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In Bangkok, where the smog can make your eyes tear, the Oriental Spa is an oasis. Across the Chao Phraya River from the Mandarin Oriental hotel, it offers all the usual accoutrements of calm—orchids lining the pathway, sitar music humming from the walls—and then some. A hotel boat delivers you straight to the airy entryway, where a half-dozen Thai women stand and bow. In the massage suite is a mattress or two (massage à deux is popular) and a shower-steam room the size of a Hummer. A therapist then arrives and goes to work. Thai massage is a bit like assisted yoga: The therapist uses her own body to stretch, contort, and relax yours. Afterward, you sit in the steam room and realize you sometimes have to travel 10,000 miles to reach nirvana. One-hour massage, $70; 66-2/439-7913; www.mandarinoriental.com.

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