Photo: On the river.

Accommodation



Chi Phat

Chi Phat offers more than 40 accommodation options, with a range of homestays, guesthouses, bungalows and eco-chalets to choose from. Then, of course, there are the forest camps, and a night in one of those is highly recommended for adventurous types. Most accommodation is centred around the village, though some is much further out. You will not find anything luxurious, but that will simply make you appreciate it all the more later on.

A general note on accommodation in Chi Phat

As most Cambodians live in stilted, wooden houses, this is what most of the homestays look like. They tend to be simpler but, of the ones that we viewed, we actually found them more charming than the guesthouses, where the stark brick walls can seem a little oppressive. On the other hand, those stark rooms were frequently significantly cooler depending on their orientation. The quality varies from very, very basic to solid, comfortable Cambodian wooden homes. The welcomes always seem to be warm and kind though, and we’re not just saying that.

The team at the CBET centre says they will be working with hosts — whether of homestays or guesthouse — to bring up standards in the future. However, compared to many other places we’ve stayed in Cambodia, we found standards here to be pretty good on average. There is no air-con, and electricity is limited, which means no fan after 22:00. All the beds have mosquito nets, and they all seemed to provide towels, water and clean bed linen. There is no hot water, and while we are generally enormous fans of cold showers, on chilly, dry season mornings this can be a tough way to wake up. You will be awake though, that we promise. Some bathrooms are squat toilet. If you’ve never used one before, it’s good to remember that they’re actually much better for you than Western-style seated toilets. It’s good for your thighs too!

The principles of CBET would normally preclude expressing a preference for any particular accommodation. The point of the project is to spread the benefits so that all individuals are not tempted to fall back into harmful practices. As soon as one card falls, it’s only a matter of time before the whole fragile, valuable deck collapses. You can choose for CBET to randomly allocate a property -- contact them in advance or once you arrive -- to you based on whether you prefer a homestay, guesthouse or bungalow. Check out the properties below for a general idea of what to expect. While you can book online via booking.com, it is probably a better idea for the community to ask to be randomly allocated a place.

Even if you book directly with the property, you still need to register at the CBET centre, and they can help you find your way to your accommodation, or contact the owner who will come to collect you. Very often the owners do not speak English, or have a bare grasp of the language. Attempting to communicate by email or phone before you arrive may create more confusion than enlightenment.

We randomly visited a number of properties, and details are given below to give you an idea of what to expect and how the properties can vary. In our view, even those properties that might not be as “polished” as others are just as valuable and comfortable once you’re tucked up in bed. And, as we said above, you’re not here for the thread counts on the bed linen.

All of the properties are named after one of the animals that calls the Cardamoms home. One slightly confusing element is that the houses are identified publicly by the English-language name, but when you get there, the names are Khmer.


Chi Phat
Under US$10
Bear Cat (Koy Lay) Homestay
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat

A very comfortable option just a few minutes’ walk from the CBET centre, Bear Cat has six rooms in the upstairs part of their large wooden home. The rooms are simple, but spotlessly clean, with mid-size beds, and they also include some furniture for keeping your stuff off the floor, which is always a good thing in Cambodia (lest you find a nasty surprise stowed away). The bathroom is a wet... Read our full review of Bear Cat (Koy Lay) Homestay.

(  Read more on Booking.com )

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Cardamom Cottages
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat
T: (092) 277 313

Cardamom Cottages offer a comfortable, airy space from which to explore the world around you. With three individual bungalows, each en-suite with Western-style toilets, they benefit from a shady space in the grounds behind Danatra Kitchen. Made from wood and bamboo, there’s plenty of fresh air circulating to help keep things cool as well. The owners, same as for Danatra Kitchen, speak... Read our full review of Cardamom Cottages.

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Chhay Kpos Bungalows
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat

A good three kilometres away from the CBET centre, Chhay Kpos is a quiet, riverside retreat with four small wood-frame bungalows. Right beside the Chhay Kpous waterfall, the property also has a covered bar and restaurant area, as well as riverside platforms tucked into the trees, on which to while away some easy hours over a picnic or a few beers. The family were very friendly and helpful as... Read our full review of Chhay Kpos Bungalows.

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Mongoose (Chi Va) Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat
T: (092) 277 313

Pretty much in the middle of Chi Phat village (which is long not round), Mongoose has two buildings of simple but comfortable bamboo built rooms, some of which are ensuite. The airy (bamboo doesn’t meet up after all) rooms are set in a slightly rough and ready garden that stores a collection of very well-maintained bicycles that you can hire for $4 a day. The rooms are perfectly maintained... Read our full review of Mongoose (Chi Va) Guesthouse.

(  Read more on Booking.com )

Chi Phat
US$10 to 35
Sun Bear Bungalows
Flashpacker - US$10 to 35
Chi Phat
T: (015) 815 141

With five independent bungalows set among sandalwood and jackfruit trees, in a pretty setting that backs on to a thickly wooded area, Sun Bear is one of the smarter options close to the middle of the village. Sun Bear is a five-minute walk from the CBET centre. We were told you can sometimes hear gibbons here but the bird song is lovely whether or not you’re lucky enough to hear a... Read our full review of Sun Bear Bungalows.

(  Read more on Booking.com )

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Banded Kingfisher (Ou Sokha) Homestay
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat

One of the simpler properties we came across, Banded Kingfisher (Ou Sokha) Homestay is almost as central as you could wish for. The wood and bamboo home has two homestay rooms, which are sparsely and simply decorated with a bed, some shelves and mosquito net. The owner didn’t seem to speak English, but she was very warm and gracious as she showed us around her small, spotless property. They... Read our full review of Banded Kingfisher (Ou Sokha) Homestay.

(  Read more on Booking.com )

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Black Bear (Sok Srei Mom) Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat

A little further out of town, Black Bear Guesthouse offers a mix of wooden and brick rooms in a large typically modern-style Khmer house. Thus there is a brick ground floor and a wooden upstairs. The rooms are all clean and tended to be a little larger than others that we saw, though any attempts at cat-swinging would still likely result in damage all-round. We weren’t able to meet the... Read our full review of Black Bear (Sok Srei Mom) Guesthouse .

(  Read more on Booking.com )

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Dun Bunleng Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat
T: (012) 500 094

Set right on the Preak Piphot River, Dun Bunleng has a couple of brick, ensuite rooms that are bright and cool. As everywhere, they’re still pretty basic, but if being near the water turns you on, then this is a good option that is still very close to the centre of the village. It’s down a small track behind the buildings and businesses that front the main street. This is where you start... Read our full review of Dun Bunleng Guesthouse.

Chi Phat
Under US$10
Porcupine (Chan Ty) Guesthouse
Backpacker - Under US$10
Chi Phat
T: (015) 614 038

Right in the heart of the main village area, virtually opposite the CBET centre, you can’t get more central than Chan Ty Guesthouse. There are more rooms in the brick building, in varying states of repair, than most of the homestays. Guesthouses seem to offer a little more personal space than homestays, but the bare, off-colour walls can feel a little oppressive we felt. On the other hand,... Read our full review of Porcupine (Chan Ty) Guesthouse .

(  Read more on Booking.com )

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