Spending Time in Siem Reap with A Local Host

Avid traveller and filmmaker Bryan embarked on an extended solo tour of Asia. After enjoying and exhilarating time in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia, Bryan was happy to find a home away from home with host Valentina in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We caught up with him to find out why he thought a homestay was the way to go, why he found it special and what he loved about Siem Reap. Don't forget to watch his amazing travel video at the end!

Tell us about your homestay experience.

Hosts Valentina and Steve in Siem Reap

Hosts Valentina and Steve in Siem Reap

Staying in a Homestay was an excellent experience. After doing a lot of travel and staying in all different types of accommodations nothing is more personal or authentic as staying with someone that calls that place home. Valentina was a great host, she had an endless amount of suggestions when it came to every aspect of Siem Reap. From Jeep tours in the countryside to the best places to eat, Valentina knew all the spots and things to do. I enjoyed the various conversations with her and her partner Steve over breakfast or a cup of coffee. They are both full of exciting travel stories and great expat advice.

What did you do in Siem Reap?

Bryan and a big tree in Cambodia

Siem Reap is an awesome city. It is rapidly growing and home to the Angkor Wat Temple complex. I spent a few days alone wandering through the various temples and ruins of the largest religious site in the world. Over 2 million people visit the complex every year, and it is the biggest tourist attraction in Cambodia. Besides the temples, there is so much that the town has to offer. Whether you're looking for shopping or to see the world famous Cambodian circus. If that’s not what you’re looking for maybe strolling with some drinks on the bustling Pub Street in the heart of town will be more your style. Or if you want to get out of the town, you can take a Jeep tour to Phnom Kulen National Park or a boat tour out onto Tonlé Sap the biggest lake in Cambodia.

Have you any tips or advice for other travellers?

Tuk Tuk in Siem Reap

I learned quickly that so many people just come to Siem Reap just for three or four days to see the temples, and then they leave without actually getting to experience the beautiful surrounding countryside. If there are some tips or advice I could give to anyone that plans to travel to Siem Reap it would be to spend more than those three or four days if at all possible. You can find various tour companies that will take you out to explore what the country has to offer aside from the typical tourist spots. My second tip would be that a lot of things are negotiable from shopping to transportation a little bargaining can go a long way. When it comes to transportation “Tuk-Tuks” are the best and cheapest way to get around Siem Reap. Whether it's one ride or a whole week you can hire a Tuk Tuk for all your transportation needs.

You were traveling around Asia before getting to Valentina's, where did you go? Have any tips for getting around Asia?

On this trip, I had the opportunity of traveling to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan as well as Cambodia. Asia is an awesome place to travel when you are young and have the energy to do so. There so many awesome and unique things that each Asian culture has to offer. From racing motorbikes in the mountains of Northern Thailand to laying on the beaches of Bali, there is something for everyone when traveling to the beautiful nations that make up Southeast Asia. Everywhere you go, you'll meet extremely welcoming cultures and exciting new experiences.

My best advice is for getting around Asia fast, is to fly most places that are only an hour or two by plane. If you are looking for the best budgeting ways to travel to get around, sleeper buses and trains are the best. You don't waste your days traveling, and you save money on places to stay.

What do you think the benefits are of staying in a homestay rather than a hotel or empty rental?

When it comes to travelling, I always say it's not the places you go but the people you meet along the way that truly makes your adventure. Especially when travelling solo it's always nice to have a place to stay with a welcoming host. And when it comes to Homestay this is a perfect example of that why having a host that is knowledgeable and always there to help you, you’re bound to create new friends everywhere you go. You don't get that same experience when staying in a hotel or empty rental. I look forward to the future opportunities that staying in a Homestay provides.

Check out Bryan's Siem Reap travel video

Valentina moved home to Italy in 2020, a new home, but same lovely host! Check out her new homestay in Sicily, Italy.

Want to take a trip to Cambodia?

See our Siem Reap Homestays

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