pampered in Siem Reap by djh75337


									            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
                                                                                                                            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

                                                                          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
                                                                          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

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