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/.
- 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