September 1, 2013
Golden Temple Villa
Siem Reap, Cambodia
11 – ish pm
The ice is melting inside the silver cup in my hands, the water condensing around it is making my finger tips numb. It is filled with lime juice. I bring the straw to my lips and suck in the cool liquid. I didn’t realize how thirsty I was until the freshly squeezed lime juice slid down my throat.
I bring the cup down to its holder, sit back on the cushioned sofa and relaxed.
I had just checked in at the Golden Temple Villa a few minutes prior and I am currently in the restaurant enjoying my welcome drink. I wipe my dirty hands on a cool towellete before I started munching on fried peanuts.
I start spacing out.
The restaurant is lit up with warm lights, and I am starting to feel sleepy. I wasn’t expecting this place to be very cozy.
A month prior to my trip to Siem Reap, I browsed through tripadvisor.com looking for an affordable place to stay near the city center.
After searching through possible choices, Golden Temple Villa caught my attention. I browsed through the photos and read a few reviews and I was impressed.
I am a gay traveler and I would prefer to stay at a “gay friendly” or “gay exclusive” bed and breakfast because I’d be more comfortable, plus I wouldn’t be making other people uncomfortable. I tried google-ing for gay bed and breakfasts around Siem Reap, The Golden Banana and the River Queen Guesthouse came through. I now had more choices.
I am a relatively easy traveler and I don’t really fuss over amenities I don’t need because I’ll be out most of the time. Big hotels and places that appear too extravagant make me uncomfortable. All I need is a comfortable bed, a fan and a working toilet and I’ll be fine.
I chose Golden Temple Villa because it was small, affordable and conveniently located near the center of town. That way it would be very easy for me to get a sense of direction.
I was traveling during the low season, so I got a $15 room and added $3 to include breakfast. I stayed for 5 nights.
My room was located on the first floor. The room I initially wanted on the third floor was already taken.
The room was warmly lit. Very Cozy. A wooden sculpture of Buddha hang on the wall while the curtains billowed in the wind.
My bed was one of the softest beds I have ever laid on. It’s just like I’m melting into it. Here’s the thing with me, I’m like a dog when I’m in bed. I keep moving around, shifting from one side to another trying to find my sweet spot. It wasn’t the case for this bed. I swear, as soon as my head hit the pillow I’m out. The bed covers are remarkably fragrant too.
My only qualm about this room is the window. Half of it is blocked by the dresser. I usually keep my windows open because I’m not a fan of air conditioning. I also like natural light to come in.
The room is relatively small. But if the proprietor would move the bed under the window and transfer the dresser to the other side of the room, it would completely open up the room and make it more airy. I wouldn’t mind if the bed would be the first thing you’d see when you open my door, especially if it’s under the window.
That would be a better visual than the dresser and the television set.
I liked the small garden of Golden Temple Villa. It reminds me of my grandmother’s garden while I was growing up, except for the statues of Hindu deities of course. My grandmother used to have banana trees, flowers and lots of orchids in her garden. I used to spend my afternoons watering the plants with her.
I really felt at home.
When you enter from the street you are greeted by the Hindu goddess, Durga ,before entering the living quarters / front desk of the bed and breakfast. It protects the entire place. A Deva also stands on one side of the garden while dozen of statuettes are displayed at various places around the garden.
It’s a perfect introduction to Cambodia, its culture and religion.
Golden Temple Villa has created a nice retreat. It doesn’t feel like I’m at the center of town, when in reality it is less than a 3 minute walk.
There is also a hammock under the trees where you could just lay down and relax.
Early in the morning, when there is nothing to do. I just rock under the trees and look up at the tree tops while butterflies and dragon flies zip through the air. And in the afternoon, I lay there for a short while when I just want to stretch my back after a whole day of temple running. I end up dozing off.
The restaurant is quaint. It doubles as a hang out area where you can have tea, coffee and bananas at any time of the day – all on the house!
I usually have a huge serving of baguette, scrambled eggs, freshly cut fruits mixed with yogurt for breakfast. It’s so huge, I couldn’t finish it.
The restaurant also serves Khmer food at affordable prices. They also get a price cut around happy hour!
I especially enjoyed my time with the people who worked here. They were very accommodating to every query. May it be about the nearest ATM machine, the best temple tour to get (especially in the terms of distance and time management), or if it’s an easy bike ride to the temple complex.
They were the first Khmer people I interacted with. And every interaction always involved laughter. We just laughed and laughed. I have realized that the Khmer were very light hearted people despite their history.