Angkor Wonder Hostel: Highly Recommended
After traveling for nearly 14 hours from Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and being left by the sleeper bus after early morning stop (coffee/ breakfast/ toilet break) between the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap where the world’s famous Angkor Wat is located, I felt relieve and happy to be greeted by a down to earth owner of Angkor Wonder Hostel – Mr Why Not. Why Not? 🙂 Yes, Why Not. I thought it’s a very catchy name.
That awful feeling of helplessness to be left in the middle of nowhere, where no one speaks a single word in English. I think the bus has stop for relatively longer time but maybe I was in a deep sleep. When I wake up, I quickly made my way to the toilet and upon return the bus was gone. I think it was crazy for the bus driver assistant not to do a head count and just leave like that. I left my dslr camera in the bed. My luggage was in the storage compartment of the bus. I was mad at the guy who share with the sleeper bed who never bothered to tell the driver that there’s one passenger left. I thought he wanted to get even with me. I have said I was not comfortable to share the sleeper bed with a man, a stranger, I do not know. I requested to swap with a woman. But I think the number was odd, so I ended up feeling uncomfortable for the entire trip.
I have tried to communicate my best with the locals in the store to help me call the driver or the office of the sleeper bus company. But no luck. Early morning, all offices are closed. People are still sleeping. I was a bit worried. Nevertheless, I tried to keep myself composed. Worst comes to worst, if I lost my luggage – I still have the money and my passport with me. I can buy some clothes, toiletry, small notebook and a pen. I’d be sad if I lost forever the camera not because of the camera per se but of the beautiful memories stored in the memory card and the book I am currently reading – The Secrets of Happy Families – I will lost this beautiful companion of mine. Nothing lasts forever indeed. Everything can be taken in an instant. But these are material things. I can easily replace it. So I thought, I will be fine. I promised myself, after this mishap, I will have a great time for the rest of my stay in Cambodia and Vietnam.
Twenty minutes feels like two hundred minutes being left in a place where I know no one. What guarantee can I have the sleeper bus will return to pick me up? Nothing. My mind was still running for all other possible scenarios when I heard someone shouting from afar, the assistant bus driver, the sound of the bus coming. Ohhh thank God!
At Home At Angkor Wonder
After the semi-ordeal at a very unholy hour of early morning – things went well afterwards. I was pick up at the bus station by the Angkor Wonder tuktuk and was offered a refreshing mineral water. In about 15 minutes, we arrived at the hostel. I was greeted and shake hands with the smiling hostel owner who introduced himself as Mr Why Not. What a nice name, I said. Several people who were having breakfast wave their hands upon my arrival. I thought wow, the people here are so cool. I admire how the entrance of the hostel was nicely decorated with rustic Khmer, some flowering plants, banana trees and a nipa hut.
Mr Why Not offered me another bottled drink then gave me a brief orientation about what to do and how to efficiently explore Siem Reap. He handed me a map and carried my luggage all the way up to the 4th floor. Mr Why Not has offered lot of options on how to explore Angkor Wat – he never imposed a single way like taking the tour. He has been very cordial and honest about giving advice and I could sense that he is not a greedy businessman who likes to rip off money from tourists and travelers alike. Mr Why Not is genuinely interested in helping people. I have observed some arrogant travelers who expect too much and sounds too bossy – but Mr Why Not maintains his cool. He is definitely a super down to earth hostel owner I have ever met. I felt instantly at home at his place. Meeting his family and those independent travelers – we were like a big family staying in a 4-storey residential building! And there was always a cocktail party at the Gazebo house every night. So why go to the Night Market when you can have free drinks at home? 😉 And at your own choice. It was one exceptional feeling to be immersed with these group of people coming from all walks of life. And it was made possible because of how Mr Why Not relates to everyone. He treats all of us as a friend, as a family.
I was again reminded of my very own dreams, to have a Bed-and-Breakfast (Guesthouse) in one of the beautiful islands in my country, the Philippines – Palawan :). Run by our family. We will employ my own folks, as my way of giving back to my community. It will not be a typical Bed-and-Breakfast. It will offer the tourists and travelers the opportunity to get involve in basic environmental protection and conservation. I will probably introduce them to a couple of endemic and exotic species with its scientific names. Explain how these tropical plants affect our well being, show the connection how our action in return affect the whole ecosystem and our life on Earth. While incorporating community organizing to build People’s Organization that geared towards empowerment, self-reliance, independence. Crafting local products, creating something new, recycling used stuff that can be exported where the target is the international market. The tourists and travelers will not only have the best holiday experience in one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Not only that they will enjoy, they will return home full and fulfilled because they have done something meaningful. They have taken something. But they also give back. Being an environmental steward of our beautiful Earth, immersing in the community and experience first-hand how the local people work, et ce te ra. I don’t know how it will work. But I have a feeling that it will happen. Someday. One day. Oh it feels so good to dream! Yes!!! 😀 Pursuing my love for traveling while incorporating a little bit of everything in my Bed-and-Breakfast dreams :).
I was inspired by Mr Why Not humble beginnings. If he can do it, so I can :).
Dream Come True
I approached Mr Why Not and asked if I can interview him. I told him about this little blog of mine. I promised him I will create a post about Angkor Wonder because the world needs to know Mr Why Not is not only providing a cheap stay in his hostel – he is building connections, relationships, friendships from all over the world. To have his own hostel run by the family is Mr Why Not long time dream. He cited that his goal of building a hostel was to get closer to his family as he has his four young growing children. He started as a tuktuk driver and then worked for a bus company. It was difficult for him to always go back home as he is almost always on the road. He admit, he has no entrepreneurial background. At first he does not know how to use computer, how to create profile in facebook, how to manage booking reservations, until slowly he started to learn about all these things… He is getting there. Mr Why Not himself is a successful person despite citing that he has made lots of mistakes while starting. The hostel is only 3 years and I think he has done a good job. In fact the hostel received an excellent accolade from the TripAdvisor.
I am really happy to have found a welcoming home in Cambodia. I will definitely stay here again when I’m back. If you find this – you are indeed lucky. And I am certain you will feel the same way 😀
ANGKOR WONDER HOSTEL
#59, Street Phsar Krom, Vihear Chen Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Phone:+855 12 328 893