Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Chinese Bathhouse adventures

Mumu outfits

One of my favourite places in Shanghai is the 'Xiao Nan Guo Tang He Nan' Bathhouse and it was one of the first places I headed to when I returned. A perfect, if quirky place hang out with girl friends and let the stresses of life slip away. You arrive to a huge reception area, complete with grand piano tinkling away on it's own. You check in your shoes and head to the spa. Those of us brave enough head to the bathing area, no clothes allowed...and enjoy the plunge pools of rose, milk and green tea, spa tubs and saunas before heading to the scrub room. I never would have imagined that one of my favourite things to do, would be to lay on a vinyl bench, in my birthday suit, be scrubbed all over, face covered in grated cucumber, then doused in UHT milk...with friends in a row on their own vinyl benches. You feel so fresh and clean afterwards, all dry skin banished. You then shower, rid yourself of any stray bits of cucumber and change into a Hawaiian print 'mumu'.


On a daytime visit, we would then head to a pre booked suite, complete with automatic mahjong table and a few recliners for treatments, ranging from manicures to foot massages. Play a few games of mahjong whilst taking turns having foot massages in the recliners. Wander down a floor to the restaurant for some fabulous food, Scallion Oil Noodles, Shanghai Dumplings, Chilli Beef Vermicelli to name some favourites.

Ready for the show

On an evening visit, after having a feast in the restaurant, we would find a few spare recliners in the huge relaxation area around a stage, for a foot massage with ginger treatment. Your legs are covered with ginger filled gauze with hot towels on top, while your feet are massaged. Amazing and your legs feel great for days after.

Every evening at 9pm there is entertainment on the stage, usually an extravaganza of Russian dancers performing a bizarre selection of international dances. A Scottish Reel, an Irish Jig, a Bavarian Beer Dance!

Russian Dancers

There are Chinese Singers, a few acrobats...if you are lucky two Chinese Roller Skaters. Entertaining whilst having a foot massage.

Chinese Acrobats

The evening I went...there were no Russian dancers...but something more bizarre...never seen before ....three dogs appeared on stage. Please excuse the terrible quality is quite hard to get a good shot when dealing with small animals moving in the dark, whilst you are having your feet pummelled!!!

Dog Show

The dogs first did a few standard tricks....

Dog Show

This little guy was quite adept at jumping through the hoops....

Dog Show

But this little guy....I have no idea why he was there...he knocked over every hoop....

Dog Show

...and every hurdle...Hellooooo...look at his short legs...he was never going to go over the hurdle! Was like watching a car crash...though the little dog seemed to be quite happy with his performance. It got worse...far worse...the dog trainer then gets out a cap gun ...points it at the dog.....and plays dead...we sit there, having our feet massaged...horrified...then the trainer picks up 'dead' dog by it's back feet and walks around showing off 'dead' dog to the audience. My friends and I are aghast... Thankfully by now our feet have been massaged...and we are free to leave...I catch a glimpse of the dog happily 'waking' as we walk out. Bring back the Russian dancers I say!

Xiao Nan Guo Tang He Nan Bath House
3337 Hongmei Lu by Yanan Lu
Hongqiao, Shanghai.


  1. Aaah, wish I could have been there with you! The dog show seems a bit frightening at the end, I hope they change it back to the under age kids rollerskating. Gosh what show!

  2. Missed having you there! The dog show was disconcerting that's for sure...wasn't expecting that...under age kids rollerskating far preferable!