It’s a sneaky trick, but it works.
Arrive – finally – at Koh Samui Airport, wait to get your bags, then find your driver. Whether that takes five minutes or fifty, by the time you reach your hotel you’ve realised something: it’s hot in Thailand.
And then! A charming, beautiful woman delivers a present that makes you fall in love, not just with her, with all of Thailand. Before you’ve even unpacked, you know you’ll be back, again and again. This present, a mere token, erases all the tedium of your journey. It rehydrates both skin and soul. Are we getting hyperbolic? Not at all; there’s restorative magic in a cold lemongrass towel.
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Thai lemongrass towels
What are lemongrass towels? A what? Lemongrass towels are actual Thai magic, there to imprint happy memories smack on your senses… vacation starts now. Take away the magic, and a lemongrass towel is a normal towel (ideally a small white one), infused with lemongrass, then rolled tightly and chilled. Do you need them in your life on a regular basis? You didn’t know it, but yes.
Lemongrass towel supplies
Often, whether you’re given a lemongrass towel to refresh at a Thai spa or on arrival at a resort, you’ll also receive a cup of herbal tea. It might be served hot or cold (usually hot after a massage and cold when given as a refreshment) but will very often feature lemongrass. As with your lemongrass towels, a pitcher of cold lemongrass tea is wonderful to keep in the fridge – they’re a perfect match. Many Thai recipes will add a generous dose of sugar syrup – that’s up to you.
How to make lemongrass towels
1. Take a stack of washcloths/flannels or small hand towels.
2. Fill your sink or a bowl with hot water (hot enough that you can touch it, not boiling).
3. To this, add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil and swish the water around. Then add your towels to the water. It’s easy to go overboard, but try to contain your enthusiasm and stick with about five to ten drops at first (depending on how many towels you’re ‘cooking’). Once it’s mixed in the hot water you should be reassured that this is plenty – otherwise, go for gold.
4. ‘Hand wash’ your towels, just for a minute to disperse the oil.
5. Next, wring out the towels; you want them damp but not dripping.
6. Once wrung out, fold them in half, then roll them up – as tightly as possible. The real pros tuck the ends into a very tight roll. It depends how OCD-Marie-Kondo you want to be, they’ll still smell the same no matter what they look like.
7. Let your lemongrass towels cool down to room temperature and then store them in the fridge (or the freezer) so they’re ready to refresh you when you need it. (After a spin class? Oh yes yes yes). For convenience, you can store your supply in a tub – ideally one with a secure lid to keep the scent fresh and prevent any extra liquid from spilling. (That gorgeous lemongrass is for you, not the fridge).
When and where?
Excited to use them? They’re absolutely ideal to use whenever you’re hot, fed up or want a quick dose of Thailand. In fact – they’re so wonderful they’ll almost teleport you there.
An extra benefit to your lemongrass towels: the scent deters mosquitoes!
If you’re headed to Thailand, consider making some lemongrass towels to put in the fridge before you go. When you arrive home, tired and travel-weary, they’ll be a fitting cap on a perfect vacation. Then you’ll realise you have towels in your fridge but no food… and that’s a problem all your own. Enjoy!