Perhaps due to a combination of a shady past and the proliferation of sensationalist stories some people imagine that every massage parlor they see in Cambodia must be selling sex. I’ve come across more than one report in the media that describes regular massage parlors in Phnom Penh as brothels over the years. As some of the reviews posted here over the years should show nothing could be further from the truth. Lucky Eight is a large Chinese massage complex in Phnom Penh that some may imagine offers a lot more than foot rubs.
Located near the Aeon mall on Samdach Sothearos Boulevard the Lucky 8 parlor takes up a large purpose built building. It has large signs displaying the name of the shop in Chinese, Khmer and English that glow at night. There are also big statues of horses and nearly always several luxury vehicles in the parking area. Surely many who pass by are left curious as to what goes on in this big “health massage” center.
Lucky Eight is access through door in the center of the building that leads to a large lobby. The front desk is staffed by a number of men and women who appear to be from Cambodia and China. They are able to speak in several languages including English on top of the expected Khmer and Mandarin. They are equipped with menus showing varying massage options that are too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that a standard oil massage costs $16 US dollars. Payment is made after the massage concludes.
After asking customers which massage package they would like the people on staff at the front desk also ask customers if they would like to be massaged by a Chinese or a Cambodian woman. This may seem odd but it is in fact standard at large Chinese massage complexes in Cambodia. There are usually a mix of both Chinese and local women on staff who perform the massages. This may also seem to indicate that some special services are available as with other massage parlors that hire both Khmer and Vietnamese women.
After customers select a massage package they are led up a staircase and through various halls until they arrive at one of the many big private rooms. The rooms are sparse and contain little more than chairs, coat hooks and massage tables. Bottled water is available to customers though it costs 2000 Riel ($0.50 USD).
Although the building that houses Lucky 8 is large and relatively modern it is not all that clean. As with many places in Cambodia there is noticeable filthy on some of the walls and floors. The massage tables at least appear to be well maintained however with sheets and towels laundered and switched out between customers. That may not sound like much but its is not always the case with massage parlors in Asia.
The masseuses employed by Lucky Eight range in age and origin. The Cambodian women are mostly fit gals in their twenties. Some can speak a bit of English but none are masters of the language by any means. They are best practiced in Khmer massage which is something like a Thai massage but slightly less intense. The Chinese women tend to be middle aged ladies with average looks at best. They cannot speak any language other than their native tongue and they don’t seem to be very friendly or interested in conversation at all.
Both the Cambodian and the Chinese women on staff at Lucky 8 can perform very good massages of all types. As one might expect the Chinese gals deliver much harder massages than their Cambodian counterparts. Oil massages are thorough and cover nearly all of the body but they typically do not conclude with happy endings of any kind. Instead they end with hot towels and a swift “thank you, goodbye.”
It is perhaps possible than one or two of the women on staff at Lucky 8 might offer some extra services to individual customers in some situations but if so they would be acting on their own accord. The place is definitely not organized to deliver sexual services at all and most of the women are only interested in performing serious therapeutic massage. Sometimes a massage parlor is just a massage parlor, even in Cambodia.
Lucky Eight. 85 Samdach Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Open every day from 10 AM to midnight. Click here for a map.