Sex in on sale in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
There are a number of massage parlors customers can get extra services on the cheap. Some are designed for the sale of sex and nothing else, others serve up “extras” with the regular rub down.
The “legitimate” massage parlors all over the city, most especially concentrated in the areas tourists are most likely to frequent, do not endorse any kind of extras. That would get them shut down. But since massages run 5-10 dollars and the masseuse only gets half of that, customers can sometimes get more than a rub down by simply asking for it during the massage, assuming they have already made sure that masseuse is a consenting adult. An oil massage gives the best chance at extras, since it requires that customers be fully nude. Of course it’s most common at places with private rooms. Repeat visits and shops on streets leading away from the riverside also have a better chance of offering extras. A standard tip for a regular massage is one dollar. Customers who get a hand finish typically tip 5-10. Those who score oral relief normally tip 10-15 dollars. Full service is usually not available at these places, but if it is offered, customers should expect to pay 20-30. Since none of this is officially permitted customers and masseuses have to be discreet. Intelligent customers don’t talk about extras or make a big deal over the larger than average tip they give their masseuse in front of coworkers or the boss. Many find that they like to get a good masseuse’s phone number for repeat service.
There are also freelance girls available to men with money around the clock in the seating area of Sorya Mall, at the Walkabout bar, and on the walking area on the riverside. These women are the equivalent of streetwalkers in the United States. Customers may find a gem once in a while, but they normally don’t expect much. Many of the freelance girls are on drugs and or like to grab anything they can get their hands on. Smart customers keep their eyes and ears open at all times. The standard rate with these girls is 10-15 dollars for a short time adventure.
Most foreigners avoid the numerous local brothels in the city at all costs, even if they are pestered to visit one by a motortaxi or tuk tuk driver. The same goes for the 5-10 street girls that hang around places like Wat Phnom at night.
The main action for foreigners in Phnom Penh takes place in the hostess bars. These are scattered all over the city, with concentrations on Street 51, Street 136, Street 130, Street 110, Street 118 and Street 104. A select few are open 24 hours, but most don’t come alive until 6 pm. They usually close in the early morning hours.
Any man who walks by these places will often be called in by one of the ladies sitting near the door. “Hello welcome” is a common sound. When a customer enters a girl or two will try to sit with them. Smart customers pick the girl they are interested in rather than getting stuck with whoever is next in line. Drinks for customers cost a dollar or two and lady drinks cost about three and a half dollars. Customers can talk, order food, play pool, or do whatever they want within reason. Hostesses go to work to make money.
At any point customers can start inquiring about take out. Those who build up a rapport with the women they like do best. Those who don’t want to put in any time at all find that places like Island Bar on Street 118 and Cyrcee (mentioned below) are best. At most other bars it’s a little more like dating with money used as a social lubricant. Customers who look like totally new guys or a tourists are often quoted very high prices that compare with the Vietnamese hostess bars in Ho Chi Minh City. Smart customers aren’t duped. A short time romp normally goes for 20 to 30 dollars. A long time (overnight) can run anywhere from 30 to 50 dollars. Some of the super top notch women may not budge from prices much higher than this. Customers decide whether or not to pay or try to negotiate. Woman who give out high prices are often starfish in bed. Not every woman that works in a bar will venture out with every customer. Some women won’t do short time and some won’t go out at all (sometimes if they say they don’t go out it just means they don’t want to go out with the guy asking in particular, other times they are virgins or have boyfriends or husbands they don’t want to cheat on). Smart customers try figure out a gal’s availability before investing in a bunch of drinks.
Cambodia is a pretty conservative place, despite all the sexy outfits in the bars and some of the raunchy jokes customers might hear bargirls make. Customers may see a girl dance on a table top here or there, but there is no nudity in the bars. It’s not Thailand by any means. Most of the women in Cambodia expect there to be at least a little romance involved, and they will lay back and let the guy do all the work. Perhaps as many as half of the women customers can take home from bars for a fee won’t even perform services by mouth. Probably half of the ones who will won’t be any good at it. Performance is usually higher with the Vietnamese women working in Cambodia, though they are often more hustler-like than the native gals. Cambodian bargirls are more likely to give customers a snuggle up lovey-dovey girlfriend style experience or play the cold fish routine. There are always exceptions.
Lastly, I will mention Cyrcee, which is a go to place for guys who are short on time or energy. It’s a tiny bar. Customers walk in and see 1 or 2 dozen women waiting for guys to enter. They have some incredible sales pitches. Customers buy a drink for themselves upon entry. When they’re ready they buy the woman they like a drink, chat a short bit and then head out for a short time of fun. There used to be a few places like this around, but this is the last. A few shut down. Cyrcee was the one to reopen though it is now milder. The bar fine is $10 and women ask for 20-30 dollars for their time. The service level at Cyrcee is almost always better than it is in a lot of the hostess bars. Friends who go out together are even known to interact with each other. And it’s quick and to the point.
There are a few “fishbowls” around where customers can pick a girl. Phnom Penh had a half dozen at last count. Knowledgeable drivers know where most if not all of the fishbowls are though they often refer to them as something like “boom boom massage.”
This Google map compiled by someone online shows many of the places mentioned in this article. I don’t know who made this map or when they did it but some of the locations are now out of date.
Note that all prices in this report were quoted in US dollars because that’s the de facto currency in Cambodia. The local stuff is only used for pocket change.
There are plenty more options, but this covers most of the more well known things that even temporary visitors come across. Long time residents have the capability of discovering a lot of what else is available on their own.