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“Best month at Hariharalaya”

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Hariharalaya Meditation Retreat Centre
Certificate of Excellence
Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best month at Hariharalaya”
Reviewed January 8, 2014 via mobile

I truly had one of the best months of my life at Hariharalaya. I entered the student program December 10th and stayed for one month. The area alone is peaceful and beautiful and the experience at the retreat was life changing. I learned so much about my self and met so many inspirational people. I enjoyably participated in every class offered. The yoga classes greatly improved my flexibility and strength. The meditation guidance was so helpful and my head became so much more clear during the month. My posture has improved as well! I never imagined I could be so happy staying in one remote area for 28 days straight but it was easy for me there. I even fasted and was in silence for 3 days in a row to improve my self control and was guided and supported by the staff and fellow guests.

Joel is a great teacher and leader and I was amazed by his knowledge and accomplishments. I suggest getting to know him well as he has a lot of insight but also is easy to talk to as he can relate to your experiences.

Claire, a yoga teacher and massage guru was one of the warmest people I have ever met. Her classes were amazing and her treatments are unbelievable. I had a two hour session where she gave me a variety of massages and yoga instruction. So good!

Amy is the other yoga teacher and nutritionist. Her and Claire's classes complement each other so well. She definitely opened my hips! She also has great tips about nutrition and is available to talk to on a regular basis for any questions.

Annie the acupuncture specialist is hilarious and will for sure put a smile on your face with her treatments, music, and everyday attitude. Her story is beautiful and she really makes you appreciate life and look at things in another perspective.

Amber started out in the student program with me and now works there so she is super insightful and easy to talk to about what you are going through and shes just really cool in general.

The Cambodian staff is friendly and the food makes you believe you could be vegan forever no problem. They do so much and improve the center on a daily basis.

I saved the best for last! Sean the manager and magician is a reason to visit this retreat in itself. I was overly obsessed with the magic shows first of all. I could have watched one every day and been more than happy. He is also a genuinely wonderful person and friend. He really cares about Hariharalaya and wants everyone to get the best experience possible. He is supportive and made me laugh everyday. He is so easy to talk to and is extremely giving. He has so much to offer and so many skills I didn't even know existed like body language communication. He is down to earth and can communicate on whatever level you need.

I think everyone could benefit from time spent at Hariharalaya and suggest that if you make that wonderful decision you get to know all the staff and participate in everything they have to offer. I plan to visit this retreat again in my travels and look forward to that time.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Jemurray3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lyon, France
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2014

I stayed at Harihalaya for 5 days. It was a good experience, I improved my meditation technique, which was my intention (there are 3 "pure" meditation sessions per day, plus additional "light" meditation sessions such as Yoga Nidra or meditation with music), as well as an intensive Saturday meditiation day. However, please know your expectations - this is not the place for yoga (only one session per day and no help with yoga postures, as would happen in a normal yoga class and is especially frustrating for beginners). Anything else/any additional support in yoga or meditation you will have to pay for - so make no mistake, this is a business (and you will be constantly "encouraged" to pay for additional sessions, ie private yoga lessons, acupuncture, etc) which is annoying (please tone this down a bit!). That said it's a good place to get away and relax either at the start or end of your trip (to be combined with your Cambodia trip, but not exclusively as you won't learn much about Cambodia here, as it's quite isolated)...next to the village of Rulous (so you can get out and not just isolate yourself just with Westerners!), the people of which are especially friendly. Also a local market nearby. Food was decent - but not nearly as good as the Cambodian food you can get anywhere in the country...however, vegan and a good "detox" so to speak...all in all a good "taster" place on the road to more serious meditation retreats such as Vipsanna or to learn about new things, such as pilates or acupuncture. The price is right, too. A good experience, and one I will miss!

Room Tip: I chose a double room and found it more than adequate.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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1 Thank tinkerbeal2002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hariharalaya, Manager at Hariharalaya Meditation Retreat Centre, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
I am glad that you were able to learn and improve your meditation while staying at Hariharalaya. Hariharalaya is a center for the awakening of consciousness, which embraces integral yoga - asanas, breathing, meditation, devotion, service, learning, diet and the integration of all aspects of life. We offer one class of yoga asanas per day (three times a week we also have afternoon yoga classes). We have 3 trained yoga teachers on staff, who assist in the learning process and are always around to answer questions.

We offer at least 5 hours of scheduled classes per day. Most days there are even more with community activities like baking, kombucha making, drum circles and music, movie nights and other sessions as well.

Here at Hariharalaya the focus is on developing a personal practice that you can take with you and continue when you go. This requires personal responsibility and everyone in the community is encouraged to do as much “yoga” as they want or need in addition to the fixed daily schedule.

Of course sessions like acupuncture, thai massage, private yoga consultations and detoxes cost extra, as well as trips and excursions. Our affordable and reasonable prices give people from all walks of life the opportunity to join us. We provide tremendous value with over 5 hours of programs per day, 3 healthy vegan meals and accommodation all included in the prices.

If you are looking for a real experience of yoga and meditation in a supportive community of like-minded people, Hariharalaya is the place for you.
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Siem Reap, Cambodia
2 reviews
Reviewed January 5, 2014 via mobile

My daughter (18) and I (52) spent just 5 days at happy happy Hariharalaya. It was a week that I have been waiting for for 30 years! Full of: living in tune with nature - basic but very comfortable, vegan but so very delicious, private & personal but also so communal and friendly, challenging but fun, guided but free, reinforcing yet at your own pace and desire. I loved staying in the harmonious Cambodian countryside with the warming hum of Cambodian life: a chorus of sounds: roosters cock-a-doodling, kids laughing, oxen mooing, chanting and communal celebrations floating across the fields, birds singing- the feeling of a culture in flow. So much was available (at very low cost)when I felt the need for more than blissful peaceful time relaxing in the hammock outside our shared room (large and spacious) or solitary contemplation in the tree house/platform (with view to float off into). Choice of activities included: massage with brilliant shiatsu masseuse, Liap; Chinese medicine and acupuncture with energetic empathetic endearing Annie; extensive investigative natural nutrition consult with lovely passionate Amy, who also takes the best, guided yet continually flowing "universal" yoga morning sessions; massage and/or individual yoga consult with dear talented Claire; Sean's very clever, very hilarious magic sessions which led to valuable memory and communication skills sharing; music "jams" in the music hut, creative play in the art room; half day trips to local floating village including choice of paddle in long canoe type boats amongst nature - so wow; early morning cycle(my time choice) to local 150yr old real produce market; hidden temple visit which others really enjoyed, just about anything and everything Cambodian except the hustle (- all easily organised and cheap). Run mostly by founder Joel, 3 times daily meditation for me was a great building foundation for my continuing practice. Gentle sharing from each of the teachers/staff who all led meditation sessions was informative and encouraging. I also personally enjoyed listening to Joel's daily half hour dharma talks where he excellently explored the concept of finding peace within......
Though I missed my first Christmas with family in 52 years, the joy peace and happiness I felt in this place was the most beautiful (dare I say the best) Christmas gift I have ever received. I am so grateful. Thank you Hariharalaya - Namaste!

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
Thank CarolynR156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

Well where to start.... I am thoroughly shocked that there are so few bad reviews of this place., especially as there were many people unhappy when we were there. We paid $310 for two of us to stay here for 5 nights. The bungalow we stayed in was little more than a garden shed, with a bed that was a couple of inches bigger than a standard single. We didn't expect luxury so got on with it, though we're a little disappointed considering the price. Then came meal times; what can only be described as the blandest most tasteless food I have ever had. It is very healthy, but that's no reason not to have any taste. Every meal breakfast lunch and dinner consisted of bean sprouts in a watery soup, with plain rice for lunch and dinner. There was only one choice, so it was like it or lump it. There was rarely bananas available to snack on, despite what is advertised, so we spent most of our time there very hungry. Nearly everyone there had diarrhoea whilst we were there, except those not eating because of detox, suggesting the food was making people ill. The detox by the way costs $120 to do nothing but drink coconut water, with one or two services that cost a max of $15 to them. A complete scam, like the rest of this place purely designed to rake in the money.

At night it was unbearably noisy, apart from dog barking constantly and cockerels crowing all night (which you pretty much expect in rural Asia) the locals next door pump loud music through industrial sized speakers, starting at 4am. Between the noise and tiny bed we nearly slept. On speaking to the staff they confirmed this happened all the time. The music then carried on during the day, which makes a bit of a joke of meditation times.

Most of the staff there were great, especially Annie who does acupuncture, and I heard that the girl who does massage was excellent. We were a bit put out that on our introduction we were told specifically that alcohol and drugs were not allowed on the property, and then half an hour later saw the same person smoking a spliff - seems they don't all practice what they preach.

The funniest part for us was 'karma yoga'. They feed you this rubbish about performing selfless acts to get you to do the cleaning up.... They're charging people to clean up. Amazing. It seemed to us that many people there were brainwashed by the whole place - of course to complain is against all their teachings, and it is designed to make you feel like there's something wrong with you if you don't love the place, so people convince themselves it is great. From a psychological perspective it was fascinating, and I feel I have a greater understanding of how cults are formed.

Considering much of the teachings there evolved from Buddhism, we found it a little sour that the owner of this place is raking in over $1000 a day, with v little overheads, and yet has the nerve to preach how we should all release ourselves from greed and desire.

Basically we thought this place was a bit of a money making sham, preying on people who are looking for a bit of support/direction in their lives. If you decide to go, go with very low expectations. The classes etc are pretty ok, but the food and accommodation are abysmal.

Room Tip: The private room are bigger and cleaner than the bungalows.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank traveller1112013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviewed January 2, 2014

I am so grateful for finding this place, everyone should get an opportunity to go there and experience everything it has to offer. Looking for a place to relax and get close to nature? Hariharalaya is located in a beautiful village with lush trees and plants. Chickens and geese will be your companions during the stay. Always wanted to meditate and learn yoga, but didn't know where to start? Joel and Sean are great in explaining meditation and the way of doing it. Amy is young, but her yoga classes are really good and she is passionate about what she does. Tried to start eating healthy, but food seemed bland? Hariharalaya vegan dishes are so tasty, you will never want to go back to meat. And you can get their cookbook, if you would like to surprise your friends and family with cruelty free, delicious food. If you've got some pain in your body, resident acupuncturist Annie will be able to sort it out, and she will give you a free injection of self-love, which I found very helpful. She is very inspiring person. I went there in order to escape from "the cruel world" and find help to deal with it, and I'd say I succeeded. Beautiful environment, positive people with positive attitude and daily discipline - you will find there. Hariharalaya's integral parts of daily schedule are: meditation 3 times a day, yoga every morning, sometimes in afternoon, chanting every morning, dhamma talks from Joel - the founder of the place. If you are not in the mood for socializing, just wear the silence badge whenever you want and no one will say a word to you or think you are quiet weirdo :) There is a lot to say about Hariharalaya, but one should just go there and see for themselves. Namaste.

Room Tip: Depends on what you are looking for: Private huts are great for privacy and good for couples. There...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Theronova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
38 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2014

I loved my stay at Hariharalaya. The staff here, Annie, Claire, Amy, and everyone else are so sweet, kind, and knowledgeable. The morning yoga classes were my favourite part of the day and something I have continued with since. The vegan food is plentiful, tasty, and filling. There are many activities through out the week to keep you occupied, I would recommend the hidden temple and the floating village tours. I also loved all the critters running around the property which included geese, roosters, turkeys, cows, and a stingray. Please be aware if you are a light sleeper you may want to bring ear plugs because there are many weddings and funerals that blast loud music through the whole village starting at about 3 am until about 12 am on a daily basis.

Room Tip: The bamboo huts are amazing.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank 19pixie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hariharalaya, Manager at Hariharalaya Meditation Retreat Centre, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Thank you for your positive feedback. I am glad that you loved your time with us.

The amazing thing about Hariharalaya is that here you get the opportunity to experience and learn about yoga and meditation while living in a real spiritual community, as well as the chance to experience life in a traditional Cambodian village. Part of the charm and appeal of life in a Cambodian village is being exposed to the natural environment and celebrations. Wedding season last for a few months every year, during which time there are occasional weddings. It is customary in Cambodia to play tradition Khmer music starting around 5 am on the day of the ceremony in order to honor the ancestors and spirits. It usually only lasts for a few hours.

Blessed journeys! Keep up the meditation practice.

Sean (Manager)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

I had the best 5 days, the food was amazing, the treatments were great. Annie- the acupuncturist was amazing.. I have a huge fear of needles so to try it was a big deal for me and she was great at explaining how it all worked and the treatment was lovely and relaxing and not at all painful. Afterwards I think I felt the most relaxed I have ever been!
I met the best people on my week and it was a very friendly vibe due to the excellent staff and social events they arranged.
Just wished I had stayed for longer!

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank sarah j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hariharalaya Meditation Retreat Centre

Property: Hariharalaya Meditation Retreat Centre
Address: Tnal Trung, Bakong, Siem Reap 17715, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Siem Reap Province > Siem Reap
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 267 Specialty Lodging in Siem Reap
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hariharalaya is an oasis of peace and transformation located in a quiet Khmer farming village near the Ancient Temples of Angkor (just outside of Siem Reap). We have 7 comfortable rooms in a traditional Franco-Khmer wooden mansion, 5 private retreat huts overlooking the fields and pastures, as well as a shared dorm and a private family house. We offer daily yoga and meditation classes, as well as regular meditation and creativity retreats. Our rates are ALL INCLUSIVE - including yoga and meditation every morning, meditation every evening and 3 delicious and fresh vegan meals a day. We also have a wide range of healing services as well as spiritual and health courses. ... more   less 

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