I found Chaya after roaming the streets after my bus ride from Siem Reap, and while at first I was a bit sketched out by the owner meeting me out on the street and telling me not to walk any further because his place was the best, after 2 nights I have to admit the place is not half-bad, and actually better than that.
I first took a basic room with fan for $5 because all the forms were full. It was basic, had a fridge that didn't work (I didn't need it), and everything was clean. The next day, as promised, they moved me to a dorm room for $3 and if anyone else moved in they told me we'd split the price equally (so it'd be $1.50 room with 2 people, $1 each with $3). No real good place to lock your stuff in the room but with no one else there I wasn't bothered.
In terms of security, I noticed at least 5 people at all times of the day and night walking around with walkie-talkies and sitting on chairs in the hallways. Made me feel very good about safety and leaving my stuff in the rooms.
I wouldn't call the staff rude as much as they are indifferent. They want to make money, and helping you plan out your trip does nothing for them. Instead they want to pass you off to the tuk tuk drivers who pay commission to stay in the lobby. Not a crazy idea in my opinion. And when I did approach them the right way, I was able to chat with the staff, and even the owner who told me about his philosophy of opening a no nonsense hotel. And that's exactly what I think Chaya is.
The tuk tuk thing actually worked out great for me, and if you're planning to visit Battambang I would higly reccomend my moto driver Tha. You can email him at Tha_phatroTha@hotmail.com or call him at 012 857 686. Or if you're at Chaya just ask for him. He's an amazingly nice local who works in the rice fields but bought an old, 2 person moto to help make money for his family whenever it hasn't rained enough. He helped me plan my trip and was a great driver, took me to some other bonus spots I didn't even ask for, and anytime I wanted to stop to take a picture or check something out on the side of the road, his response was "Please!" since he really loves people who take an interest in his city. He'll also try to explain to you the history of everywhere you visit as much as he can (his English is fairly good), but be prepared to give his old moto a break by walking up some of the steeper parts to get to Sampouv. Meeting Tha definitely made my trip in Battambang.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chhaya Hotel is located in the heart of Battambang city, quiet, comfortable and safe, a few minutes walk to Central Market. All staffs are friendly, intimate with English and french speaking. We offer a free transportation from bus or boat station to our hotel . room start from 3$, 5$, 7$ ,12$ Dormitory available! * Selling & Booking Boat,bus, Taxi ticket to every where * Tour Trip around Battambang,with good English speaking driver/Guide.(good price) * Bike tours with good English speaking guide (good price) * Vietnam Visa Service. ... more less
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