You can hardly move in central Siem Reap without insistent calls of “massage?” following you down the street, particularly around Sihanouk Boulevard, Hospital Street and at the Angkor Night Market. While these are all bona fide establishments, the cheapest places, though usually clean, will probably give you your massage on a reclining chair or in a room with several massage couches, sometimes in full view of the street. Paying more you’ll get relaxing surroundings, a robe and a private room.
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Most of the cheaper places offer traditional Khmer-style massage – neck, head, back, full massage and so on, with or without oil, while better places (see Kong Kea Spa) offer the full range of international massages, from Thai to Swedish, along with other spa treatments. A growing number of places are offering “Seeing Hands” massage, given by blind masseurs, while there are around a dozen “fish massage” places set up on pavements where you can sit with your feet in a tank for twenty minutes while shoals of little fish nibble the dead skin off your feet.
Many hotels and guesthouses have swimming pools, while some allow non-guests to use theirs for a fee (or if you take drinks or a meal). Unfortunately the spectacular sunken pool at the Raffles Grand Hotel is out of bounds except for guests, although the lush pool at the Victoria Angkor runs it a close second and is sometimes open to non-guests if the hotel isn’t too full ($13). The Angkor Village Resort is another option ($10, free if you have lunch). Cheaper pools can be found at the Siem Reap Hostel ($6, including $5 bar credit), La Noria ($3) and the Kannell restaurant (free with a meal). Alternatively, do as the Khmers do and head to the West Baray where you can swim, picnic and lounge about all day for nothing.
Amrita Spa Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Siem Reap’s most upmarket spa, offering opulent massages (including Thai, Khmer, Swedish, aromatherapy and four-hand) plus facials, pedicures, manicures and herbal baths (from $60/hr).
Bodia Spa bodia-spa.com. Traditional and aromatherapy massages, wraps and facials (from $25/hr).
Body Tune Spa bodytune.co.th. Highly recommended Thai spa offering affordable Thai, oil and aromatherapy massages, plus facials and scrubs (from $12/hr).
Kaya Spa Traditional herbal and aromatherapy massages, plus scrubs, facials and wraps (from $20/hr).
Kong Kea Spa La Résidence d’Angkor. Luxurious spa at one of the city’s top hotels – signature Khmer and Indochina massages, scrubs and facials (from $70/hr).