If you want an authentic, very local experience in Phnom Penh, you should try a homestay with Kanary (the founder and manager of CWSG) and her sweet family. I think Kanary’s homestay is in fact one of the only real homestays in Phnom Penh, because if you look online, most of the advertised homestays are more like guesthouses with many guest rooms and external staff to take care of the guests.
Kanary’s house is a traditional Khmer townhouse in a nice, safe area in Phnom Penh. The house is located close to the new Olympia Mall, Orussey Market, and the vibrant area around Baktouk high school. There are several cafes and local restaurants within walking distance, and there is even a small local market at the end of the street. Most tourist attractions are 15-20 minutes away in a tuk-tuk, but tuk-tuk rides are cheap (1-2USD) and there are plenty of tuk-tuks in the area so you will not have to wait more than a couple of minutes for your ride.
The entire upper floor in the house is at your disposal. There is a kitchenette with a fridge, a water boiler and a washing machine, two unfurnished balconies, a bedroom with a small double bed, a bathroom and a living room with a seating area. Two persons can sleep in the double bed in the bedroom and there is a spare mattress in the living room, where an additional person can sleep.
I would recommend that you stay 2-3 nights with Kanary to really get the chance to immerse yourself in the everyday life of the family. Except for The Grandma, everybody speaks English, and they are more than happy to answer the questions you may have about life in Phnom Penh. Depending on Kanary’s family’s schedule and plans, breakfast and dinner are usually included in the homestay, and the meals provide a great opportunity to sit down and get to know each other better. The Grandma in the house is an excellent cook, and if you are lucky, she will be cooking dinner for you while you are there.
The fine print:
The guest floor is on the 3rd floor and there is no elevator in the house, so you will have to climb the stairs.
The street outside has a lot of traffic during daytime (as most streets in Phnom Penh), but at night, it is very quiet.
There are no bars or nightlife in the area, except for the staff at the car workshop around the corner, who now and then entertains the entire neighborhood with karaoke until about 9pm in the evening (or until they are told to shut up).
Cleaning is provided when required and the same goes for refilling of clean towels and toilet paper.
Payment is in cash and you pay upon arrival.
You book your homestay by emailing Kanary at [email protected] The price starts at $30/night, depending on how many persons you are, and how many meals are included. Since you are basically moving in with the family while you are there, Kanary would like to know a little about you, before she confirms your booking.
There is air conditioning in the living room and in the bedroom. There is also wifi.