Throughout the 2 months I spent responsibility exploring Cambodia I was invited to stay at several Mad Monkey hostels including the Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Kampot locations. The best was saved for last—the remote lodge in the paradise that is Koh Rong Sanloem. I decided to partner with Mad Monkey as its the most socially sustainable hostel in Cambodia.


Mad Monkey Hostels is a socially responsible hostel chain found in Southeast Asia and Australia—I’ve only experienced their Cambodian properties. Mad Monkey is quickly expanding in the ASEAN region. Each new property intends to better the host community. The accommodation chain is geared at budget traveler’s and gives those without deep pockets the chance to make mindful purchases with their tourism dollars.

Their do-good approach focuses on the community through sustainable employment opportunities, educational programs, and locally-led tours. Mad Monkey socially sustainable hostels are an equal opportunities employer and hire those that come from disadvantaged communities or have different abilities. Many Mad Monkey staff was once students at The Rabbit School. Staff at Mad Monkey socially sustainable hostels receive fair wages and a 30% salary increase within the first year of employment. All genders are offered paid time off when they have a new child. Complimentary English and basic computer skills classes are provided asn-needed in addition to regular career training and scholarship opportunities for further education. Staff and their families also receive health and dental care as a part of their employment.

Trash cleanups are folded into fun day trips at all Mad Monkey socially sustainable hostel properties in Cambodia. The trash cleanup in Siem Reap was tied to the Tailgate Tour countryside experience. On Koh Rong Sanloem there were two beach cleanups during my stay—one at the beach that surrounds the property, which was littered from a recent storm, and another during a day trip to a beach that was absolutely pristine after we’d properly disposed of all the rubbish.

Mad Monkey falls short when it comes to environmental sustainability. They do offer paper straws instead of plastic straws but they also have plastic toiletries, water bottles, and plastic wrap on food so they’re far from becoming plastic-free. Many Khmer staff told me they hope the company will become greener soon. I’ve been told that since my stays in December and January plastic water bottles have been banned and water refills are available, but I didn’t experience this myself.

Mad Monkey supports local charities and educational projects in Cambodia at each of their hostels by donating 1% of company net revenue. One of Mad Monkey’s major projects in Cambodia a clean water initiative. Mad Monkey Hostel has funded over 245 water wells that have been placed in rural areas of Cambodia—each costs $330.

Throughout the year there are fundraising events and collections in response to community needs. Recently to celebrate PRIDE, Mad Monkey Siem Reap raised over $70 for A Place To Be Yourself—a safe place for Khmer LGBTIQ+ individuals to access information, health care, and counseling services. At Mad Monkey Phnom Penh there was a recent blood drive with 25 donors for National Blood Transfusion Center Cambodia.

Be sure to read my responsible travel guides to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Kampot to find out more about how Mad Monkey has made a positive impact in their neighborhoods and beyond.


It’s not hard to enjoy paradise but floating in the clear turquoise water at Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem or swimming with bioluminescent plankton at night is so much more enjoyable when you know you’re supporting projects that are propelling the local community forward. Guest at Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem can look forward to rustic accommodation, unspoiled nature, snorkeling excursions, and fire dancing. Koh Rong Samloem isn’t very vegan-friendly (at MM or the main beach) so be sure to pack your own food.

Reserve your dorm bed or private bungalow and Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem on

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I was a guest at Mad Monkey Hostels. All opinions and photos are my own. Please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.

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