Sociable and fun
Mad Monkey is the sociable sister of the popular Phnom Penh hostel of the same name. Just as lively, welcoming and fun, this is young backpacker territory that gets booked in advance — note they only accept online bookings or walk-ins. Bring your competitive spirit for beer pong and expect to miss sunrise due to one too many late nights.
Rooftop beach bar Top Banana, a lounge area with computers and outdoor swimming pool, mean the public spaces here trump the simple, but clean and functional, dorms and private rooms. Mad Monkey is great for solo travellers looking to meet new people with a relaxed vibe by day progressing into what tends to be more of a party atmosphere by night.
Funky wall mural designs lead you up the floors to the roof bar via a comfortable sundeck with great big day beds. Upstairs, where that first beer will have been well-earned, sand underfoot and painted-on palm trees will get you into the holiday spirit if the bar alone is not enough. With outdoor and indoor seating the bar is spacious. It’s great to sit up here in relative quiet for lunch – the food menu is extensive, with plenty of Western favourites – or congregate with the masses come night. The bar stays open until 01:00, or until everyone’s cleared out into Pub Street for (even) louder music. Four floors up, the cool breezes here are more than a welcome relief, and the sunsets can be pretty amazing too.
Alternatively, take a dip at the swimming pool that greets you on entering the property and enjoy a drink poolside at adjacent bar and the chilled out mood. With the pool as well as WiFi, the price works out as good value for the rooms, though breakfast is not included.
Each bed has a light, sockets, really roomy locker and towel provided, and all the showers are hot and cold water. Private rooms — doubles, twins and triples — are similarly straightforward with plenty of space and were relatively cool even in the middle of the day. Note that there are no TVs, which is not an issue since you’d choose this hostel if you’re looking to spend time hanging out with new friends. There are options for fan or air-con, the latter being a little dearer.
Jointly Western-Khmer managed, the hostel and their helpful staff do a great job of making you feel at home quickly, and there’s a really good reason for that. The staff here are treated very well by the owners, paid a fair wage, and given plenty of support with training and more. This investment and commitment shines through in the service that they deliver.
More evidence of their thoughtfulness: this was the only place we spotted that had public posters dealing with the question of appropriate dress for visiting the temples — spoiler alert: it is not hot pants. We’re also kind of fond of their strict ‘no asshole’ policy.
Our single gripe would be to not rely on the map online if you’re looking for Mad Monkey on your own. We spent more than a little while looking for it — twice — thinking we must be missing something somewhere, and we hate feeling hot and stupid. The actual turn-off is on the west side of Sivatha Boulevard opposite but between Samdech Tep Vong and Street 5 (and not north of Street 5 as indicated on the map).
By Caroline Major
Last updated on 29th June, 2015.