Back in the UK, it wouldn’t ever have crossed my mind to visit a spa. I barely knew what the phrase “therapy treatment” meant.
Not only were the likes of restorative facials and body scrubs a luxury far beyond my budget, I also struggled to see the point of paying someone else an eye-watering amount of money to scrub my feet or paint my nails – both things I can do myself (albeit to an admittedly lower standard).
Fast forward to the present day, and living in Cambodia has afforded me the incredible luxury of being able to cross the threshold of Siem Reap’s many (many, many…) spas on a semi-regular basis without risking financial ruin.
Others might treat themselves with fancy dinners or new shoes, but spending the occasional hour or two at an incredibly affordable local spa has gradually become my favourite way to remedy a long week.
Years of living in Cambodia and walking around barefoot on tiled floors has left my once-not-so-bad-looking feet resembling hooves if I don’t take care of them, and the discovery of foot scrubs has been a genuine revelation – I wish that were a lie.
Research has proved, however, that expensive treatments don’t necessarily produce the best results; my favourite foot scrub by far can be found at the local foot massage place on the corner of Sivutha and Soksan Road, where for a ridiculously bargainous $5 you can have your feet restored to silky softness.
It’s not necessarily an especially dignified process having someone scrub the dead skin from your feet, but it is SO worth it. Just make sure to tip generously.
On the theme of feet, rarely wearing closed-toe shoes has also resulted in a new-found appreciation of pedicures.
My favourite spot to spruce up my toes is Roxy Nails, a Khmer-run nail salon in Kandal Village that is popular with expats and locals alike. A regular pedicure will set you back just $5, and a gel pedicure is available for just a few dollars more.
The talented nail technicians are also adept at a wide variety of Instagram-worthy nail art, with a staggering spectrum of nail varnishes to choose from.
If you want to splash out on a massage, my go-to place is Sokkhak Spa on Soksan Road. Not only does Sokkhak offer excellent massages (my favourite is the de-stress back massage) in a tranquil environment, there’s also a generous 30 percent discount available for locals and residents.
So for a bit of well-deserved pampering, check yourself into a spa today, and enjoy the relaxing surroundings.