Fall in love with Siem Reap with our host Valentina

Learn more about our host Valentina, one of the faces behind the new Homestay.com homepage.

At Homestay.com it’s not only our guests who understand the value of travel. So many of our hosts have amazing travel stories, finding new places to call their home as part of their journey. One such host is Valentina, an Italian architect and photographer, who has lived in Siem Reap in Cambodia since 2012.

Valentina first arrived by chance during a trip in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the peace and tranquility she found in this rural part of Cambodia, close to Angkor. Since 2008 she returned several times but in 2012 Valentina decided to take the plunge and move full-time to Siem Reap.

She now spends her days practicing yoga in her garden and listening to her musician boyfriend playing jazz. Valentina decided to open her villa-style home to guests so we decided to find out a bit more about what a guest can expect from a homestay with her in Siem Reap.

Why did you sign up as a host?

I was looking for few website to promote my new B&B and I said why not?

Tell us what attracted you to Cambodia? How did you come to decide to live there?

The first time I came in Cambodia was in 2008 and somehow I fell in love with the country, I remember that when I left Siem Reap I was crying. Now, every time I arrive and I see the land and the green and the palms from the plane I feel at home, and when I'm in Italy I can't wait to come back.

After my initial trip, I came back to Cambodia in 2009 for holiday and again for work in 2010 and 2011; I founded an NGO to develop sustainable projects in Cambodia... but unfortunately without any great success!

In the end everything came together for me at the right time, my divorce was finalised, my contract for my job was finished and I found a new role in Italian marketing for the same company that I used to use to travel here! It’s funny how all these things combine!

What can a guest expect from a homestay with you?

I want to give my guests the feeling of being at home, let them relax, enjoy the garden, cook and do what they really want, without the pressures of being in a hotel. Actually, as my boyfriend is a musician I would love to host an artist or a musician and I would be happy to give them a discount or a better price.

I love music and we listen to it almost all day long. It’s mainly jazz and sometime [my boyfriend] Steve practice his sax and his flute which I just love. It’s really so nice.

Homestay host Valentina listens as Steve plays the saxaphone on the balcony of their home

What is something every visitor to Siem Reap should see or do?

Of course the temples are a must see here; but it’s so nice, especially in the rainy season, to rent a mountain bike and explore the country side, go for some cooking classes, visit the lake or simply relax by a pool somewhere.

There are so many things to do, it’s really just up to you to decide what you enjoy, but my suggestion is to come in the rainy season, it’s much greener and it’s oddly nice to get a rainy shower to cool you down on your bike!

Your profile says that you regularly practice yoga. Tell us about your interest in it. Can guests practice with you also?

Yes I practice yoga, but at the moment I am bit lazy! I go swimming and sometime I do yoga in the evening; but if someone wants to practice together why not? It’s nice doing it in the garden here.

Valentina's brightly coloured guest bedroom in her homestay in Siem Reap

Why do you like hosting?

I like to meet new people and share life experiences. With some of the long term guests we became friends, so I can also go and visit them!

When I was in Italy I was dreaming of having a B&B where I can cook as well and offer meals to my guests. So now it seems that it’s happening, but really it all came naturally, I didn't plan to do that when first I came to Siem Reap.

What advice do you have for anyone thinking of becoming a host?

You have to like people with different cultures to your own and it’s not only for money, it is fun! I had really great experience with some Chinese people, they wanted to cook us a really nice dinner for the Chinese New Year, and the same with another couple from Singapore, they were really nice!

Valentina relaxing on the veranda of her home in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Is there anything anyone travelling to Cambodia should know before they go?

Cambodia is a really beautiful country but it is poor and sometimes we can forget that, especially because living in Siem Reap is very easy and it’s like a bubble. So maybe just pay attention to the environment, do not over use electricity and water, especially now with this weather. Cambodia still has to buy power from Thailand and Vietnam so looking after the environment here is very important.

But in general Cambodia is a safe country for travellers and has many things to visit, not only around the temples! Also, aside from Siem Reap, the islands off the coast of Cambodia are really beautiful and pristine.

Has Valentina convinced you to visit Cambodia?

Visit Valentina's profile or browse all our homestays in Cambodia to find the host that's right for you.

Homestays in Cambodia


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