When it comes to Cambodia, Siem Reap, which has the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, first comes to mind for most travellers. However, we would be missing out on a major piece of Cambodia’s history if we did not explore Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Phnom Penh tells a spine-chilling history during the Khmer Rouge’s leadership, where an estimated two million people were murdered.
To start off your exploration of the history of Cambodia, you would want to check into one of the newest and stylish hotels in the heart of Phnom Penh. The Sun & Moon Urban Hotel is conveniently located in the Daun Pehh district, a centralised location, so you could walk to the major attractions such as the Royal Palace and the weekend night market.
Be greeted by the friendly staff
You are promised to be greeted by the friendly staff upon arrival regardless of the time you are checking in (note that check in is from 2 pm), thus the hotel really lives up to its name — Sun & Moon. The staff are always friendly and polite and check-in is extremely swift. If you are checking in after sunset, you would be amazed by the lit-up lobby of the hotel, which is modern and stylish. The lobby also houses a bar called UNPLUG where you could grab a drink in the evening.
Prices start as low as 225,000 KHR (55 USD) per night for the basic deluxe rooms, which is affordable for anyone preferring to stay within the city center. You should know that US dollars are accepted openly in Cambodia, but you may want to have bills in small denominations. Do also note that your change will be returned in local currency.
Upon checking in at the hotel, the porter will show you to your comfortable guestrooms located on floors 2 to 8 of the hotel.
Artistic guestroom with vibrant colors
Each guestroom is designed differently but each is promised to be infused with a touch of art and vibrant colors. The guestroom that I was checked into was beautifully designed in an orange theme. The room is spacious and comes with a comfortable couch by the window where you could laze to read a book or watch TV. The wall by the study desk is decorated with pictures containing quotes from celebrities. My room featured quotes by Minions, which was really adorable and creative!
The bathroom is extremely clean and comes with basic toiletries such as a toothbrush and toothpaste. If you require anything else, you may contact the reception and they will send it to you promptly. I liked how the toilet and the shower are separated as well.
Room service is great and you’ll come back to a clean room after a long day out. Two bottles of drinking water are provided each day but if you need more, there is a mini-mart just outside the hotel for you to purchase drinks or snacks. There is a small fridge so you may want to buy some local beer from the mini-mart and let it chill. Beer lovers will be delighted to know that beer costs as little as 2,500 KHR (0.60 USD) per can!
Wi-Fi service is free as well and can be connected very easily with your room number and last name while you are in the hotel. If you need to stay connected 24/7, you can purchase a local data sim card at the airport outside of the arrival hall. There are 3 or 4 telecom counters but most of them are about the same price at around 3 USD (12,226.05 KHR) for 2 GB for up to 7 days. Bigger plans, depending on your needs, are available too.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast
Breakfast is complimentary with all room reservations. The buffet spread is served daily from 6.30 to 10.30 am in the cafe near the lobby.
The spread is not as overly generous as a boutique hotel’s, but you could order freshly cooked eggs of your choice as well as traditional noodle soups with a choice of seafood or chicken. Fresh fruit and cereals are also available for those who would like a light breakfast.
The fresh coffee and tea served will help kick start your day ahead! For non-caffeine drinkers, fruit juice is available, too.
Chill at the breathtaking skybar - Cloud 9
The skybar, located on level 9, is probably one of the most iconic features of the Sun & Moon Hotel. The Cloud 9 skybar not only attracts hotel guests but also locals who wish to chill in the chic modern bar, which offers a view of the city.
The swimming pool is also located near the skybar, so grab a drink while you relax in or by the pool.
If you wish to chill out with music, DJs are often playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Alcoholic drinks are generally not expensive in Cambodia, even at Cloud 9 where you could get a drink for 24,480.90 KHR (6 USD) or so. This is definitely more expensive than what you paid at the mini-mart but hey, you are paying for the ambience at this gorgeous skybar plus the excellent service of the hotel staff that is worth every penny!
Minutes away from the night market
You can spot the brightly-lit hotel building from afar with its changing colors. Besides being close to major attractions in Phnom Penh, Sun & Moon Hotel is also walking distance to the only night market. The night market starts its operations from 6 pm so with help of Google Maps, you can find your way easily in less than 10 minutes. Along the way, you would pass by local pharmacies and shops that are rather interesting to take a peek at their products.
The night market is very popular with the locals; you’ll see ladies buying shoes and clothing. You will also spot some tourists who wish to try out some local dishes. There are several food stalls selling the same food and you can put small items, such as fish cakes and squid, into a basket and they would fry them for you. Do also try Cambodia’s traditional noodle soup, Kuy Teav, which is available at most stalls. After dinner, you may want to look out for the one and only coconut ice cream stall as dessert. That would certainly complete your dinner on a happy note before proceeding back to the hotel.
You may want to note that one part of the streets consists of many bars, which can be slightly rowdy after dark. It is generally safe to be walking on the streets but women may want to avoid this area if you are alone after midnight.
A perfect choice for travellers
An affordable accommodation in the city center makes it a perfect choice for all, regardless of if you are there as a solo-traveller or with your family.
Sun & Moon Urban Hotel will leave you with good memories of Phnom Penh with its chic and stylish designs in this city with a sad history.