Swimming & Fitness
Many top hotels have pools. If you wish to get wet in opulent surroundings, try the Raffles Hotel Le Royal. This beautiful place charges $20 weekdays and $30 weekends for nonguests to use the pool, sauna, and gym. The Villa Lanka (one of Phnom Penh's best midrange hotels) has a pool in gorgeous leafy surroundings that is free of charge if you are eating or drinking. If you are not they charge $5 for adults and $3 for children during the week. This goes up to $8 for adults and $5 for children at the weekend. Parkway Health Club (113 Mao Tse Tung Blvd.; tel. 023/982-928) has an indoor pool, sauna, and gym. Paddy's Sports Center (635 National Rte. 5 near the Japanese Bridge; tel. 012/217-877) charges an affordable $3 for the gym. They have weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, and all the usual sweat-inducing contraptions.
You can find Kambol Go-Karting (National Rte. 4; tel. 012/232-332) just past the airport. It can be great fun but carries the usual risks of the sport. If you go in rainy season, you may well find yourself aquaplaning in a spin. They also have a fully equipped bar and restaurant with a view from which you can watch your friends bashing into each other gleefully.
Given what a world-famous place nearby Thailand is for golf, engaging in the sport in Cambodia on expensive and inferior courses makes little sense. If you can't do without a round, head to the Cambodia Golf and Country Club (National Rte. 4; tel. 023/363-666). It costs $35 per round and club rental costs $10.
The Superbowl at Parkway Square (Parkway Sq., Mao Tse Tung Blvd.) is the only bowling alley in town. Bowling is something of a chic activity among young Khmers. It costs $9 per hour per lane, and $1 to rent shoes.
Massage, Saunas & Spas
There are massage places all over Phnom Penh, and all the bigger hotels have massage, spa, and sauna facilities.
Amret Spa -- This international boutique spa is located in Boeung Keng Kang 1 district. They offer massage, aromatherapy, body scrubs, wraps, facials, treatments, and Jacuzzi tubs. Daily 9am-9pm. No. 3 St. 57. tel. 023/997-994.
Blue 7 Massage -- Offering a full range of massage services including foot and full body massage in clean air-conditioned rooms. Powder and oil massage are both available. Daily 9am-9pm. No. 10 St. 278. tel. 011/955-567. www.blue7massage.com.
La Cigale Bleue -- This traditional Khmer massage shop has three branches. They offer oil, powder, body, foot, and four-hand massage. The facilities are air-conditioned. Call-in hotel service. Daily 24 hr. No. 22 St. 94; tel. 016/789-618. No. 43A5 St. 86 (Boeung Kak Lake); tel. 016/789-618. No. 33 St. 294 (in Boeung Keng Kang); tel. 016/789-618.
Sawasdee Massage -- The Sawasdee offers a wide selection of massage styles and types including Thai, French, Japanese, Khmer, Hong Kong, oil, powder, body, foot massage (reflexology,) health massages, and aromatherapy. They also have wraps, scrubs, Jacuzzi, manicure, pedicure, and facials. Daily 9am-11pm. No. 6B St. 57; tel. 023/996-670.
Unwinding (and Helping Out) with a Blind Massage -- Cambodia has one of the highest rates of blindness worldwide with an estimated 1.25% of the population being afflicted. Chickenpox, measles, traffic accidents, acid attacks, unexploded ordinance, and insufficient healthcare have all exacerbated the problem. Being such a poor country, the lot of the blind is harsh because of the lack of education or employment opportunities. About a dozen blind massage shops, usually called "Seeing Hands," have opened in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Battambang in the last few years. They are run as cooperatives and offer a better life to the blind as well as empowering them, often providing training in Braille and computers as well as massage itself. A massage costs in the region of $5 and it is a win-win experience. You get a great massage and help a group of people who have traditionally led a very difficult existence to prosper. In Phnom Penh, Seeing Hands can be found at No. 6 St. 94, near Wat Phnom.
Many understandably fall in love with the subtle and delicious flavors of Cambodian food and want to learn how to create something similar back home. Frizz Restaurant (No. 67 St. 240; tel. 012/524-801; www.cambodia-cooking-class.com) runs an excellent cooking school, with the option taking their course for half a day or a full day (we recommend the full). The course begins with a market tour to find ingredients, with explanations of some of the market's bizarre offerings. A tuk-tuk then takes you back to the roof of the restaurant, where you'll prepare classic Khmer dishes such as fish amok and salad with banana flower (the amok was one of the best dishes I've ever made). They also throw in an informative free booklet once you have completed the course. The course costs $20 for the full day, and considering how many friends you will make back home when they taste homemade Khmer cuisine for the first time, this is a steal. Classes take place Monday to Saturday and start at 9am. Reservations can be made via the website.