How I got lost in ‘The Mad Monkey’ vortex

Review_The Mad MonkeyBean bags, pool, roof top bar, stolen flip flops, all blurred in a haze of mojitos and beer pong – the Mad Monkey Siem Reap vortex.

Not many places make you feel right at home from the moment you set down, but set in prime location in Siem Reap, Mad Monkey was like re-entering the Western world, a refreshing break after living in bamboo shacks and jungles for a couple of months.

Wide beds, completely sealed rooms, air conditioning and a hot shower, just a few of the luxuries backpackers learn to appreciate and make the most of during their stay – a place where you become a flash packer for only $9.90USD / night.

It does come with its negatives though. In the first five minutes of being at the hostel someone stole my flip flops. This wasn’t all bad, it just meant I could embrace my new barefoot lifestyle even more. A lifestyle that led us living poolside for a good four days, only leaving the premises to make a visit to Pub Street or our favourite Mexican restaurant – what country were we in again?

We ate great food with the sand between our toes at the rooftop bar. We blew our budgets, but the few days we were staying, which turned into a week, were of pure indulgence. The hostel was heavily booked and we had to fight to get beds to extend our stay.

Up until the very last day the staff were of the highest standard, helpful, friendly and seemed genuinely interested in us. A week later and after exploring Angkor Wat we finally felt it was time to leave. We booked an overnight bus to Sihanoukville with the help of the reception staff and were satisfied and re-invigorated from our stay.

D day – the day of departure, and the day my body decided to succumb to the worst stomach bug I have ever had – I won’t go into details but it was nasty. With many people hit in the hostel, people began suspecting it had something to do with the pool. For me, I didn’t want to stir from the cool tiles outside the bathroom in my room: every time I moved, there were devastating consequences.

This is when the staff of Mad Monkey stopped caring – with death taking over my body, they kicked me out of my room and wouldn’t extend check out, not even for an additional hour. My friend, God bless her, packed up my things and assisted me into the hot sticky lobby and laid me down on some tiles next to a bathroom. There was no air conditioning, no fans, but at least I was close to a toilet. The staff, who clearly thought I was just hungover and not ill, threw dirty looks at me all day as I lay waiting for a bus to escape.

With no beds available for the night we had no choice but to get to Sihanoukville. As departure time got closer, I started filling my body with immodium. The evening staff who knew I didn’t drink the night before were more sympathetic and wished me luck as we were picked up by our tuk-tuk to take us to our bus.

I was definitely glad to leave – if it weren’t for the treatment I received that day Mad Monkey would have received a 5/5.

P.S.  I made it successfully to Sihanoukville, yay for immodium, it was a few more days until I could stomach food again.


All opinions are subjective to the writers personal travel experience. The writer travelled at her own expense.

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