Sanitation can make a world of a difference.
It is no secret that Cambodia does not have the best water quality or sanitation in the world. The stars of a hotel really mirrors your quality of stay in Cambodia. While it may be more expensive, I can guarantee you will feel safer staying at a 4 or 5 star hotel. In my experience, a 3-star hotel entailed bugs in the corners, malfunctioning lights, dirty sink and shower water, and a casino lobby that constantly reeked of smoke. Not to mention, I had the displeasure of witnessing a female staff member exit a visitor’s hotel room with a short skirt and frizzy hair. While it is hard to swallow, Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia is well-known for sex trafficking.
On a happier note, here are a few recommendations of areas to stay to guarantee time in Cambodia!
1. Phnom Penh: Lux Riverside Hotel & Apartment
If you want to stay in a place that is the hub of nightlife and flashing lights, the 4-star Lux Hotel is a beautiful hotel in the center of it all. It’s a 5-minute walk from the riverside, where it contains what people call “the luckiest temple in Phnom Penh.” There is also an entire strip of hotels near Riverside Street. The only downside: you should be aware at night, as every other building is a bar with drunken men and barely dressed women. The convenient location and beautiful view, however, is well worth it all!
2. Siem Reap: Hotel Somadevi Angkor Resort & Spa
This was one of my favorite hotels to stay in. It had the best sanitation I had seen in Cambodia, and was only a 10-minute walk from Pub Street. If you haven’t heard of it already, Pub Street is a strip that sells every food and souvenir available in the whole country. The hotel is also in a far enough space that is safe and quiet. Not to mention, free breakfast buffet included!
3. Phnom Penh: Koh Pich Area
Diamond Island is a rich area with the prettiest skyscrapers to see and best clubs to go to. If you are looking to live lavishly, this is the place to be! Hotels such as Nagaworld, Sofitel Phnom Penh, and Hotel Corduroy are some of the classiest hotels Cambodia has to offer. In addition, there are two Nagaworlds that have an underground tunnel that allows you to access BOTH hotels! It’s a cleaner and safer area overall.
4. Hotels near Samdach Sothearos Boulevard
Staying in this area will place you right next to the Royal Palace of Cambodia. Cannot get easier than this! There are plenty of high quality hotels, including the Palace Gate Hotel and Molyan Hotel. These are on some of the most famous streets of Phnom Penh, and it’s convenient for souvenirs and local markets!
While you may visit provinces away from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the moral of the story is: DO YOUR RESEARCH. While it is only a place to sleep, sanitation and cleanliness of the environment is important. It is worth paying a little extra!