One day. I tell myself. One day.
Of course that didn’t happen.
A year later, I touched down Siem Reap at 9.30pm (Siem Reap time).
Just a few minutes before landing, the Cebu Pacific attendant said:
“We will be dimming the lights for you to appreciate the surroundings.”
I looked over the window. There was NO lights. Just darkness and a few spots of light. I laughed to myself. Seriously, some announcements should be catered per destination.
That is how simple Siem Reap is. Unlike Manila that booms with lights everywhere, Siem Reap was dark, unpopulated and starkingly simple.
The hostel I booked, Siem Reap Hostel, had free pick up service so after multiple emails asking them to send someone to pick me up, they went ahead and had someone hold my name up at the airport. At least, this way, I didn’t have to haggle so late at night.
The tuktuk driver wasn’t just picking me up though, another passenger was also there, so within 5 minutes of my arrival in Siem Reap, I was already chatting someone’s ear off; bless her she didn’t complain.
There couldn’t have been a more perfect place to stay for me in Siem Reap.
Located just a few minutes from pubstreet and the night market, Siem Reap Hostel was in the perfect zone for backpackers.
While I didn’t really like to be at the top bunk because the wooden beds were seriously huge and I’m super small so climbing each bunk turned out to be an exercise for me, that was the only downside.
You should have seen me trying to bring my laptop and bag onto my bed. I think I almost fell over…good thing no one was in the room.
But the place – the fact that my dorm room was airconditioned at $6 or Php 260 – it was definitely worth all the money.
The room was big, with 3 huge, wooden bunk beds, making it a total of 6 in the room. It was a mixed dorm, but I was okay with it.
The bed was big, the mattress was super soft and (hopefully) the sheets were fresh (I have witnessed them changing sheets so that’s a good sign). The pillow wasn’t that bad either.
The toilet was separate from the bathroom and there is an entirely separate changing room with a sink and a mirror.
Wifi is awesome and fast, I remember getting to download so many movies at night.
Siem Reap Hostel had a pool table at the second floor. Despite my room being in the same floor, I didn’t find it to be noisy at all, unlike some reviews on Hostelbookers. In fact, on my lazy day, I think I spent the entire day asleep.
At the ground floor is the common area. They have two huge tables, two pairs of couch sets and a swimming pool, outlined with lounge chairs along its side.
There is also a shower room and toilets near the sides.
A bar was situated right in front of the tables. They sell $0.50 (Php 22!) beers during happy hour 5pm – 8pm I think and their food was reasonably priced at $1 – $3 per meal. Make sure to try their beef lok lak with egg and rice. Absolutely delicious.
On the other side of the stairs was an information center for tours in Siem Reap. I met one of their friendly tour guides and I booked my sunrise and sunset Angkor Wat tours with them. Their tuktuk driver is also pretty reliable. I also booked my Siem Reap to Phnom Penh bus with them for $7. Bus was okay too. Nothing glamorous, but it was just a 6 hour bus (sorta butt-numbing) during the day, so it didn’t really have to be so luxurious.
The hostel has free bikes for the city, by the way. But you cannot take them out to see the Angkor Wat. I had originally planned on doing this, but I chickened out. It has been 10 years, maybe more since I last rode a bike and I didn’t really want to injure myself beyond repair on the first leg of my trip.
Would I recommend Siem Reap Hostel? Definitely. Without a beat.