Why would you pay to roll around in mud when you had spent almost your entire childhood doing the exact same thing for free? Well, first of all, I didn’t have that kind of childhood.
If you did, good for you. But maybe now it’s time for you to relive that moment and be a kid again?
And for the rest of us unlucky kids, perhaps we could use the mud-bath experience to teach our adult selves to let go of our inhibitions and just get dirty and have fun!
Besides, Nha Trang, Vietnam is well-known for it. Although there are now mud-bath spas in other regions and countries, they all seem to have been inspired by the ones in Nha Trang.
So, what is it that draws thousands of people to mud-bath spas in Nha Trang everyday? Is it simply to embrace their inner child? Well, apparently mud bath comes with a multitude of health benefits:
- Pain relief – The deep heat from the mud and geothermal water have excellent anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve muscle and joint pains.
- Detoxification – The mud used in the bath contains minerals derived from plants such as trees, flowers, and grass. These can draw out toxins and impurities from your body.
- Relaxation – The warm, velvety mud against your skin allows your body to experience deep relaxation. Its high density also means that you will float in it, leaving no pressure on your body — making you feel like being in a sensory deprivation tank.
- Balancing pH levels – Complex minerals from the geothermal water will help to balance out your body’s natural pH levels.
- Skin softening – The volcanic ash in the mud will gently exfoliate your skin, leaving it soft and silky. Ever heard of mud packs that people slather on their faces as a home spa treatment? It works the same way.
- Improving circulation – The heat from the geothermal water and the Jacuzzi jets will invigorate your blood circulation.
Where to Go for Mud Baths in Nha Trang
Nha Trang has four popular mud-bath spas, catering to different budget ranges. They are all located close to the city center, so location shouldn’t be an issue. Which one you choose will largely depend on how much you’re willing to spend. Do check their websites to see their current fees.
Thap Ba Hot Springs
The oldest and cheapest mineral/mud-bath spa in Nha Trang. Located near Po Nagar Cham towers. Facilities include communal and private mud-bath tubs, a mineral waterfall, a hydrotherapy wall, two heated pools, two normal pools, two jacuzzis, a sauna room, and a restaurant.
Contact Number: +842583837205
100 Eggs Mud Bath
The most unique of all mud baths on this list, with everything inspired by eggs — from the tubs, to the decorations, to the restaurant menu. The spa is a forest of egg-shaped tubs, each of which can fit about three people, and the restaurant serves everything with eggs, including the famous Vietnamese egg coffee.
Apart from the usual facilities, Eggs Mud Bath also offers shopping, kayaking, and rock-climbing. Located around eight kilometers from the city center.
Galina Hotel & Spa
The only mud-bath spa in the city center — located on the third and fourth floors of the four-star Galina Hotel. Features the usual facilities, including mud bath, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, and a swimming pool. The mud bath area is designed to look like a cave. Get 30% discount if you stay at the hotel. They also have another branch in Da Nang.
Contact Number: +842583839999
Thap Ba Hot Springs
Opening Hours: 7.00 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.
Founded in 1999, Thap Ba Mud-Bath Spa was the first of its kind in the city. Now, more than two decades later, it is still a popular choice for locals and travelers alike.
Being the oldest in the field means they must really know what they’re doing. But it might also mean that they don’t have the most cutting-edge, state-of-the-art facilities. And being the cheapest in town tends to attract the rowdiest, lousiest crowd (myself included). They have had some negative reviews due to these reasons.
But I’m a sucker for cheap stuff, so I decided to go anyway and see it for myself.
How to Get to Thap Ba Hot Springs
How to Book a Mud Bath Session
You can go to the spa without prior booking. Alternatively, to secure your spot, and for a discounted rate, you can book online on Klook. This app allows you to get cashbacks for each booking and accumulate points for each review you write. For a communal mud bath package, I paid approximately VND175,000 (N/P VND 180,000). There are also private packages available.
If it’s your first time using Klook, register using my referral code to get an extra USD 3 off: FFKSC
What to Expect at a Vietnamese Mud Spa
Your driver will drop you off outside the main gate. There is a huge parking space in front of the spa. If you see tour buses parked there, it’s probably best to come back another time.
The place looks like a resort — with a reception counter, a concierge, and a spacious lounge.
First, you need to go to the reception to register and make your payment. Or if you have an online booking, just show them your mobile voucher.
The front-office staff was okay — not friendly, but not rude either. Nobody told me where I had to go. I had to find my own way to the locker area.
Once there, they gave me a locker key and a bottle of drinking water. Towels were not included in my package, so I had brought my own. There were changing rooms, but I already had my swimsuit under my clothes. I simply changed at the locker.
When I arrived at the mud bath area, only two tubs were occupied. There were more than 10 of them available, each one big enough to fit 8 – 10 people. If you come in a group, you would all have to share a tub. I was the only solo guest, so I got my own private one. I assume if it had been a busy day, I might have been grouped with other people.
After each bath, the tubs would be drained and cleaned. When there are no people in them, they would stay dry and empty. Only when a new customer arrives will the attendant turn on the tap. It’s fascinating to watch the mud sloshing into the tub, filling it fast.
At the side of each tub, you will find scoops to help you pour mud all over your body.
You are only allowed to stay in the mud bath for 15 minutes (there are attendants keeping time), after which you have to leave the tub and proceed to the next step.
The next step after mud bath is sunbathing. This is an important part of the mud bath experience as sun exposure will assist absorption of minerals into the skin. Wait until the mud dries on your skin, or longer if you prefer. Then, wash off at the open-air shower.
After showering, you will go to another tub, but instead of mud, this time they will fill it with hot mineral water. Soak in it for another 15 minutes. Again, someone will let you know when your time is up.
In this step, you will walk through a narrow walkway between two walls that spray strong jets of water at you. Warning: It can be ticklish and slightly painful.
After that, you are free to use the jacuzzi and swimming pools. There is no time limit. But take care when bathing in the hot pools. Do not stay for too long at a time. The high temperature can cause dizziness, nausea and fatigue in some people, especially those with hypertension and heart disease.
Additional Tips for Mud Bathing at Thap Ba
- If you have an online booking, arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time. Your booking is subject to cancellation if you are late for more than 20 minutes.
- Minimum age to participate is 2.
- Persons with disabilities are allowed to join. However, the facility is not wheelchair-friendly.
- Not recommended for people with hypertension or heart disease.
- Wear swimwear or lightweight fabric. The skimpier, the better. No jeans or any thick, absorbent fabrics, unless you really hate your launderer.
- Those with long hair, make sure you tie it up neatly.
- Put all your valuables in the locker. Or better yet, leave your valuables at home. Only bring your essentials.
- Remove all jewelry before getting into the pool. God forbid you drop a diamond earring during the bath. Good luck searching for it in the mud.
- Do not bring your phone or any gadget into the mud pit. If you really must, make sure you have a reliable water-proof cover.
- Do not take a mud bath if you have any open wound or contagious skin ailment. It is a shared pool.
- Do not over-eat or exercise before having a mud bath or a geothermal bath.
- Do not over-exert yourself in the geothermal pools. They are meant for soaking, not for doing laps.
- Stay hydrated.
- Mud bath is more effective if you don’t wash it off with soap as this will wash away all the good minerals.
- Unless you have your own transport, do not leave too late in the evening. It’s almost impossible to get a Grab/taxi in the area after dark.
Final Thoughts on Mud Bathing in Vietnam
I had never intentionally played with mud, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I guess I was expecting the mud to be smelly and clumpy, with chunks of dirt and debris sticking to my skin. But what came out of the tap was actually very clean, smooth and creamy in texture. And it only had a very faint earthy smell. If not for the color, I wouldn’t have thought of it as mud.
Being (partially) submerged in the velvety substance was a strange, relaxing feeling because of its density. It made me feel light. As for how my skin felt afterwards, there wasn’t any noticeable change.
I like the fact that there were not too many people, so I could have the tub to myself — for the most part of it, at least (halfway through my mud bath, a group of loud Chinese tourists came out of nowhere and invaded my tub without so much as a hello).
I started my session at 4 p.m., lost track of time in the jacuzzis, and finished at almost 7.
After being told that the last shuttle for the day had left, I tried ordering a Grab, but it was hopeless. Thirty minutes passed and still there was no available driver. In the end, I had to walk 5 kilometers in the dark to get back to the city center.
Have you ever had an unusual spa treatment? Where did you do it, and what was your experience like? Comment below.