Review: Paradis — Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In some circles Cambodia has developed such a reputation that people see working women popping out from every corner. While there is a huge sex industry in the country most foreigners never see even half of it. There is a large underground market yet only a relatively small number of places that operate more openly and cater to foreigners. A lot of places that say they are massage shops really are exactly that. They offer massages and nothing else even if some people think otherwise.

Paradis is a large massage complex located on Street 136 in Phnom Penh. It has a large and elaborate marque that includes a neon lit sign board that says the place offers “KTV” and massage. Many might think that this indicates the availability of special services. They would only be half right.

Purportedly there was a time when adult services were offered at Paradis. Those days are over. An ownership change a while back transformed things even though it may appear otherwise.

When customers enter they find themselves in a large unkempt lobby. There is a large fish tank, a desk and a lot of junk scattered around. Clearly the place has fallen a long way since its heyday.

A list of massages and prices indicates the services available. Various types of body rubs appear on the menu with prices started at $10 US Dollars. After customers select a service and pay they are led upstairs to one of many rooms.

The rooms are quite large and each have two beds though they are not very well kept. They aren’t cluttered like the lobby but the beds have seen much better days. The washing schedule for the sheets is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was lost with the various papers and other things pilled up downstairs.

In any event massages begin with a foot washing and continue with a decent enough body rub. Nothing special can really be said about these massage which are satisfactory no matter what form they take. Oil massages and Khmer or “body massages” are done as one might expect. Unless of course they expected extras in which case they would be out of luck.

The women who do the massages at Paradis are hard workers. Most are in their twenties and hail from the countryside. They do their job without complaining and in most cases are as typically cheerful as most women in the Kingdom of Wonder. They are also generally good looking especially with their big warm smiles. But they are not looking for or offering anything more than a standard body rub.

As with some other places reported on here Paradis is just a massage shop. It is nothing more and nothing less. While the imaginations of many run wild a lot of daily life in Cambodia is just as it in much else of the world. People do a basic job for a basic income and that’s that. There are of course many adult venues in the country but this and other places like it cannot be included in that list.

Some would probably find that disappointing as they want adult entertainment everywhere. Others would probably be disappointed as it dispels their salacious thoughts of the country as one big brothel where millions of women are waiting to be rescued from sex by people like them. I prefer to look at things as they are and report on them here for my own edification as well as the entertainment of readers. Two stars.

Paradis. No. 116 Street 136, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Open seven days a week from 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Click here for a map.

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