just 2 minutes by foot away from Bebe.

I can see a difference in standard with Bebe. Here the staff was less attentive. Oh well!

Lunch: Dao Tien River restaurant

Another 2-3 minutes by foot was this restaurant I found through Google Maps.

Final damage: VND530,000.

This was really pricey. If you would like a bite at a scenic and spacious place then this would be nice.

Post-lunch: Reaching Out Teahouse in Hoi An Old Town

The weather is hot in Hoi An, so bring sunblock and all your summer clothes.

By 3pm, my boyfriend and I were hot sticky messes. I do not know how girls wear any make up in this weather.

Visited Reaching Out Teahouse, a “silent cafe”. It was indeed silent. The staff do not talk and may be deaf.

It was a great respite from the hot weather.

To order, signal to the waiter/waitress and show them the block.
Chilled green tea
Vietnamese coffee tasting set

The drinks can be ordered chilled.

In total, we paid VND346,000 or USD15.80 for:

  • Oolong tea
  • Vietnamese green tea
  • Coffee tasting set
  • Cookie tasting set
  • Sweet potato cake (more like chips)

It was worth it. But soon after we just headed back to the hotel. It was too hot to do much.

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.

Day 1 in Hoi An (21 June 2018)

Xin chao from Hoi An and good evening!

I touched down earlier today at 740pm via flight Jetstar 541 from Singapore to Danang Airport.

At the airport you can get a SIM card for a reasonable rate. For us, we got seven days worth of unlimited data for USD7.

My boyfriend and I are staying at the Royal Riverside Hoi An hotel. This hotel is less than an hour’s drive from the airport. The hotel can help to arrange for airport transfers.

The hotel is 5-10 minutes away from Hoi An Old Town on foot.

The room is smaller than expected and as advertised, but it looks cozy.

This is the Deluxe King Room and it set us back SGD60 (about USD45) per night.

The blanket was a little thin for my liking.

The bathroom came with all the important amenities, including a rain shower. Not pictured is the shower cubicle.

The water pressure was great and hot water was plentiful.

Staff tried to help as much as they could, but there was a language barrier.

We were hungry and called for room service. This spread is VND289,000 (pre-tax which is 15% more) – about USD13 or SGD18. But hotel guests get 10% off.

The dishes were: fried seafood spring rolls, and beef and chicken pho. The portion of the rice noodle was small.

We decided to get one more dish called the “White Rose”. I think it is shrimp wonton with sweet sauce but has this name because of the French. This was VND95,000 pre-tax.

The food was only so-so for our stay. I felt physically sick and nauseated the two mornings I had the hotel breakfast but I do not know if it was the food. My boyfriend was fine though.

Would I recommend this hotel? Yes. But if my boyfriend and I go to Hoi An in future, we may choose a hotel closer to Old Town, Bebe Tailors, and the Hoi An Night Market for the wider food options.

For instance, I would rather get a hotel near this restaurant called Red Gecko. It was affordable and good.

Wifi isn’t great here though and I am writing e`verything on my mobile.

My post disappears completely on my desktop WordPress and that is super frustrating. I think some online functions are blocked in Vietnam. I am writing this journal-style post on 21 June 2018 but this will probably only be published after I return to Singapore.

That is it for Day 1!

Check out all my Hoi An 2018 posts here.