True to form with Roomorama's vision of introducing the other aspects of traveling aside from "visiting a checklist of tourist attractions". The experience I had with You Khin House in Phnom Penh, Cambodia opened my eyes to the many things, a traveler can do while visiting a particular city on a longer term. The idea of joining an NGO organization like the one behind You Khin House presents an ideal chance to mix traveling and helping others.
The guest house was run by a Cambodian non-profit Organization called Seametrey, which helps children of underprivileged Cambodian families to get a quality education with additional training in music and the fine arts. All proceeds from the revenue of the guest house goes directly to the funding of Seametrey Children's Village, which is a primary school and nursery day care center located next door.
I was able to locate the You Khin House when I was searching for places or accommodations in Phnom Penh through the website of Roomorama, a few months before our actual trip. You can check out the step by step guide I wrote on this blog entry.
It was built and designed in a tropical environment setting with lots of plants and trees surrounding the guest house. Paintings adorn the walls and music instruments are laid out neatly on the learning area, where kids are taught to develop their artistic nature and appreciation of the arts and music as well.
A small pool is located at the front, while a wooden facade fronts the view from the street. Upon arriving we were greeted warmly by the staff and other volunteers who works at the guest house. A couple of foreigners were having a cup of coffee by the pool and half a dozen of Cambodian kids were being taught inside by a middle age Caucasian woman. The kids then went on to paint something on their respective pieces of paper afterward.
Natural light emanates from the ceiling which was drawn open to gather such effect. Lessening the use of electrical light during day time is always an environment friendly technique. We climbed the stairs to our third floor bedroom, which was pretty cozy and spacious and allows enough room to walk around with two single beds, two spacious wooden cabinets, a small table and a chair and a shower room.
At the third floor lobby was the entertainment room, where guests can play a game of billiards, watch TV from its wide screen TV mounted near the wall, or cozy up and lie down by the window reading an interesting book from its wide array of reading choices shelved neatly on the book case beside the billiard table.
Being in another country for the first time will make you feel a stranger and uneasy at times, but it surely helps when the very first set of people you will meet will instantly make you feel at home. At You Khin House, everybody does that to perfection, also on week days you can watch the children practicing Khmer traditional dances at 4pm on the ground floor of the guesthouse or practice your weaving skills at the guest house' weaving loom located near the pool.
Muoy You - Owner/Director. Muoy has a vision to make her adjoining Seametrey Children's Village school self-sustainable from your continued support to You Khin House.Should you wish a tour of the school during your stay then please don't hesitate to ask.
Nhep - Any Housekeeping or Kitchen matter, Nhep is your lady.
Sok Lim shares her time between the school and the guesthouse. She is always happy to help with any queries, and loves to practice her English on native speakers!
Laureen - A Canadian native, she is here for her third stint of volunteering, overseeing the guesthouse housekeeping and our delicious breakfast. She is a very useful source of knowledge for all your shopping requirements in Phnom Penh.
You Khin House
Address; 13A, Street 830, Sangkat Tonle Bassac,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (near the Russian Embassy)