As most of you know I am currently in Siem Reap, a town known mostly for the spectacular temples of Angkor Wat. It is chock full of tourists from all corners of the world and as a result there is a seemingly infinite amount of places to stay ranging from five star hotels to backpacker hostels, but the most common form of accommodation here in Siem Reap is the guesthouse.
|My guesthouse in Siem Reap|
Unlike hotels which are owned primarily by foreigners, guesthouses are normally owned and operated by a Cambodian family. They are basically like budget hotels with simpler rooms, amenities and much lower prices. Most of them also have a restaurant and/or bar. They have a more relaxed atmosphere and usually a mixed group of customers ranging from young backpackers who stay a few days to older expats who stay for years.
|The restaurant/common area of the guesthouse|
I am staying at the Sweet Dreams Guesthouse which is owned by a lovely man named Nini. His wife, brother and sister all work here as well. There is usually a large group of his friends hanging out at the guesthouse at any given time, playing cards or Cambodian chess, and you can always find a couple of his five children running around or playing (the youngest, David, is actually a frequent visitor in my room if the door is open!) The guesthouses' security team is made up of two dogs (kidding.. sort of) and there is a cat who is constantly lounging on one of the restaurant tables.
|The cat (note the condiment bottles in the background)|
Since the day I arrived Nini's motto has been "my house, your house" and he really means it. He's always around if we need help, have a question or are having a beer (ha!) When I was sick with a fever/infection for about a week he was so nice and always made sure to ask how I was doing, which made a huge difference.
|David, who pays me frequent visits|
I'm sure there are many amazing guesthouses here but now that I've gotten to know Nini and his family I wouldn't dream (no pun intended) of staying anywhere else.
|The Sweet Dreams crew enjoying some beers|
|The volunteer teachers with Nini (AKA our Cambodian father)|
|The bench where someone is always napping|
|David playing in a box|