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“Cambodia as Cambodia Should be Experienced!”

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Seven Candles Guest House
Ranked #16 of 507 Siem Reap B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 18, 2009

I can't rave enough about this place and in particular the people who own and run it. Seven Candles is not only a wonderful and lovingly recently renovated guesthouse, it is the family home of Ponheary Ly and her brother Dara. Ponheary and Dara are well-known tour guides and the guesthouse is also the headquarters of the wonderful Ponheary Ly Foundation.

I am not a guesthouse kind of person but wanted to stay here at least a few days to support the foundation's efforts as I met and came to know Ponheary Ly and the fantastic Lori Carlson, who runs the foundation and guesthouse, several years ago on a previous trip. My few day stay turned into 8 days as there was no reason to stay anywhere else.

My room was nicely appointed; the bed very comfortable, the aircon perfect and the atmosphere in the house is relaxed, friendly and even inspiring. The house is filled with life and love, the kids of the families that live there add a wonderful dimension as they study and play (but don't worry, not once was I disturbed by any noise or anything - the kids are charming and perfectly behaved). Volunteers of the Ponheary Ly foundation, who come to work in the various schools supported by the foundation, stay here also and their energy and their stories are uplifting. One day, one of the volunteers, a 17 year old American woman, brought her school class to visit the house. It was a great chance to chat with the kids.

The guesthouse is located on Wat Bo Road, only a few minutes from the tourist center of town. I had always stayed in places closer to Pub Street but it was a great experience being on a normal residential Siem Reap street. The guesthouse has bikes you can rent (or you can purchase one and leave for the foundation to give to a deserving student when you leave!) and it is a lot of fun biking around Siem Reap.

For the eight days I was here, I got to feel more like a local than a tourist and that is a priceless experience. Check out the pictures and if you want to know more about Ponheary Ly, read the entry in my travelogue, 'Education is the sweetest revenge,' at http://leonardstrail.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/ponheary-ly-foundation/.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled solo
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4  Thank lennybruce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 29, 2009

Stayed for 5 nights at Seven Candles recently and enjoyed the experience immensely. The rooms are on 3 levels and the stairs are easy to navigate. There are lovely balconies on the second and third floor, books to read, chairs to relax on and an accessible computer (also a cheap internet place 2 blocks away). Tuk tuks are easily available to take you to Pub Street and/or the night market.

The rooms are large, immaculately clean and have a comfortable bed, great air conditioning, TV, toilet and shower, with plenty of hot water to use. Although I had been to Siem Reap before, I stayed at a hotel, not guest house. The $20 rate sure seemed very reasonable for what you got. There is also inexpensive in house laundry service if needed.

Being around the Ly family was a joy. While there, there were some other terrific people so it made for a fun, warm environment. My friend and I went to the schools supported by the www.plf.org and continue to be impressed with what Ponheary and Lori are doing for the kids in Siem Reap.

The guest house is in a good location with restaurants near by---we especially enjoyed Star Rise for breakfast and Home Cocktail but there are also a couple of well reviewed Thai restuarants on the street. The Aspara market a block away has anything one would need.

I would absolutely stay at Seven Candles again and recommend to others. A colleague of mine had stayed at the guest house in June and was very impressed. I echo her sentiments.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with friends
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5  Thank travelamalia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2009

Having been recommended the guiding services of this family and spending 3 wonderful days visiting temples in and around Siem Reap with them, I spent my last 2 nights in Cambodia here. This guesthouse is spotlessly clean with big bedrooms and all the mod-cons, but has also paid attention to the small details - the bathroom had plenty of shelf space (as well as clearing up once and for all what to do with used toilet paper!) and there was a kettle with tea and coffee by the bed. On each floor, there was a lovely balcony with comfortable chairs, lots of plants, a computer and book exchange. Most guesthouses/hotels in Cambodia are western-owned and locally-run, but this is owned and run by a local family - it's good to know that tourist dollars are benefitting locals for a change.

Staying here also lets you experience the excellent work they're doing through the Ponheary Ly Foundation, www.theplf.org, to provide financial support to 5 local primary schools. The Foundation provides all school equipment and uniforms, a meal each day, subsidies for teachers salaries, bikes for those continuing to high school, and even solar panels to filter the e-coli out of the drinking water.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled solo
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4  Thank travellingKarrieG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2009

The service from Ponheary and her family was exceptional from before we arrived and until we returned home. All arrangements for room, guiding at Angkor with her brother Dara and pick-up from the boat were effortlessly put in place and everything worked like clockwork. The guesthouse is full of friendly family life and gives a unique opportunity to live in the same house as a family that worked themselves up from the streets to not only running their own geusthouse, but also run a charity that keeps 2000 children in school.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Dingen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2009

Seven Candles is a wonderful guest house that is operated by an amazing Cambodian family. I traveled to Cambodia to work with a local non-governmental organization and was looking for an apartment to rent when I happened upon Seven Candles. Having read positive reviews about the guest house online, I stopped by one afternoon to check things out. One brief conversation with Ponheary Ly (the Cambodian woman who runs the guest house) and a look at the rooms sold me on the accommodations. I was in Cambodia for over two months. While I didn't intend to stay in a guest house for the duration of my trip, the hospitality of the Ly family, the location of the guest house and the ambiance compelled me to call Seven Candles home for eight weeks.

I highly recommend Seven Candles and will stay there again if I travel to Siem Reap in the future. The bikes the guest house offers are another great asset. Seven Candles has some of the highest quality and best-maintenance bikes I've encountered, an important consideration when traveling to a city with little pedestrian traffic and no public transport.

Ponheary is also a renowned tour guide that speaks excellent English. I strongly recommend using her tour services.

And in response to the previous review... Guest houses in Siem Reap often charge $5-10 for transfer to/from the airport. I have a hard time believing that the van driver was conspiring with Seven Candles to collect a transport fee, especially for the small sum of $1. I would assume that his was an honest mistake and that he had forgotten his wallet as he claimed. Seven Candles never charged me for a service that wasn't provided and I was always happy with the rates I was offered.

If you want to stay at an excellent guest house that is Cambodian-run, well-priced, staffed by hospitable people, clean and superbly located then Seven Candles should be your first pick for accommodations.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled on business
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4  Thank Say2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2009

Stayed for 4 nights in this Guest House. Contrary to other commends here, the experience here is not 5 stars.

Some good points abt it:
- clean rooms
- clean sheets and pillows
- good water heater
- accessible location (abt 15 min walk to the pub street)

Some not so good points abt it:
- the host is quick to recommend tour packages to us. Stated a price initially for the whole package but include addtional charges after the tour.
- she is quite reluctant to provide us with additional information when we are not taking tour packages with them
- she claim that they never provide any free transfer for guest to the airport but they provide it out of good will to us. Upon entering the airport, the driver claimed that he forgot his wallet and ask us for USD1.00 for the entrance fee.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Moonston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2009

I recently spent two weeks at Seven Candles with my 11-year-old daughter and her friend. They were hesitant to stay at the guesthouse because it has no swimming pool and no restaurant, and until now, my daughter has only experienced quite luxurious places like the Peninsula hotels in Bangkok and Tokyo. Seven Candles was her first guesthouse experience, and she loved it. Within an hour of arrival they were convinced the choice was right - they had immediate friends in the Ly family children, and they were together every day from then on. Although it is possible to use a swimming pool at a nearby hotel for a small fee, they did not want to; instead they preferred to stay at home and hang out with the kids.

Seven Candles is a medium-sized guesthouse on Wat Bo Road in Siem Reap. There are several decent restaurants and a small supermarket in the immediate area, which is very convenient. It is a short tuk-tuk ride (or a long walk) to the Old Market area, and there is no tuk-tuk shortage: just step into the street and one will come along very soon.

Rooms at Seven Candles are large and very nicely decorated with photos and textiles. Hot water is available for showers, but we chose to use the "cold" water as it was rather warm and more refreshing than a hot shower in a hot place. Air conditioning was great in the room, cooling the room quickly and completely. Fresh towels were provided every day, which was very nice. Bottled water is also provided daily. The rooms all have refrigerators and cable TV.

The balconies on the second and third floors are great spots to relax. They are furnished with comfortable chairs from which you can watch the street below, which is interesting in and of itself. The second floor has a dining table which is great if you have dinner delivered as we did a couple of times. The third floor has a sofa and armchairs and a computer station you can use for internet.

Seven Candles is a guesthouse much like many others, but is also very, very special. At Seven Candles, we felt welcome and at home. We felt like we were part of the family. We ate together several times, and I am lucky enough to now know how to make Seven Candles Beef and Seven Candles Curry, two of the most delicious ways to eat beef I have ever experienced.

The Ly family, which owns Seven Candles, is lovely. Never have I felt more at home in a hotel or guesthouse. Leaving Seven Candles was like leaving home. We will certainly return.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank fish2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Seven Candles Guest House

Address: 0307 Wat Bo Road | Sala Kamreouk, Siem Reap 092848695, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Siem Reap Province > Siem Reap
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 507 B&Bs / Inns in Siem Reap
Price Range: $18 - $26 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Seven Candles Guest House 2*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Excellent location 8 minutes walk across river to Old Market. Good AC and fans, en-suite baths with hot water, cable TV, DVD players and free movie selection, mini fridge, free wifi, and free bikes. On-site laundry service, free airport transfer on arrival. Tour guides and drivers onsite. Convenience store on the corner. Good local restaurants up and down the street, nice local vibe and close to everything. Seven Candles is home to the Ponheary Ly Foundation and three generations of the Ly family. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
7 Candles Guest House
Seven Candles Guest House Hotel Siem Reap

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