"pampered in Siem Reap"
siem reap pampered in Siem Reap From getting pampered in polished surrounds to being pummelled by a blind masseuse, Siem Reap’s massage options run the gamut from luxury to budget. Avoiding the five-star hotels, liz ledden samples what’s on offer in the Old Market area. in thai techniques, the precise Frangipani: amount depending on the level Popular with ex pats of their expertise. BoDytune offers five types of massage. you can choose from a hands, arm, shoulder and head massage (us$12 an hour), a foot massage (us$12 an hour), traditional thai massage (us$14 an hour), a thai-swedish style oil massage (us$18) and an aro- matic oil massage with a choice of essential oil added. the foot massage has four phases. a pressure point mas- sage on your feet using tiger- balm scented cream is followed by a kneading-type massage on your legs. after some further work on pressure points using a stick ground into the soles of your feet the massage concludes with thai-style massage with the masseuse using her knees Photo by liz leddeN and elbows to work into your calf muscles. FRANGIpANI an hour, us$33 for two hours), scrub (us$18 for an hour). the the service and ambience siem reap tucked away down the alley be- one-hour body scrubs such as treatment supposedly helps firm provide excellent value for hind Pub street, Frangipani is a the Khmer coffee scrub or the the skin and reduce cellulite. money offering a resort like spa small boutique style spa offering Brittany salt scrub (us$22 each this treatment may not be for experience at mid-range prices. a to-die-for range of massages for one hour), and an hour’s the faint of heart – the burning and luxurious facials and body aromatic facial treatment for sensation intensifies the longer BUDGET & BLIND mASSAGE treatments. starting at us$18 an us$28. there are also some the scrub is left on – but will ap- the vast majority of massage hour, the prices are very reason- enticing packages such as the peal to fans of tiger balm. outlets are of the us$6 run-of- able for the high level of quality, ‘Frangipani slimming’ package the-mill kind. Don’t be deceived professionalism and ambi- – a three-hour experience for BoDYTUNE ence. it is one of the few places us$75 – including a cocoa and the river-facing BODYtune, apart from the hotels offering coffee body treatment and an a thai chain established ten Opanissai: body treatments in addition to anti-cellulite massage. years ago, that also has two Yantra candle massage, making it extremely treatments include a refresh- outlets in Bangkok, is one of the popular with expats, so advance ing, icy lemongrass flavoured newest and best establishments booking is recommended. drink and a very luxurious foot- in town. set in a renovated thai owner ning says she bath filled with fragrant frangi- colonial building, BoDytune’s opened Frangipani with her panis and pink blossoms. the entire front is open to the street sister Cherry seven years ago massages take place upstairs in creating a spacious, airy feel. because the only places to get an undercover treatment bed its floor and walls consist of a decent massage in siem reap on a balcony with an outdoor cooling polished concrete with were in the five-star hotels. shower and small bathroom, but modern asian décor reminiscent “now we get lots of custom- with high walls to guarantee of a thai resort spa. the ground ers from hotels who have tried seclusion. the masseurs are level has sunken footbaths and a a massage there and did not extremely courteous and profes- separate room with partitioned like it,” she says. she feels that sional, explaining what they off massage beds for full body keeping the establishment small are about to do and giving clear massages. upstairs is an open helps to maintain the quality of instructions where to position loft with foot massage beds, a their service. “When we need yourself and what to wear (or balcony and funky white chan- money, we’ll open a bigger rather what not to wear!). deliers for decoration. one,” she adds laughing. Frangipani also has a range of although BoDytune uses options include a tropical body treatments, some incorpo- local Khmer masseurs, they massage consisting of stretching rating Khmer ingredients, such all receive up to six months and thai techniques (us$18 for as the Kampot pepper body training from a thai masseuse Photo by mark jacksoN 64 Asialife Phnom Penh | #04 April 2007 siem reap Photo by liz leddeN BodyTune steam bath, body scrub and massage that detoxifies the body and exfoliates the skin. “We do Information traditional Khmer body treat- ment,” sylvine says. “the other Be VIP Khmer Massage places do good body treatment Old Market area but this is normally imported Tel: 063 760 841 from outside.” Blue 7 Massage Manicures and pedicures are Old Market area given downstairs in a beautiful Tel: 011 455 567 room filled with jars of old spices BODYtune and candles decorated with 293-296 Pokambor Avenue Khmer yantra (us$4 to us$5.50). (riverfront) Photo by liz leddeN Based on Buddhist mantra, the Tel: 063 764 141 yantra are geometric symbols by the hordes of massage girls offering four-hands massage for normally tattooed on the skin. Frangipani hawking their services on the us$10 an hour, islands Massage these symbols have special Alley behind Pub Street pavement outside their business has a dimly lit, air-conditioned charms giving the beholder good Tel: 063 964 391 siem reap – these massages are all legiti- room upstairs with relaxing mu- luck in various aspects of life, or 012 982 062 mate and mostly reliable. they sic, offering a nice ambience for a such as love or gambling. Islands Massage don’t tend to differentiate too full body massage. the foot mas- the beauty treatments are Old Market area much in quality, service sages conducted on the ground given upstairs in a small room, Tel: 012 757 120 or ambience. floor amongst a row of massage alongside fortune telling by a the main differences between chairs are a good therapy for too Opanissai Salon traditional ‘kru’ who has the these and the more expensive much temple trudging. Alley behind Pub Street power to predict the future. this establishments are the décor, Seeing Hands is an organiza- has to be booked in advance and Seeing Hands 4 environment and service. there tion providing training and em- costs us$8, or us$5 if you can Alley behind Pub Street are no flower-filled footbaths ployment to the blind. at only understand Khmer. Tel: 012 992 482 here. While the experienced us$4 an hour for a foot or body masseuse at places like Frangi- massage at several branches pani and Bodytune has under- around town, the price certainly gone professional training, most can’t be beaten. the masseuses of the young masseuse here look are generally well-trained and as though their main training are intuitive to the body’s tight programme was giving their muscles and knots – often attrib- mother a quick back-rub after uted to their heightened sense school. their counterparts in of touch. the pricier outlets have a higher attuned sense of privacy and a opANISSAI more professional standard of Located directly opposite Frangi- customer service. pani, Opanissai Salon was estab- recently there has been a lished two-and-a-half years ago surge in the number of bargain by two French women, sylvine massage parlours in siem reap, Devaux and Diane Caroen, who so it’s safer to opt for one of wanted to let people “discover the more long-running places. another face to Cambodia.” Islands Massage, Be VIP Khmer using only natural products Massage and Blue 7 Massage the salon provides a unique are all centrally located near range of traditional facials and the old Market and have been body preparations, such as Body Tune: around for longer than most. shpong (us$15), a Khmer herbal Thai-run spa Photo by liz leddeN #04 April 2007 | Asialife Phnom Penh 65