There are quite a few fancy sports clubs in Phuket, where you can get a sauna or a session in a steam room. Even the municipal pools have a steam room for you... well when its working they do!
Usually these saunas are all European style wood cabins with a gentle electric burner in the corner heating rocks. You pour a little water on the rocks, perhaps with some added fragrance and gently let the steam and pine smell clear your head of the days worries.
Then there's the other kind. The no frills, this-is-what-your-lobster-feels-like-as-it-dies kind! As I was exploring Coconut Island for a second time, I discovered that near the pier is one of these more basic saunas, at 50 baht a person, naturally I just have to try it!
This sauna has separate men and women sections, no European style nudity hear, dress in a proper swimming costume. The changing rooms are separate and clearly marked, the steam rooms are separate, men to the left of the fire, women on the right of the fire.
In the distance the chanting from the Mosque beckons worshippers, and for me it provides some background music to my rest. I could barely survive 3 minutes in that steam, its so thick and dense.
There is a hot bench and a cold bench, the steam comes in under the hot bench, and I found I couldn't event sit on it, it was so intense. A quick cold shower, and a rest, cook-rinse-repeat cook-rinse-repeat and I was done.
This can be a little difficult to find, its on a small turnoff marked only in Thai, so you'll need to look carefully at the map below. Open from 3pm till 8pm.