Cheap beds, rooftop bar
Another Phnom Penh party hostel stalwart, with plenty to rest, sustain, guide and plain entertain you, Mad Monkey is a super-funky hostel with $6 dorm beds, great food and fun rooftop bar. It’s set in two buildings so you can escape the monkey madness from time to time if the urge takes you.
The private rooms — priced from $16-29 per night depending on capacity and whether you want an ensuite bathroom — are small, but scrupulously clean and some are even quite snazzy. There are no TVs, because, you know, that’s not what you’re here for. Prices also reflect proximity to the bar and restaurant.
In spite of the resulting noise, the Mad Monkey’s restaurant is one of the highlights of staying here. They have a huge menu, and everything we tried from Khmer noodle soup to beef burritos with salad was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately breakfast is not included and you will end up spending more on a meal than on a dorm bed, but your tummy will thank you for it.
The rooftop bar starts to fill up around 15:00 when happy hour begins and is the perfect setting for swapping travel tales over $4 jugs of draft beer. They host regular weekly events, including barbecues, open mic nights, and plenty more, so there’s no chance of dozing off from boredom. There’s also an impressive selection of wine, cider and more than 40 different cocktails.
Mad Monkey is a hostel with a conscience and all of its Cambodian staff are paid 150% of a typical salary and receive free health care. It’s clear that the staff are happy to work here as the service is phenomenal. We encountered this in Siem Reap too, this place really looks after its people with training, financial compensation and more, and should be rewarded just for that alone. If you need anything — a tuk tuk, a visa, a bus ticket — just ask and they’ll take care of it.
In terms of location, the Mad Monkey is away from the main tourist drag while still being central. The neighbourhood is known as BKK1 and considered the one of the safer neighbourhoods in Phnom Penh. That said, it is also known for its street muggings, so casually meandering down the road, swinging your bag is not recommended. This means you can feel secure walking home at night from nearby bars like Che Culo, but that you’ll need a tuk tuk (from $2) to get to the Central Market or riverfront.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 20th November, 2015.