What would us backpackers do without hostels? The cheap, convenient way to sleep, eat, and meet other like-minded adventurers on our travels. Over the years I’ve stayed in many hostels throughout the world and they all seem to offer a unique experience, but there is one chain of hostels throughout Cambodia that is providing a little more, not only to travellers but to the community as well.
The Mad Monkey hostel chain is famous throughout Cambodia for their top rated hostels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Koh Rong, and now Kampot. While focusing their services towards the average backpacker, including cheap drinks, party schedules, affordable tours and group activities, they also maintain a socially conscious ethic and put sustainability at the forefront of their business.
Here are some examples of how the Mad Monkey chain promote responsible tourism through their practices:
Mad Monkey helps to support many education projects throughout Cambodia. They run various fundraising platforms to support a number of schools in rural areas where the statistics for education can be quite low. One of their most creative initiatives is using their Crawl 4 School Bar Crawl as a fundraising platform, a way that travellers can enjoy all the perks of a bar crawl, with all proceeds raised from wristband sales going towards funding children’s education.
In conjunction with the Cambodian Buddhism Association for Vulnerable Children, the Mad Monkey chain assists with funding many of the local clean water projects. In Cambodia the average family must walk at least 2.3km for clean water and with the help of clean water projects throughout the country, this distance is rapidly becoming shorter. So far the Mad Monkey Hostel chain has funded 130 water wells throughout rural Cambodia.
Fair working opportunities:
The Mad Monkey Chain employs a diverse team of staff members and provides those staff members with fair employment opportunities. The staff are provided with fair pay in excess of the Cambodian minimum wage, meals daily, opportunity for career progression and even an education allowance that goes towards English lessons.
The chain also works with the organisation A New Day Cambodia (ANDC) to provide employment opportunities for students leaving school that may come from disadvantaged communities, as well as providing employment to students from The Rabbit School with intellectual disability.
The hostels adopt environmental policies still yet to be enforced throughout much of Cambodia. They are focused on recycling, which is a great initiative as it is tough to find a place to recycle while travelling through the country. They also offer water refill stations in order to reduce the use of plastic bottles and enforce standard energy efficient hospitability practices such as options to change towels, water conservation and low power lighting.