Sunday, January 19, 2014

Welcome To Our Humble Abode!

This is our fifth time visiting Cambodia, and our fourth time staying long term. If we go somewhere for a short visit, I don't mind living out of a suitcase for a few days, but when it's longer than that, I can't stand rummaging through things. I need to feel settled and uncluttered. (Everything has it's place, and everything is in it's place.)

When we're here, we stay in a guesthouse rather than a hotel. In the simplest of terms, the difference between a guesthouse and a hotel is that you take your shoes off at the front door of a guesthouse. Guesthouses also tend to have fewer rooms and lower prices.

For our last two visits, we stayed at MotherHome Guesthouse, which was fairly upscale.

Motherhome Guesthouse
lit up at night

It had a 'western-style' bathroom complete with western toilet, bathtub, shower (with shower curtain) and sink set into a vanity top, with plenty of room to lay out all our toiletries. The dark wood paneling in the bedroom made the room rather gloomy, but there was a large wardrobe to hang our clothes, and a mini-fridge where we could keep food. (Well, we THOUGHT we could keep food in it, until we discovered they turned off the electricity whenever we went out somewhere.) The rates were fairly reasonable and the service was excellent, yet we felt isolated from all the rest of the Honour Village volunteers who were staying across the road at Golden Takeo Guesthouse

Front view of Golden Takeo
showing the 2nd floor balcony

Front entrance of Golden Takeo at night

Prom, the owner of Golden Takeo, is our very good friend. Three years ago we were honoured guests at his wedding, and we felt we were dishonouring him by not staying with him. Once, when we were going up to the rooftop restaurant of Golden Takeo, we'd managed to sneak a peek at one of the guest rooms. Although it was more than adequate for short term stay, it didn't seem to have storage spaces for long term guests, which made us a bit hesitant to switch. Then, in 2012, the decision was made for us...the owner of Motherhome Guesthouse almost doubled his rates. We contacted Prom and asked him if it would be possible to stay with him and make some 'small additions' to our room. He agreed and so here we are.

Our home for the next few months is Room 107..

It's right at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor.
A cheery mural of lotus flowers greets us...

To the left of the stairwell is a computer station.
We have wifi in our room, so we don't use it.

A door beside the computer station
leads to a balcony overlooking the street

The balcony is a bit narrow to sit on,
and is mainly used by smokers
since all rooms are non-smoking.
Still, it's nice to step out of our room
and walk a few feet to catch some fresh air.

To the right of the stairwell,
the hallway extends to the back of the guesthouse.

The guesthouse has 10 rooms in total - six on the main floor, and four on the second floor. The rooms on the first floor are smaller, with either one 'double' bed, or two 'single' beds, and smaller bathrooms than the second floor.  On the second floor, all four rooms have two 'twin' beds, and larger bathrooms. (In Cambodia, a double bed is the size of a king, a twin bed is the size of a queen, and a single bed is the size of a double bed.)

Prom gave us the best room in the house. It has two twin (queen) beds, two windows, and a large bathroom.

This is what it looked like before we moved in. 

The view from our front bedroom window

Rather than having the staff make two beds, we decided to just
use one.  After all, we sleep in a queen bed at home. We moved
the table from between the beds over to one side, and pushed
the beds closer together. The second bed is used
as my bedside table, and a catch-all for other paraphernalia.

We bought a metal clothes rack to hang things,
and a shelf unit that acts like a dresser / catch-all.

The original wicker unit that was in that space went on the wall
next to the desk and TV stand. We use all the available space.
Unfortunately, the wicker unit covers up our pretty lotus mural....

We have cable TV, and there are many
English stations. We haven't watched TV yet.
It does make a nice plant stand, nest-ce pas?
Next to the TV is an electric kettle so we can
have tea & coffee in our room.
The guesthouse will supply it, but we buy our own.

Our room comes with A/C (which is called 'air-con' here).
Night temperatures aren't too hot yet, so we've only
used it once or twice.

The ceiling fan is quite adequate most of the time.

There are only two outlets in the room.
We use the one next to the kettle as our
'charging station'
Electricity here is 220 V

The other outlet is underneath the bedside table.
It's tough to get at, and we use the shelf
for storing our electronics, batteries, cords, etc.

We have a well-stocked bar.
We can buy a half-decent bottle
of New Zealand red or white
for around $4.50
Liquor is also greatly reduced, but might not
be exactly what's stated on the label.
Buyer beware!

Water out of the tap is not potable.
We have to drink bottled water only.
We get 6 - 1.5L bottles for $2.50.

Breakfast on the rooftop is included
with the price of the room. It is so big,
we split it in two and eat the rest for lunch.
These are our lunchboxes.

The bathroom floor has been raised to accommodate
the drainage system, so you have to remember
to step up when you go in!

We have a very large bathroom
completely tiled

The shower has 'hot water on demand'.
Fortunately the pressure is low, so we don't need
a shower curtain to keep the water
from wetting the toilet seat.

Bathroom sink has cold water only.
No vanity here, just a pedestal sink
with a shelf above it.
We've added some plastic shelves
to hold our toiletries & pills.
Again, it's fortunate that the spray
of the shower isn't forceful enough to reach here.

The bathroom mirror is mounted so high up
I can barely see my face.
It's the only mirror in the entire suite.
It's a fast way to rid a person of vanity

In Cambodian homes, squat toilets are the norm, but
I think most places that cater to westerners have
'western-style' toilets now.
You use the spray nozzle to 'clean yourself off'
which cuts down on the amount of toilet paper you use.

We don't have our room cleaned every day,
so they leave us a package of toilet paper
to make sure we don't run out.
It's pink,

Actually, it's pink for a reason.
Pink coloured toilet paper breaks down much faster
than regular paper.
Putting it mildly, the sewage systems in Cambodia
are inadequate.
By the size of the roll,
it's obvious you're not supposed to use much.
There is a big ridge on one side
where the end of the roll is glued together.

And this is the way you get it apart.
Gee it's fun living here!


  1. What an insight! Your accomodations are much better than what I had imagined.

    1. I especially like that the room is bright and cheerful and freshly decorated, with high ceilings and two big windows. The bed is very comfortable (foam mattress) with a selection of firm or soft pillows (I prefer firm, Gordon prefers soft, so we're both happy!) As volunteers for HVC who are long term stay, we get lower rates which are very reasonable, especially as it includes 2 very large breakfasts.

  2. Thanks for the description, it's almost like visiting with you

    1. And when we're here, I always wish people could visit us! It's such a different way of life and an amazing difficult to portray in photos and words. Glad you are enjoying the blog.

  3. Ha!! That was MY room for six days. :)