Updated: Jan 15, 2020
We weren’t really sure what to expect before we traveled to Cambodia. Neither of us had been there before, but what great adventures and surprises we in for.
These three hotels were kind enough to host us while visiting Cambodia, but know that we recommend place we truly enjoy - all content is our own.
Visa Line Game – what’s in our passports?
Arriving in the traditional new airport building in Siem Riep, we, like everyone else, had to enter the Visa Line Game. After handing over your passport, it’s being passed down a line of 20 very serious looking men, each looking thoroughly through your passport, making a comment as it’s passed on to the next guy. You have no way of guessing whether it a positive or negative comment – sometimes passports go the wrong way in the line, and you sit and pray that it’s not your passport. Not sure what they were trying to find inside the passport or why some are sent back in line, but the men did not look happy, on the contrary. I guess, this is how they always look at immigration around the world, and it must be some sort of requirement to always have an angry or serious poker face when you have any Visa/Immigration job. Anyway, it was great entertainment, especially to see the excitement everyone felt, when their name got yelled out to all the people waiting in the arrival terminal, when your passport finally made to the end of the line.
Unexpected Pick-Up at the Airport
Happy and now equipped with our entry visas and our luggage, we spot our name on one of the many signs held up by a local transportation guy. He asks us to wait right outside and he’ll be right back in 2 minutes. Right back he is alright – but he is on a motorbike with a wooden carriage behind him… What? This is our ride to our first hotel in Siem Riep. We are a bit surprised and not sure we’ll fit with all of our stuff AND ourselves… but after a few tries, we fit! And to be honest, it’s a quite nice way of traveling. With the warm weather, it’s a nice constant breeze and as we sit facing each other, we can easily have a conversation the four of us – you can even have your kids give you a foot massage while traveling.
During our 3 weeks in Cambodia, we stayed in 3 different types of hotels, 3 different prices with each their different value proposition. Have a look and see what would fit you the best.
Best Value for Money
Our first experience was the awesome Golden Siem Riep Hotel, a great medium sized hotel in a quiet area with a super nice pool, which the kids loved. Not too many people when we were there, so we had the pool almost to ourselves. We were picked up at the airport by the same tuk tuk driver who took us around the next days, a great guy. The hotel had really friendly staff, there were spacious clean rooms with two king size beds – just perfect for a family of four, and with the pool right outside our room, and we could almost walk straight into the pool from our room. The breakfast was also really great, and we ordered from a menu also right by the pool. The Golden Siem Riep Hotel is located in a quiet area only a 5 min. tuk tuk ride from the city center. You won’t find better value for money.
Big Friendly Family Hotel
You pass by many huge hotels on your way from the airport into Siem Riep. This really awesome place – perfect for families – is one of them, The great Angkor Paradise Hotel, has a great location, a convenient 10 min. walking distance from central Siem Riep – super nice when traveling as a family with kids. It’s a traditional large Cambodian hotel, with big traditional wooden furniture, which you see being sold in stores around Siem Riep. It is clean all over, and the staff there is very nice. It’s got a really great big pool to hang out by. Restaurant inside and outside, and with a stage for performance at the other end of the pool. The huge pool is perfect for kids of all ages to play around in, and it’s even big enough to swim proper lanes in. The pool gradually gets deeper and deeper, around 2,20 at its deepest. We spend a couple of afternoons hanging out by the pool and was well taken care of with great food, wonderful drinks and a delicious afternoon tea set, which was enjoyed by the whole family. The huge breakfast buffet at the Angkor Paradise Hotel has a great variety and offers lots of fresh Western and Asian food start you day with, and a chef is standing ready to cook you your favorite breakfast. Finally, It’s a mere 10 min. tuk tuk ride from Angkor Wat, and the hotel always has tuk tuks waiting right outside, if you are going somewhere that’s not in walking distance.
Small Luxury Boutique Hotel
We absolutely loved the Sabara Angkor Resort & Spa - our personal favorite hotel in Cambodia. We were greeted by our names upon our arrival in this pretty and luxurious boutique hotel. With fresh cold towels, a drink while checking in and a big bowl of fresh fruit awaiting us in our huge family room, we were off to a great start. The saltwater pool in incredible surroundings was like a magnet on our boys – and us adults. All the staff couldn’t have been sweeter or more helpful, and when I expressed an interest and curiosity in how they fold the lotus flowers, which are used for decoration everywhere in Cambodia, they immediately offered to teach me and later brought “my own” bouquet of folded lotus flowers to our room. We had several lunch and dinners at the hotel, as they specialize in Khmer food (of course they have Western food too), and the inexpensive food is just outstanding. We even had a special night with a wonderful dining experience set up in the garden, to enjoy the incredible local Khmer food cooked by their great chef. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the community project that the hotel supports in local remote villages, and you can join the hotel on a trip and among other things you can support through delivering study materials to the school the hotel supports along with staff from the hotel.
Finally, Sabara Angkor Resort & Spa, organized an awesome cooking class experience with a trip to the local market, cooking and dining in the countryside and eventually biking home which was so amazing that it got its own blogpost, and you can read all about it here. They also took care of a trip to the Kampong Phluk, floating village and flooded forest for us. A very interesting and different sight-seeing experience that we highly recommend – you mush have a look right here to see what’s it all about, but it's one of those places you don't want to miss! We also have to mention the Spa at Sabara Angkor Resort & Spa here. It was nothing but amazing. Besides the beautiful rooms, great service, and treats before and after massages, the treatments (massages and avocado and mango body scrubs respectively) were all in our all-time top 5 of treatments – and we’re quite big on these things. You will not be disappointed!
There is no doubt that we have had an amazing time in Cambodia, and we stayed in three very different but all really great places, that we all highly recommend.
We owe a huge thank you to all the hotels for hosting us, but in particular to Sabara Angkor Resort & Spa for not only hosting us, but also showing us, sharing and teaching us about their beautiful Cambodian culture. If we have tempted you, you can stay at the Sabara Angkor Resort & Spa with a 10 % discount, if you mention the Forever Travelers Family when booking directly with the hotel.