2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
First published 10th May, 2009
Phnom Penh's French colonial roots coupled with today's plethora of aid agencies based here have conspired to create a glut of accommodation for such a small capital city. Gated old mansions-turned-hotels with saltwater swimming pools and lush vegetation dot the city, while three backpacker hubs lure the budget-conscious: The riverside has rooms ranging from opulent to gritty, with a multitude of mid-range places between, shoestring travellers head lakeside to snare US$3 rooms and the BoeungKeng Kang 1 (BKK1) area, commonly called "NGO-ville", offers slightly more subdued low- to mid-range accommodation within walking distance to plenty of bars and restaurants.
1. The Boddhi Tree--Del Gusto
Of the three Boddhi Tree hotels in Phnom Penh, The Boddhi Tree--Del Gusto is the best. It's much cheaper than Boddhi Tree Aram and bigger than Boddhi Tree Umma, which also deals with touts hanging around due to the genocide museum across the street. Del Gusto, tucked inside a lovely 1930s villa shrouded in greenery, is our ideal place to while away an afternoon in Phnom Penh. A restaurant on the patio serves tasty Khmer and Western fare all made from fresh, local produce. Its vaulted ceilings, teak floors and ceiling fans make the place cool even on the hottest days. Eight, varied rooms are offered, only one of which has air-con with a private bathroom -- the others are fan-cooled with shared facilities. Del Gusto is clean, quiet, tasteful and lovely.
The Boddhi Tree--Del Gusto: 43 Street 95, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 211 396 (012) 565 509. http://www.boddhitree.com
2. Top Banana Guesthouse
If you don't want to stay on the lake or the river but still want to meet people and feel centrally located, Top Banana Guesthouse is a great alternative. Former guests rave about Top Banana Guesthouse as a "home away from home." It sounds to us more like the house you lived in with a bunch of college buddies than the one you grew up in with your family. For friendly backpackers looking for a lively yet laidback social scene look no further. It's set on a third floor terrace, placing it above the city's dusty streets and distancing it from the noise. The street it's located on, however, is one of the prime backpacker strips in town, with an array of restaurants as well as several popular bars. Rooms are clean but basic.
2. Top Banana Guesthouse: Corner St 51 & St 278, Phnom Penh. T: (012) 885 572. http://www.topbanana.biz/
3. Villa Langka
Villa Langka is the best flashpacker option in BKK1, the neighbourhood that boasts close proximity to Independence Monument and its park as well as a multitude of foreign-oriented cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel itself, located on a quiet side street, might be in the running for one of the greenest spaces in central Phnom Penh. Dense palms surround a 1960s-style French mansion with spacious rooms and a lovely pool. We hear the poolside Continental breakfast of pastries, coffee and fresh juices is to die for.
3. Villa Langka: 14 Street 282, Phnom Penh. T: (012) 449 857, (023) 776 771. http://www.villalangka.com
4. Bright Lotus 1 Guest House
The Bright Lotus Guesthouse is a great choice for those who want to stay in the riverside district. Located away from the road lining the river, you can still catch views of the water from the roof while avoiding the inflated prices and some of the noise from being right on the strip. It has spotless rooms with air-con, TV, private bathrooms with hot water and shared verandas that overlook an open park and the National Museum. Staff are helpful and speak English quite well.
4. Bright Lotus 1 Guest House: #22 Street 178, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 990 446. email@example.com
5. Kambuja Inn
For its location and ambiance, Kambuja Inn is perhaps the best bargain in town. For a $20 single, you get all the amenities – air-con, hot water, large TVs with cable, and a fridge -- and the atmosphere of a room triple the price. The decor mimics French colonial style, with yellow stucco walls and furniture stained deep brown. Tucked away on a sleepy road off Norodom Blvd, it avoids the noise of the tourist centres while still being central: a 10-minute walk or short tuk tuk ride to the river and a three-minute walk to the (somewhat seedy) strip of bars along Street 51.
5. Kambuja Inn: 8-10 Street 174, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 223 377; (023) 214 218 F: (023) 213 134. firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Lazyfish Guesthouse & Restaurant
Lazyfish Guesthouse & Restaurant is the best lakefront option in the ghetto-like BeoungKak Lake backpacker district. It's Khmer-owned -- which is sadly rare -- and of all the guesthouses lining the disappearing lake, this is the cleanest and quietest. An extra $3 gets you one of the best rooms, which are wooden, spacious, overlook the water and have private bathroom and fan. The aesthetics of these rooms sets them apart from the other extremely basic digs lining the lake. The guesthouse's veranda is well-situated with a pleasant view and the standard bunch of hammocks.
6. Lazyfish Guesthouse & Restaurant: 15 and 16 Street 93, Phnom Penh. T: (012) 703 368; (099) 370 478; (016) 533 913. email@example.com
7. The Quay Hotel
The Quay Hotel stands out among the facades of the many historic, slightly crumbling hotels and restaurants lining the riverside's streets, with its stark white facade giving it an art gallery feel. The rooms are beautiful, with low-slung, modern furniture, and big, white beds, and look directly out onto the river. The balconies are cordoned off only by panes of spotless glass so this is the most uninterrupted riverside view in Cambodia. It's only worth staying here if you opt for the pricier river view rooms -- the others are way overpriced.
7. The Quay Hotel: 277 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 992 284, (023) 224 894 F: (023) 224 893. http://www.thequayhotel.com
Book online with: WHL
8. TAT Guest House
TAT, while away from most of the action, offers a home stay feel at a rock-bottom price. It's the perfect choice for those who want to settle into Phnom Penh for a while and spend some time exploring the city with a "home" to return to in the evening. Its rooftop lounge and the kindness of the family running the place are major selling points. Though the riverside, lakeside and other business districts are a moto drive away, it's just around the corner from O'Russey Market, the biggest and most popular market for Cambodians. Also nearby is Olympic Stadium, where you can catch the occasional football game or pop concert.
8. TAT Guest House52E1 Street 125, Phnom Penh. T: ;(012) 921 211; (099) 977 999. http://www.geocities.com/tatcambodia
9. The Pavilion
This estate used to belong to the king's grandmother, and it retains its regal elegance. A solid, white plaster wall surrounds a mansion and a courtyard cooled by lush vegetation. The Pavilion, more midrange lodge than flashpacker guesthouse, is walking distance from the Independence Monument and Palace, and around the corner from upscale Street 240. There's a bar/restaurant, tables and a large swimming pool in the courtyard. Spacious rooms are lovingly decorated and designed with a flourish, some have balconies, while several new bungalows have small Jacuzzis.
9. The Pavilion: 227 Street 19, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 222 280. http://www.thepavilion.asia/
10. The Billabong Hotel
The Billabong Hotel's location isn't as quiet as Langka, but its pool is nicer and some of the rooms have more recently updated decor. The deluxe rooms are a better deal than the pool-view standards. Each is decorated in a warm, modern style, with wide memory-foam mattresses and black and burgundy bedding. The ground floor has a pleasant little restaurant, with iron chairs and tables protected by the midday sun by canvas awnings on a patio next to the pool. Wireless internet is available for a fee. As of early 2009, noisy construction was underway next door.
10. The Billabong Hotel: 5 Street 158, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 223 703; (092) 229 306 F: (023) 998 472. http://www.thebillabonghotel.com
Story by Claire Duffett
Related readingFive special hotels in Cambodia
2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
Do I need reservations for my holiday?
Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
Read 7 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (12)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Epic Arts
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Swim Vietnam
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (7)
- Cambodia (22)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking in Virachey National Park
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (16)
- All stories
- A breeze through Luang Prabang
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (7)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (72)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Five days in Khao Lak, Thailand
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for Kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Should I cancel my trip to Thailand? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (20)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The best hostels in Bangkok 2014
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (15)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- Christmas and New Years in Southeast Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.