After a long awaited final semester at UB, I finally went on my “graduation trip”. This time round, it was slightly more different as we attempted to travel around Cambodia & Vietnam in 10 days on a backpacking trip.
Instead of living on a suitcase, we had to fit all our barang barang into a backpack and explore the cities with lesser comfort and little luxury. Of course, we packed along our adventurous minds and eventually stepped foot on this amazing journey.
It takes approximately 2 hours 10 mins to reach Siem Reap and we were excited to see what the city has to offer.
Unlike Singapore’s Changi Airport, Siem Reap Airport is relatively less busy and is of a smaller scale. Corruption is rather rampant in Cambodia and I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. When we were waiting for the immigration clearance, I saw the immigration officer (possibly) asking for money from a tourist. He, then, stealthily reached into his pocket and wedged a note or two into his passport before passing it to her. She was grinning from ear to ear afterwards. Thankfully, I did not have any issues with the officer and managed to cross into the country with much ease.
We had initially arranged for an airport transfer with our hostel but they seemed to have forgotten about us. It would take another 40 mins before they sent a driver here so we decided to proceed for a taxi straight to our airport for 5 USD.
Unlike our previous travels, I wanted to have a ‘feel’ of what it is like to stay in a hostel. Hence, I was staying in a female dormitory while J stayed in the mixed dorm. The pictures of Funky Flashpacker on Agoda attracted me as it seemed like an energetic and clean place with all-rounded facilities.
They say, first impression counts. But that was not very reliant for us as the stay at Funky changed that impression. Even before we entered the hostel, we had already heard loud music thumping and we were greeted by a scene of swimsuit-clad backpackers socialising in the pool.
Check-in was fast and the staff spoke good English. We were then brought to our bed. The female dormitory has 10 beds in it and 2 en-suite toilets.
There is also air-conditioning and fans in the room and allocated spaces below the beds for you to put your belongings.
At night, the hostel had a whole new different vibe. There is a rooftop bar where people can socialize or enjoy the night breeze while sipping on some Mojito.
The first night’s stay was horrendous for me as the air-conditioning did not seem to work and I was still trying to adapt to a new environment. The second night was better as I switched my sleeping position around.
In the morning, there would be chanting going on in the temple nearby causing some disturbance. Afternoon naps were troubling as there would be loud music blasting by the poolside and the rooms weren’t exactly soundproof. Also, the cleaners tended to hang around in my room to chat while cleaning the room and changing the bed sheets.
However, you could see that they would put in a great amount of effort trying to clean the room as they would change the bedsheets of each bed, mop the floor and wash the toilets every day without fail.
Aside from the noise issue, we had generally no problem with Funky Flashpacker Hostel. This hostel was newly built in 2013 and facilities are very well kept. The shower heads were strong and the toilets were clean. There was also abundance of toilet rolls around in the toilet so there is no need to worry.
We did not use the pool as we did not exactly feel too comfortabl with the amount of people around. Instead of calling it a swimming pool, I would rather describe it as a socializing pool where you can meet a great deal of people.
The food takes a long time to arrive though. It would be great if they can really cut down on the time taken for guests to wait for their food. We once waited for a good 20-25 minutes for our burger.
Funky Flashpacker is about 400m to pub street and costs about 1-2 usd for a tuk tuk ride. There are eateries, a convenience stall and a cafe nearby. The cafe offers $1 for each scoop of ice-cream which makes for simple sweet treat.
Overall, we loved the vibe and exuberance of the hostel. No doubt that it can have issues with noise, but we truly enjoyed our 2-nights stay. The location, facilities and helpful crew made the experience a positive and pleasant one.
Funky Flashpacker Hostel:
8/10: Funky Lane, City of Siem Reap, Cambodia, Siem Reap Area, Siem Reap, Cambodia
$4.88* USD per night inclusive of taxes and booking fees (via Agoda)
*Price varies from time to time