Happy Massage in Siem Reap

11 Mar

Golden Banana - my favourite

It was with mixed feelings that I was leaving Laos… Lao PDR (Please Don’t Rush) had a very calming effect on me. Life is simply slow here – no reasons (or even possibility) to rush (as you are limited and dependent on the one or two buses or boats a day anyway) – so it is the place to chill and go with the flow. But on the other hand there was Siem Reap waiting for me – and I knew Siem Reap – and it is a great place. I already had booked myself into my ‘usual spot’: the Golden Banana B&B, and they even kept my favourite room for me in the tower bungalow (3 levels above each other – so you are a bit away from the main paths…). And I discovered the wonders of Khmer massage – mmm.

It was quite a process in my head to make up my mind on how to get there. Laos basically mixed up my whole

Lao Airlines propellor plane... shakey

Lao Airlines propellor plane... shakey

planning. Originally I was going to travel through the country all the way from North till South but then I got stuck in Muang Ngoi paradise for longer than I thought. And Luang Prabang was also a great place to hang out: so the 2 nights I had planned there turned into a week (maybe the photo-model I met didn’t help me to move on). So in the end I scrapped the South of Laos off my list and instead of hopping over the Lao-Cambodian border, I took a flight from Vientiane to Siem Reap – I have really moved on from the basic backpacking… hehe.

Vientiane bus station, euh, Airport

Vientiane bus station, euh, Airport

Lao Airlines was certainly not the cheapest (nor the safest) option (175 US$) but it got me to my destination without too much hassle – not considering the having to get up at 4am to get a tuk-tuk at 5am… But the staff of the Villa Hotel where I was staying even got up to prepare some breakfast at this ungodly hour… So I left them my last Kip, which are unusable in any other country anyway, and the banks abroad apparently only laugh at those bank notes…

DIY boarding sign - cute

DIY boarding sign - cute

Vientiane airport was a bit of a joke. The flight to Siem Reap was doing a stopover in Pakse, so we had to check in at the Domestic Terminal, which was about the size of my living room (and still Lao Airlines told me to check in 2 hours before the flight!) . It looked even more basic than a bus station:  plastic chairs, dodgy gloomy bar/restaurant, dirty smelly toilets and the ‘boarding sign’ was one of those roadside publicity light boxes (plastic with a neon light behind). And of course, we were walking to our plane ourselves – as it was close anyway and hardly any other planes in sight…

It shows on the contrary that Siem Reap attracts lots of tourists. They have a brand new airport terminal with glass, marble, fountains and what not. But the Visa system in this fab modern terminal is still from another

Where i feel best...

Where i feel best...

age. Lots of forms to fill in, lots of queues to stand in, lots of waiting, lots of officials checking each others work, lots of inefficiency, but lots of employment… So is this the way to go to relaunch economy?

From the airport I went straight ‘home’ to the Golden Banana guesthouse (of course with the moto-driver trying to divert me to the hotels where he would get commission, but to no avail this time). It only took me half an hour to be checked in and plunging into the swimming pool – and staying there for most of the day(s). After the overdose of temples in Laos, I was certainly not going to run around temples (again) here in Siem Reap. And besides the Angkor Temples there was not really much to do in Siem Reap. And that’s exactly what I did – nothing – at the pool. The weather was optimal for it: sunny 35 degrees

Khmer massage – Happy massage

Mmmmmmm massage

Mmmmmmm massage

In this sweltering heat, the only thing you can physically do, is to drag yourself from the pool to one of the numerous massage places. There’s a whole menu of types of massages and treatments that you can have. I was only looking for basic feel good bodily attention, but then I didn’t want to limit myself to a 5$ one hour massage either. So I added an hour of oil massage to the traditional Khmer massage. Besides what’s on the menu, you can also select your favourite masseur – or at least whether you want a man or a woman. Guess what I choose ;-)

The Khmer massage got the muscles (and myself) relaxed through all the pressure applied to any muscle the masseur could find. And by the time the oil came, I could only but surrender to the slippery experience that followed. The oil massage involved lots of rubbing rather than pushing muscles. The masseur did manage to find the spots that felt good or that needed attention. And I am sure that if it weren’t for the language barrier that he would have proposed a ‘Happy End’… That seems the way things go down here… It was veeeery nice as it was and went back 2 or 3 times.

  • It’s nice to stay longer at some places, and start having your ‘favourite room’ and your ‘preferred masseur’ etc. Everybody needs roots or connectedness, isn’t it. Having a place you can call your own, somewhere where you belong…
A happy pizza after a happy massage

A happy pizza after a happy massage

And if a guesthouse with pool, garden, wifi & friendly staff isn’t enough yet, and if massage isn’t your cup of tea, then you can still go to the Special Happy Pizza restaurant, where you can order every pizza on the menu also as a ‘happy pizza’ (meaning with some extra marihuana topping)… I thought that something like that would only exist in Vang Vieng… obviously not!


6 Responses to “Happy Massage in Siem Reap”

  1. René 17 March 2009 at 22:32 #

    :) Oh yeah, the Cambodian Visa System is horrible… Still 20 $ to get in? And 25 $ “service charge” to leave? :D

    At least you know that so many people are working for that money with your passport :D

    Did you made it to Dead Fish?

  2. travelony 18 March 2009 at 09:47 #

    yep – i did manage to have a wonderfull dinner in the Dead Fish restaurant – well actually a lot more than restaurant with the dressed up waiters, the performances, the seating and tables in the air, lost computers dotting the place – thanx a million for the tip

  3. René 5 April 2009 at 14:45 #

    Glad that you liked it – I enjoyed it very much as well! And delicious food! And the funny sayings in the menue: Service may be different then the one you’re used too… ;)

  4. DC 7 September 2012 at 19:59 #

    Hi which massage shop is that you had mentioned in the post of Siem reap happy massage. Would like to try a guy masseur too..

  5. DC 7 September 2012 at 20:02 #

    Hi there, could you share with me the place that u went for massage in Siem reap? As I’ll be here for 4 days. Woul like to go to the massage area u introduced here.

    Daniel Lee

  6. Tony Geudens 7 September 2012 at 21:23 #

    There are a couple of massage places which are well kept, on the other side of the road in front of Hotel de la Paix (the big fancy hotel, people will know). The service is friendly, a bit more expensive than near the old market (tourist area) but it is less sleazy. You can choose if you want a female masseuse or a male one (generally stronger). Enjoy.

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