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Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap.

March-July 2020.

I’ve always thought of accommodation as a somewhat peculiar and contentious aspect of travel. Some of us view the decision of where to stay as simply a place to lay our heads down after a long day’s exploring. After all, travel is chiefly about the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and unusual situations we find ourselves in, right? For others though, travel represents a rare opportunity to pamper oneself. Thus it can often be a case of: Hell yeah, I want those fluffy pillows, a jacuzzi in the bathroom, that balcony overlooking the lake.

Bar Four Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool

At the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool. May 2019.

Lord only knows I’ve experienced a broad range of accommodation types over the past twenty three years. I’ve slummed it in the shittiest of shitty hostels. I’ve rented crumbly old characterful apartments, enjoyed some wonderfully quirky themed hotels and experienced proper luxury here and there along the way. Choosing my favourite hotel, however, would be a tricky one. That said, today’s article features what would have to be a strong contender.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

During our first three months in Siem Reap, Sladja and I had had a tough time with our various homes from home. Partly down to the rough and ready nature of Cambodia. But also because we found ourselves in town during the outbreak of the global pandemic. Many of you already know those stories from my recent articles on The Foster Apartments and Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

At the end of March that year we rolled the dice once more with a stay at another so-called boutique hotel. This one was called Apsara Greenland, an exquisitely crafted garden compound home to a cluster of tasteful rooms and larger suites.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

The garden grounds of Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Pretty and peaceful.

It was just another sweltering afternoon when Sladja and I strolled through Apsara’s entrance gates and thought: Well, this is lovely. In fact, you could have heard a pin drop as we took the main path; admiring the immaculate lawns, mango trees and herb bushes. By the time the manager showed us one of Apsara’s stylish double rooms, I understood that in normal circumstances a month here would have set us back a pretty penny.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Siem Reap

But these were not normal circumstances, of course. Siem Reap’s tourist and expat population had scarpered, en masse, back to their home countries. As a result, the manager, a softly-spoken man called Mr. So, was keen to offer us a great deal for a monthlong stay. We paid him in cash and moved in on a Monday morning, full of hope that our Siem Reap adventure had reached a positive turning point.

Double bedroom Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Our double room at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Apsara Greenland opened in 2008 as Villa Kiara under the ownership of a French businessman called Mr. Laurent. In 2018 a local entrepreneur, Ms Tan Lijing, took over the place. It was she who redesigned the hotel into what it is today and changed the name to Apsara.

Buddha statue Siem Reap Cambodia.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Lijing and her team did a great job with the rooms. While not exactly spacious, we found our new digs both tasteful and comfortable. The bed, for example, was surprisingly springy. The air con thumbs-uppingly icy. The WIFI, in those early days at least, good enough for me to deliver my online classes. Best of all, we had our own cosy patch of the garden, with a table and chairs overlooking the communal pool.

Living the Dream in Siem Reap.

Poolside Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Having that pool on our doorstep felt like such a privilege. Typically we’d wake up, have coffee and a pastry, then take a dip. If world events surrounding COVID were stressing us out (as they often were), we would jump in the pool and swim the anxiety away. Moreover, we became quite fond of evening swims after classes. Sometimes during a heavy downpour, which was a lot of fun.

An afternoon dip Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

It was at the pool that we first met Apsara Greenland’s only other resident, a Greek man from Cephalonia by the name of Makis. Like us, he’d gotten himself stuck in Cambodia and was now just going to ride it out until the world reopened. Makis was really friendly and we soon became accustomed to his “hello my friends!” each morning when we emerged from the room.

Riding out the global pandemic in Siem Reap Cambodia

Makis.

As much as we loved The Greek, he admittedly drove us a bit mad with his phone calls. Most evenings he’d sit on the balcony with a cigar and a beer, calling god only knows who on speakerphone. But instead of talking like a normal person, he would absolutely BELLOW so that his voice reverberated around every single corner of the compound. Then, the next day, he might stop by our room with a cake he’d bought us from a local bakery. What can you do?

Stranded in Cambodia during COVID

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

At the far end of the garden, opposite our room, sat a raised gazebo with a lovely vantage point of the compound. This is where I would come to blog before the day’s classes kicked in. Sometimes we’d take long lazy breakfasts there too, with coffee, juice and cereal bought from a supermarket.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Breakfast at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap

Breakfast with a view.

On other days we let the cook at Apsara take care of breakfast. Looking back, I can’t believe the kitchen stayed open for the three of us. But we were sure glad it did, as in that first month we regularly ordered their pancakes and fruit platters.

Pancakes and fruit platters Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

For lunches and dinners, the menu was somewhat limited. They had a few standard western meals (burgers and pizzas), though naturally it was with their Khmer dishes that they excelled. With no cooking facilities in our room, we’d stroll over to the empty restaurant and order dinner. Until, that is, we discovered the outstanding Krousar Cafe and their reliable delivery service.

Khmer cuisine at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Dinner in the garden.

Our favourite Apsara creations were definitely their creamy red and green curries, which came in beef, chicken and veggie modes. They arrived served with salad, steamed rice and a glass of water, though sometimes we’d help ourselves to a beer from the cabinet by the counter.

Khmer curries Siem Reap Cambodia.

Dinner time at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

We’ll always be thankful to Apsara for the safe little cocoon it gave us away from the stresses of the pandemic. Within its protective walls, I built up my teaching schedule and we began our detailed guide on the cafes and restaurants of Siem Reap.

Our Pandemic Hideout.

Blogging about Siem Reap

Rockin’ the Apsara bathrobe.

Here and there, our attention would wander because of daily encounters with the local wildlife. Little frogs hopped around all over the place. Under our chairs, near the pool and in the grass. One evening we returned home from a local restaurant to find a sizeable fella attached to the knob of our door! Uh…

Frog on a door Siem Reap Cambodia

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

There were also snails and lizards aplenty. And delightful yellow canaries bringing sweet birdsong into the Apsara garden. Oh, and a wild kitten we named Dumbsy who I had to rescue, numerous times, from the fence he kept getting stuck on.

Jungle garden life Siem Reap Cambodia.

From time to time, I’d embark on morning jogs down the dusty, surrounding side streets. More often than not with my headphones on, listening to the excellent Guardian Football Weekly Podcast.

Palm Street in Siem Reap Cambodia

Palm Street, Siem Reap.

During these jogs I’d get fascinating glimpses into authentic everyday life. For the most part locals were hiding out at home away from the dangers of the virus. But on some days I got to say hello to a grandmother selling bread on a street corner. Or wave to children playing outside their houses.

Exploring the Neighbourhood.

Children playing in the street Siem Reap Cambodia

Somewhere in Siem Reap’s Sala Kamreuk neighbourhood.

As the weeks rolled by, we gradually got to know the staff at Apsara. They far outnumbered the actual guests, even though a few people booked in for brief stays. Mr. So, the manager, was incredibly kind and helpful to us. He went to great lengths to ensure the shaky WIFI kept working. This included the eventual installation of a separate router outside our door!

Furthermore, he took us to see immigration one afternoon, where an officer assured Sladja that her expired tourist visa would not be a problem. We also really liked Mr. So’s cheerful deputy, Kim, a fresh-faced young man with a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality.

The management team at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

The lovely Mr. So (left) and Mr. Kim.

A couple of times a week Mr. So’s wife and son would visit. His boy, Philip, was always so mesmerised by Sladja and I. To the point where he would come right up to the gazebo where I was working and just stare at me for minutes on end. “Hello!” I’d invariably say, but he would just hold his gaze soundlessly. A flicker of a smile threatening to break out across his lips.

Khmer boy Siem Reap Cambodia.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Elsewhere, I was fond of Phon, who worked behind the bar and served any dishes we ordered. Sophal meanwhile was the chef, a guy we nicknamed El Jefe because he was learning Spanish. Veasna, the handyman, could usually be found carrying out repairs or raking leaves. And then there was Bunnat, a somewhat solemn man who I often caught asleep at reception, where nothing much ever happened.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Meet the staff Apsara Greenland Boutique Siem Reap.

Top left: Veasna. Bottom left: Sophal. Top right, Phon. Bottom right, Bunnat.

According to Mr. So, nearly all staff members come from poor villages in the countryside near Siem Reap. One of the owner’s key recruitment policies is providing training opportunities for the disadvantaged. What’s more, a percentage of Apsara’s service charges gets shared among staff members. And a part of the overall profits goes to supporting local charities through donations.

The family apartment at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Entrance to our family suite, Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

We were so happy with life at Apsara, Sladja and I decided to stay for a second month. This time we were able to negotiate an upgrade to one of the family suites. It was still just one room, but double the size. Much to our delight, the bathroom also had a sizeable tub! Perfect for a hot soak with beers after an evening movie.

Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

But the sweetest thing about our new living quarters had to be the private patio and pool outside our back door. Whenever we fancied a swim, we now had a choice. The large communal pool near the front door? Or our own private pool out the back door? Truly, it felt like we were living the dream.

The Family Suite.

Private pool Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

And yet, who would have known that this luxury could come with such terrifying moments? Sladja and I were in our room one afternoon resting when, quite suddenly, we heard a loud SPLASH! in the garden pool. Out we went to investigate and… OH MY GOD! …. there was a long, green snake launching itself out of the water and up one of the palm trees.

We were stunned, not sure if it had fallen from the tree or scaled the fence into our garden. Either way, we both thanked our lucky stars that we hadn’t been in the pool at the moment it landed.

Another day, deeply engrossed in a movie, we spotted a large cockroach scurrying along the side of the bed. Aaaaaaagh! I did my best to scoop it onto the floor where I planned to deal with it. But unfortunately it got away, escaping down what we presumed was the same little hole it had emerged from.

Having reported it to the staff, Mr. Kim, Veasna and the cleaner came to the room where they proceeded to dismantle the bed. They subsequently found and killed a number of resident cockroaches!

Hunting for cockroaches Siem Reap Cambodia

Who you gonna call? “Cockroachbusters!”

I’ll certainly never forget the mental red ant infestation either. I was back up on the gazebo one afternoon photo editing for a blog when Sladja said, “Uh… Leighton”. My eyes following her pointed finger, I turned to see an absolute swarm of red ants on one of the main pillars.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Red ant infestation Siem Reap Cambodia.

Oh dear god, no.

Luckily Sophal was on hand to eliminate them. Arriving with a tube of bug spray, we took turns in doing what needed to be done so that Sophal could take a break from the godawful smell that enveloped the gazebo.

Dealing with red ants in Siem Reap.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

During that second month we made friends with a new long term guest, Larry T Ward from Tucson, Arizona. With his husky voice, twinkly eyes, silver hair and a billion and one entertaining tales, we liked Larry immediately. And it was impossible not to marvel at what a wonderful life he’d lived.

A certified jack of all trades, Larry has worked as a family therapist, a seminar promoter and Hollywood agent. He is also a published author, having written a biography on his close friend Noel Neill, the first actress to play the Superman character Lois Lane. Like me he has also lived in and travelled all around China, so we were never short of things to chat about.

The American author Larry T Ward.

Eats and anecdotes with Larry at Viva! Restaurant in Siem Reap.

We ended up staying at Apsara for 4 happy months. By the end of July we felt comfortable enough with Cambodia’s limited COVID situation to embark on a new adventure. During those last weeks Sladja and I celebrated our first joint birthdays together. Regular readers may recall the gorgeous birthday cake we ordered from Krousar Cafe. What I didn’t mention in that article was that we decided to share it with the staff as a thank you for taking such good care of us.

Cake for All!

Thank you to the staff at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

It remains a lovely memory for us both, the team taking a break from work to enjoy their respective wedges of cake. The below photo also serves as a lovely reminder of the cleaner, a kind woman who touched us deeply when she cried on the day we left during a goodbye hug with Sladja. That’s her sitting down against the door, how I wish we had found out her name.

birthday cake for the staff at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

If we had surprised the staff that day, Mr. So and Mr. Kim also succeeded in catching us off guard by giving us birthday presents. We opened our packages to discover that we were now the proud owners of some traditional Cambodian krama. This checkered garment, often red and white, can be used as a scarf or bandana. Martial arts fighters even use it on their fists when engaging in traditional Bokator fights.

Krama the traditional Cambodian scarf.

Have krama, will travel.

It was a bittersweet morning the day we said goodbye to Apsara. We were leaving behind a home and city that we were really going to miss. Loading our bags into the waiting taxi, we took one last look at the lush jungle garden. The Greek was waving from the balcony. The cleaner had disappeared to freshen up her tear-stained face. Mr. So shook my hand vigorously as we all wished each other well with the challenges ahead.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel.

Where to stay Siem Reap.

So long, farewell…

And then we were in our chariot, skidding away from Palm Street. Dust flying up behind us and obscuring the hotel’s entrance gates. We were off to the next leg of our Cambodian exploits, and couldn’t help but wonder what shenanigans awaited us in the city of Kampot.

2022 Highs and Lows a travel blogger's end of year report

“To Kampot!”

Update January 2023: It’s impossible to overstate how delighted we are that Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel is still going strong nearly two and a half years after our stay. While many of the staff members we knew (including Mr. So) have departed, we see that their online reviews remain glowing. We wish them all the best. To get in touch, why not drop them a line, either on their main website or Facebook page.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

Take a look at my exhaustive overview of What to See and Do in Siem Reap.

You can also read my guide to Siem Reap’s excellent cafe, restaurant and bar scene: Where to Eat and Drink Siem in Reap.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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73 Comments

  • wetanddustyroads

    Now, that’s what I call a boutique hotel! In hot and humid weather the icy air conditioning sounds great, same for the pool…it’s definitely a step up from your previous (miserable) stays! Apsara must have been special, because not even a ‘loud’ Greek, creepy snake, cockroaches or ants could drive you away 😉. I like your ‘krama’s’ (and beautiful photo of the two of you). And the good news…to hear that Apsara is still going!

    January 11, 2023 - 4:48 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Corna, I’m glad the special feel of the place came across. Yes, even the issues experienced couldn’t spoil our time at Apsara Greenland. It was our home for over four months, I know I’ll never forget it.

      January 11, 2023 - 5:12 pm Reply
  • Stan

    Hooray for apsara green land! after so much suffering and instability you got there in the end. what a time it must have been for you both having that level of peace and the pool…. sorry pools… within steps. no wonder you have done such an epic write up, i’m sure this hotel will live long in the memory. the cambodian scarves are very fetching.

    January 11, 2023 - 5:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers Stan, Apsara Greenland restored our faith in people at a time where faith in people was starting to feel in short supply. It was a magnificent place for us and I suppose we have the pandemic to thank for even being able to stay there. Normally, a four month stint in such a hotel would have cost us thousands.

      January 11, 2023 - 5:37 pm Reply
  • Lyssy In The City

    What wonderful memories! I’m so happy you found this hotel, what a light in such a crazy time. That pool and all that beautiful fresh air must’ve been so nice. Glad the hotel is still open!

    January 11, 2023 - 5:27 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Lyssy, Apsara made such a huge difference to our lives in Siem Reap. It was here that we finally settled down into a pandemic routine, largely free from many of the stresses people were experiencing around the world. The staff went way beyond the usual duty of care that you might find in a hotel, and that’s what will stay with us.

      January 11, 2023 - 5:34 pm Reply
  • kagould17

    I can tell how much you both loved this place Leighton. The fact that it not only stayed open during Covid, but excelled at customer service says a lot about the owner and staff. Good customer service can go a long ways during tough times. My criteria for hotels tends to be, location, clean, quiet and comfortable. If you can get 3 out of the 4, that’s a good stay. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    January 11, 2023 - 5:58 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Sounds like a good system, Allan. Often, as on miserably cold winter days like this, we both reminisce about Apsara and how gloriously uncomplicated life was during probably the most complicated time of our lives. I’m still in touch with Mr. So on Facebook. As they were fond of saying on ‘The Wire’: “He’s good people”. Thanks for reading.

      January 11, 2023 - 6:04 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Apsara had a familiar ring to it so I had to look it up. It fits nicely. Even the Garden of Eden had its pesky fauna. I found the non-insect creatures rather charming. Loved the backstory. It makes great sense that the staff are not just employees but also stakeholders in the success of the hotel. Would love to stay there.

    January 11, 2023 - 6:16 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, yeah, that was us frolicking around in the Garden of Eden. The wildlife ensured things were rarely dull. We often speculate what the hell would’ve happened if we had been in the pool when that snake landed. Thanks for reading Memo!

      January 11, 2023 - 6:22 pm Reply
  • thomasstigwikman

    Getting stuck isn’t fun, but it was a pretty good place to be stuck in. Interesting reading and great photos.

    January 11, 2023 - 6:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Thomas, if we were a bit unlucky with our previous accommodations we truly landed on our feet with Apsara Greenland. Appreciate you keeping up with the series.

      January 11, 2023 - 7:01 pm Reply
  • Travels Through My Lens

    It looks like paradise, a little trouble mixed in. OMG, being up close to that snake would have sent me packing! But, what a lovely experience and I’m thrilled to hear they survived the pandemic. Thanks for sharing; I’m looking forward to reading about your next adventure.

    January 11, 2023 - 8:44 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Tricia, we had so many happy, carefree days at Apsara Greenland Boutique. Or at least as carefree as possible during such a stressful period in the world. Over the next five weeks or so I’ll be putting out nine articles from across two countries, thanks so much for your continued readership.

      January 11, 2023 - 9:51 pm Reply
  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    I love how you and Sladja, along with the other guests and workers at Aspara became your own little family and rode out the pandemic together. Because Mr. So and the others were so accommodating, I would definitely stay there if given the chance. Their food looks great too – pancakes and fruit platters? Yes please. The tree frogs are adorable, but I couldn’t handle snakes, cockroaches, or red ants!

    January 11, 2023 - 9:23 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Yes, some of the wildlife was certainly not for the fainthearted. That snake… dear lord, it could have been an absolute disaster if we’d been in the water. We really were like a little family, everyone looking out for each other at such a worrying time. That’s another miniseries ticked off Kellye and, at long long last, the end of my Siem Reap postings. Thanks so much for being there every step of the way.

      January 11, 2023 - 9:55 pm Reply
      • Mike and Kellye Hefner

        Loved every post, Leighton. I hope your work- related travels are leading you home for a while. Be safe.

        January 11, 2023 - 9:57 pm
  • NortheastAllie

    I am glad that you guys found a beautiful spot to stay at after the other hotel incident! That was a really sweet moment for you two at the Krousar Cafe as well!

    January 11, 2023 - 11:34 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I think Apsara Greenland was the turning point of our Cambodia trip in many ways. Thanks Allie, appreciate your readership.

      January 12, 2023 - 12:37 am Reply
  • Monkey's Tale

    Well if you’re going to be isolated for a few months that’s definitely where you want to be! The hotel, the staff, the pools, all sound amazing. You make me want to go stay there, except for one creature that dropped in your pool 🙂 Maggie

    January 12, 2023 - 12:09 am Reply
    • Annie Berger

      Engrossing tale of your prolonged stay in Siem Reap due to Covid. It sounds as if you and Sladja really ended up on your feet at Aspara after the issues you had with the initial accommodation. How wonderful that you and the staff became each other’s family during what could have been an even more stressful time.

      January 12, 2023 - 12:34 am Reply
      • Leighton

        Hey Annie, long time no hear, it’s great to have you back. Yes, Apsara was our happy ending after the trials and tribulations of the previous two stays. Truly, we couldn’t have stayed at a better place in the hands of nicer people. I hope you are well and that your 2023 is off to a good start.

        January 12, 2023 - 12:44 am
    • Leighton

      Thanks Maggie, these guys deserve all the success in the world. If just one person were to end up staying there after reading this, I’d be happy that I repaid them a little for all their kindness.

      January 12, 2023 - 9:00 am Reply
  • Anna

    I am so glad they survived the pandemic! Sounds like a great place to have bunkered down during those early crazy days of uncertainty!

    January 12, 2023 - 3:09 am Reply
    • Leighton

      It really was an escape from everything, the perfect oasis from which to monitor events from a safe distance. Thanks for reading, Anna.

      January 12, 2023 - 9:02 am Reply
  • Lookoom

    For once a hotel stands out, it deserves the praise. In Siem Reap I had spent a few nights at La Villa Loti, in a more traditional building but just as perfect. I had to leave because the following nights were full.

    January 12, 2023 - 5:17 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I just looked up La Villa Loti and am sad to say that it’s gone the way of the Dodo. It looked pretty sweet from the photos. It’s amazing how much Siem Reap’s hotel landscape has changed in just the last few years.

      January 12, 2023 - 9:06 am Reply
  • Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. – Horizon Partners Of Travel Locally Owned & Operated

    […] Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. […]

    January 12, 2023 - 6:21 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the repost!

      January 12, 2023 - 9:08 am Reply
  • thehungrytravellers.blog

    Cockroaches are just one of the occupational hazards of travel, as if I need to tell you that! Common visitors, never welcome. Nice little haven for you for a couple of months during such strange times though, no wonder you look back with such affection.

    January 12, 2023 - 6:54 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Yeah the cockroach and I are old friends. Doha, Beijing, pretty much anywhere in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia… The snake was a new one though!

      January 12, 2023 - 9:13 am Reply
      • thehungrytravellers.blog

        Unbelievably, within an hour of typing that comment, we’ve had a major cockroach incident tonight….all will be disgustingly revealed in a later post!

        January 12, 2023 - 9:17 am
      • Leighton

        Ha! Looking forward to reading the grisly details…

        January 12, 2023 - 9:23 am
  • salsaworldtraveler

    Aspara Greenland is a terrific option for a long stay. Two pools (one private) steps from your door is hard to beat anywhere. The people in your Cambodian Covid bubble made the stay even nicer. I’ve been annoyed by small lizards or geckos on the walls in a couple of hotel rooms in Thailand. The snake would have freaked me out too.

    January 12, 2023 - 7:27 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey John, I suspect I will never enjoy such a stay in such a place ever again. We were there for around four months, I mean the cost alone would have been crippling under normal circumstances. The lack of people was an absolute joy I have to say, we need to find another Apsara somewhere on this Earth. Or maybe just build our own.

      January 12, 2023 - 9:17 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Apsara was a HUGE upgrade from the previous accommodations you stayed at! Wild animals and critters aside, the place looks to be paradise, from spacious rooms to a pool practically all to yourself. It’s incredible that the staff were able to go above and beyond with setting up a router for your Wifi and to have a cook work full-time for only a few guests! The hospitality is top-notch, that’s for sure…as for what you wrote in the beginning of the post, I think I used to see accommodations as just a place to rest my head after a long day of travel (i.e. the cheaper, the better), but now as I’m older, I would like to find a balance with comfort, convenience, and affordability. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s definitely a change from my younger years of backpacking!

    January 12, 2023 - 8:29 am Reply
    • Leighton

      I think this is a common experience Rebecca, I totally relate. If anything that need for comfort, peace and better service just continues to grow the older Sladja and I get ha ha. Sadly that often leads to disappointment and these days I feel it’s a real coup when we find a hotel (or indeed cafe and restaurant) where the people really care about what they’re doing. Oh well, we’ll always have Apsara. Cheers Rebecca, my Siem Reap files are finally done and dusted, you’ve been the ultimate trooper.

      January 12, 2023 - 9:22 am Reply
      • Rebecca

        The Siem Reap files were epic, but enjoyable all the way!

        January 12, 2023 - 9:36 am
  • shoestringdiary

    Your post reminds us very much about the times we spent in Cambodia years ago. And like you we got to stay in a broad range of accommodations from rundown hostels to (almost) luxurious suites. All things considered we really miss the country and its people.

    January 12, 2023 - 9:11 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Aw, thanks guys, I’m glad this brought back a little Cambodia nostalgia for you. We also miss the place from time to time, and can’t help but smile when we think of the sights, food and people. Cheers for the comment!

      January 13, 2023 - 9:44 am Reply
  • Little Miss Traveller

    After so many disappointments The Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel was definitely a safe oasis of calm for you both to live and work awhile. I enjoyed your tales of the staff and other guests, people bellowing on speaker phones really annoy me too. I just can’t understand why they don’t think of the disturbance they cause to others!

    January 12, 2023 - 10:53 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Marion, Apsara Greenland Boutique was such a haven for us, I know we’ll never forget those days. The Greek was the worst bellower I have ever heard. We could be in our room watching a movie and his voice would cut through the film ha ha.

      January 13, 2023 - 9:46 am Reply
  • bronlima

    Ah, the krama! I had forgotten the name. Remember buying some of these multi-purpose garments. Memories!

    January 13, 2023 - 4:31 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Multi-purpose is right Geoff, it’s amazing how often they came in handy for a variety of situations ha ha. Thanks for reading!

      January 13, 2023 - 4:39 pm Reply
  • travelling_han

    Oh what a wonderful place, and a huge improvement on the last place. I love that they make a policy of hiring staff from the poorer local areas, and reinvest in to local community projects. The snake would have absolutely terrified me, and cockroaches in the bed – aghhh! But alas, those pesky animals come along with the heat and tropical climate and other than that this hotel looks amazing. I’m so glad you had a wonderful stay, and how lovely to share your birthday cake with the staff. It must have been so weird being 2 of only 3 people staying – it’s hard to believe again now!

    January 14, 2023 - 1:23 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Sorry for the late reply Hannah, I missed your message among the mix and with our relocation from Georgia to Armenia over the past days. I’m glad you enjoyed this look at Apsara Greenland, it certainty made up for all the other shit we went through. On the face of it one could consider cockroaches on the bed and a snake in the pool as major incidents, ha ha. But we just couldn’t be annoyed at those guys for anything. We often wonder if we’ll ever meet such kind people again.

      January 17, 2023 - 11:06 pm Reply
  • qprgary

    Cool place and I agree that no matter how much you pay you always get a freeloading cockroach.

    January 14, 2023 - 1:57 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha, right you are Gary. Thanks for following this miniseries of accommodation (mis) adventures.

      January 14, 2023 - 8:54 am Reply
  • grandmisadventures

    wow, this place certainly made up for your previous accommodations! nice people, beautiful atmosphere, and good food. All things that previous spots were lacking in ways 🙂

    January 14, 2023 - 2:46 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Meg. Apsara Greenland really did singe-handedly transform our entire Cambodian experience. I couldn’t think of a better place to be ‘stuck’ in during the pandemic.

      January 14, 2023 - 8:56 am Reply
  • Juliet

    What an exquisite gift! You are right in that we all have our own thoughts and ideas about what travel means for us, but secretly, I do want those really fluffy pillows 😊

    January 14, 2023 - 5:09 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, so do I sometimes. Thanks for reading about our stay at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel Juliette, it’s much appreciated.

      January 14, 2023 - 5:46 pm Reply
  • Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. – BEGINNERS

    […] Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. […]

    January 16, 2023 - 9:13 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the repost!

      January 16, 2023 - 9:14 am Reply
  • Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. – ICHA SAFARI TOUR

    […] Living the Dream at Apsara Greenland Boutique Hotel. […]

    January 16, 2023 - 4:39 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for the repost!

      January 16, 2023 - 5:39 pm Reply
  • secret blogger

    Animals and animals every where hehe.. What was that for dinner?

    January 18, 2023 - 1:27 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Luckily none of those animals were on the menu. The dinner photos were curries, thanks for dropping by.

      January 18, 2023 - 8:50 am Reply
  • WanderingCanadians

    Glad to hear that you had a much better experience with this place compared to some of the others in Siem Reap. The gardens look so lovely and quiet, except for The Greek who sounds like quite the character. And how amazing to have access to that private patio and private pool outside your back door from your upgraded suite. The snake not so much. At least you weren’t in the pool when it was there! The staff all seem very responsive and friendly. I can see why you have such fond things to say about this place despite some of the critters or creatures you encountered during your stay.

    January 18, 2023 - 5:01 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks for your considered comment guys (or Linda?). The Greek was an absolute character, no doubt. We loved him but wished he would shut the **** up some nights. We’ll always remember Apsara Greenland and that time of our lives. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

      January 18, 2023 - 11:08 pm Reply
  • Juliette

    After the other places, I’m so glad you found such a lovely and welcoming place, that could serve as your home for a few months. Except from the occasional bug (and snake!!) encounters, it seems like the ideal place to spend an extended period of time and all the staff and the other people you got to know there seem lovely! I loved reading this post, it was like reading a heartwarming tale!

    January 18, 2023 - 10:04 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks so much, Juliette. Heartwarming is just right to describe the lovely people of Apsara Greenland Boutique. Thanks for reading about this period of our lives. Being a digital nomad when COVID broke was definitely one of the most stressful things I’ve been through.

      January 18, 2023 - 11:13 pm Reply
  • ThingsHelenLoves

    What a lovely post. happy times even if difficult days. Except the ants and roaches, that would finish me off. I can deal with unruly dogs, horses that need to be schooled, even teenagers. But small critters terrify me.

    Reading all of your Cambodia posts with added interest now Leighton as one of my twins has just announced she’s fancying a gap year travelling before Uni and has her eye on this part of the world. I’m unsure of how to feel about this plan, but we raised them to walk their own path so can’t really grumble when they do exactly that!

    January 19, 2023 - 2:38 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      I understand your concern Helen and I’m guessing she’s incredibly excited at the prospect. Cambodia is incredibly safe but of course as a female traveller (is she going to be travelling solo?) there are more things to take onboard safety wise.

      January 19, 2023 - 9:00 pm Reply
      • ThingsHelenLoves

        Solo travelling, but planning to hostel so hoping she’ll pal up with people along the way. It’s about a year until her planned departure so lots of prep, support and back to back episodes of ‘Banged Up Abroad’ 😆 I’ll worry where ever she goes so she might as well go where she really wants to. My eldest backpacked part of India and was evacuated just in time as covid hit so I’m practiced in being ‘worried (but trying not to interfere) mum’!

        January 20, 2023 - 6:14 pm
      • Leighton

        Well, there’s plenty to be worried about these days, so totally understand. That said, one of the things I loved about traveling around Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea etc was the people and that I rarely felt in danger. I hope she has fun planning an epic trip!

        January 20, 2023 - 6:40 pm
  • anoushpetit

    Looks like an amazing place to chill and hide during a global meltdown. Also it has the most perfect writing retreat vibes. I particularly enjoyed ‘meeting’ all these intriguing characters you came across there.

    January 22, 2023 - 10:46 am Reply
    • Leighton

      “The only place to chill during a global meltdown” – I like it. I will pass this onto their marketing guy as I’m sure the next catastrophe is just around the corner. Thanks for your comment Anoush!

      January 22, 2023 - 10:54 am Reply
  • Travel with a Pen

    This was such a nice upgrade from the last place. I’d take a room with a private pool any day if I can afford it – sans the snake, of course! Also, it’s so great that the staff were able to maintain the quality of their services consistently throughout your stay, and during an interesting time too. Kudos to them!

    January 23, 2023 - 10:15 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Yes, for the staff to go above and beyond for us at a time that must have been incredibly stressful for them too was so heartwarming. Thanks for catching up with recent articles Amarachi.

      January 23, 2023 - 10:19 am Reply
  • rkrontheroad

    What a sweet, lovely place. Glad to read a happy story from you in your Siem Reap lodgings! On to the next adventure…

    January 25, 2023 - 8:52 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Thanks Ruth, it was definitely a case of “we got there in the end”. Thanks for this recent catch up and all your support of my Siem Reap articles. It’s amazing to have finally finished publishing everything after the better part of 6 months. I hope 2023 has gotten off to a good start for you.

      January 25, 2023 - 8:55 pm Reply
      • rkrontheroad

        It has so far. No big trips planned, but some interesting things are in store, I think.

        January 25, 2023 - 9:50 pm

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