Why you should choose Mad Monkey Hostels for your stay in Cambodia

While looking for budget accommodation options for my stay in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap during my Vietnam-Cambodia trip in January, I came across this very popular chain of party hostels- the Mad Monkey Hostels. The pictures and reviews looked great. I reached out to the property and soon enough received a response from Claire, the Communications Director, offering to host me at their properties in both the cities as part of their Creative Hub program.

This effectively meant that my entire 5 night stay in Cambodia was sponsored by Mad Monkey. I wasn’t certain if this was a completely correct choice and had my doubts- what if I didn’t blend into the party atmosphere? What if something didn’t work out for me and I am stuck there for the entire duration just because of this collaboration? But then I laid those thoughts to rest until arriving in Phnom Penh one lovely afternoon.

Mad Monkey Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The restaurant at Mad Monkey Phnom Penh

Mad Monkey Phnom Penh

As soon as I crossed the pool and entered the reception of what looked like a bungalow rather than a hostel, I was met with a loud cheer of ‘Welcome to Mad Monkey’ and that set the true tone for the coming week. The check-in process was smooth and easy and I met Beck, the AGM, who was all smiles to help in case of any need. Sapon showed me to my dorm which was located in the building down the road. This building also houses the restaurant on the ground floor and the bar on the second floor.

I was in a 6-bed dorm located adjacent to the bar. I realized later that night that the noise levels from the bar wouldn’t let you sleep if you want to sleep early. The bar closes before midnight though and the party moves out. So if you need an early sleep, better get a dorm far away from the bar. Personally I wasn’t worried.

The bunk beds and mattresses at Mad Monkey were definitely one of the largest and most comfortable I have seen in any hostel. Each bed came with a private reading light, plug points and a locker for valuables. The hostel also has 6, 8, 10 and 22- bed dorm rooms and several private twin/double/triple rooms.

The room rates do not come bundled with free breakfast, but that’s okay. You have the freedom of choosing where to eat if you don’t want to eat at the hostel restaurant. I personally found the menu quite diverse and had couple of meals at the hostel. They also let you pack and take-away food in case you are travelling which is really great if you are running short on time. Tip: Try their burgers, they are delicious!

Mad Monkey Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mad Monkey Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mad Monkey Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The location of the Phnom Penh hostel is ideal. It is not in the crowded riverfront area, but at a walking distance from there. I found it really convenient to walk down to the Olympic Stadium in the afternoon and then head to the riverfront from there walking via the Independence Monument and crossing the Royal Palace. In fact I found all of Phnom Penh quite pedestrian friendly.

Sapon later helped me book the bus to Siem Reap. Mad Monkey has a fleet of their own tuktuks at the hostel available all through the day. I met with fellow hostellers Bart and Lisa and we shared a tuktuk ride for the Killing Fields tour. It saved us the entire hassle of haggling with the local tuktuk drivers and when you have been in a new country for less than a few hours, this sure is a relief.

On my second evening at the hostel there was a live singing session at the bar and we all had a really good time singing and dancing amidst meeting new people and conversations.

Mad Monkey Siem Reap

After two nights in Phnom Penh, I took a morning bus ride to Siem Reap, the City of Angkor Wat. By now I was quite acquainted with the culture of Mad Monkey and entering the hostel to be welcomed by a huge pool with music blaring from the poolside bar, felt like homecoming.

Ratana helped me check-in to a 4-bed dorm room ‘Habitat’ located on the first floor and it turned out to be a blessing. I didn’t know yet that I was going to be so tired by the end of each day in this city that I would be looking forward to going to bed early and a room far from the party area would just work miracles for a good night’s sleep.

The Siem Reap hostel has 4, 8 and 12 bed dorms along with female only dorms and several private rooms. The dorms start at $7 per night at both the hostels.

I later met Ellie, the General Manager of the hostel and she helped me plan out my days in Siem Reap. I can’t forget her fake snake prank, it was crazy. Haha! I booked a tour to the Kulen Mountains through the reception. The hostel had its own fleet of tuktuks at Siem Reap as well and this time I got the chance to compare the prices with the tuktuks outside and they were both at par and competitive.

Mad Monkey Siem Reap, Cambodia

Mad Monkey Siem Reap, Cambodia

While talking at the reception I got to meet Aachman and Ashish, fellow backpackers from Delhi, and we visited the Angkor Temples together the next day. It felt good to speak in Hindi for long conversations after so many days of just speaking English or trying to decipher Vietnamese and Khmer languages with the locals.

The hostel is located on the main road at a very short walking distance from the famous Pub Street and Night Market. This made it quite convenient to walk around the town and explore the various food options and local markets.

Lisa had mentioned during a conversation in Phnom Penh about the rooftop bar of the Mad Monkey Siem Reap hostel and how it came with sand on the floor. I was really looking forward to explore this bit and I must say I was impressed with the concept. Ashish and I had a beer pong challenge one night but I missed out on heading on the pub crawl because inadvertently I always had something planned for early next morning on all 3 days of my stay in the hostel.

Concluding Words

The Mad Monkey properties in both the cities are decked with attractive and colourful graffiti on the walls. Both my rooms came with attached bathrooms and hot showers. Since they were smaller dorms, I almost always had the entire room to myself which was amazing. The wifi in Mad Monkey Phnom Penh had been great all through the property but it was a little dozy in my room in Siem Reap. Since I spent most of the time outside by the pool on the colorful bean bags whenever I was at the hostel, it really wasn’t much of a worry.

One thing that really touched my heart was this poster about the Pub Crawl the Siem Reap hostel was hosting one night- all the proceeds from the money generated in buying the pub crawl bands would be going for the growth of local communities of Cambodia. If I remember correctly it was for the purpose of providing clean water to the people. The Mad Monkey Hostels provide budget stay options while at the same time do their bit for sustainable development of the local and especially rural communities of Cambodia.

Thank you Mad Monkey for making my stay in Cambodia so comfortable with your amazing ever-smiling and ready-to-help staff and for giving me some really nice friends from around the world.

I was hosted at Mad Monkey Phnom Penh and Mad Monkey Siem Reap in January 2018. All views and opinions in the post are completely personal. 

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