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Friday, January 12, 2018

SIEM REAP CAMBODIA: Riversoul Residence, The 1961 Coworking & Art Space and Meeting Kuya Loven Ramos

My 2nd time and Siem Reap in a space of 4 years and I realized the city has gone so pricey for backpackers. Going back to Angkor Complex excited me but all that died out when I learned that entrance to this UNESCO World Heritage Site has gone up to $37 from $20 when I last visited. It definitely is worth the price tag but for a 2nd-timer? Nah! Not for me. I refused to go and asked my travel buddy to tour alone instead while I rested at our hostel.

I suddenly had myself wonder "what the hell am I doing in Siem Reap if not for Angkor Complex?". But there is more to it. For one, I wanted my partner to see Angkor Wat. Then there is the visit to Pub Street and small shopping at the Old Market, something I missed doing the first time. Then there's experiences two cool hostels which I am excited to write about next so as to be helpful to my readers who are in search of affordable but good quality accommodations.

Best of all, there's meeting kuya Loven, "the" Loven Ramos, who I have known since 2008 in the onset of my blogging life and who I have been friends and in constant communication with on Facebook and Instagram but I have never met until this trip.


The last time we were here, out schedule was so packed that we didn't have time to met him. And boy he has gone so far. I am just honored that despite him being a big shot now, he still took the time to meet us and spend a few hours knowing more about what is going on in our lives.

This I learned only a few days before going to Cambodia, that other than being an active shaper of Siem Reap's art scene, kuya Loven also manages a hotel in the city -- Riversoul Residence. This was where we met him. I felt so honored meeting kuya Loven finally. Since then I have always admired him for his achievements and now he is BIGGER than ever. He has definitely made a splash in Siem Reap despite being an expat and Filipino at that. I was actually nervous seeing him but I felt instantly comfortable because this person is stripped of any air or complications despite his status. The fact that he took the time to meet us despite his very busy schedule is something I am very thankful for.

About Riversoul Residence
A family home by the river rebuilt into a 27 room hotel paying homage to childhood memories in one of Cambodia's historical waterways.

Address: Street 21, River Road Area, Wat Bo Village, Siem Reap 17254
Kingdom of Cambodia
Call: +855 63 969 899
Email: stay@riversoulresidence.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Riversoulresidence
Website: http://www.riversoulresidence.com

Riversoul Residence is set back off the main road and is only several minutes walk from the center of Siem Reap, the old market (phsar char) and the famous Pub street. We are also situated a stone throw away from the river, so you will be able to go for beautiful leisurely walks and we are just down the road from the Raffles Hotel which boast beautiful landscaped gardens, here you will be able to sit and watch the fruit bats depart for their nightly gorge, or watch Buddhist monks make their offerings in one of the oldest wats in town. --source Facebook Page


Whilst there is indeed a deep story behind the hotel, the "about" page description of this place is too humble to fully give a sense of how good the place is. Riversoul Residence is a boutique hotel that breaths freshness and exudes substance anywhere you look. The lobby is semi-open, meaning, no door to separate this high-ceiling enclave except the small zen garden in front and the pool at the back. Fresh air can and good energy can flow seamlessly. This is possible since the hotel is located in the quieter side of town. It is a art-deco hotel at its finest staying true to the elements of Cambodian art. And to find out that kuya Loven was part of the concept, design and artwork of the place is really a wow. Idol! 


There are four (4) Room Types at Riversoul Residence,
Pool View Room
Terrace Twin Suites
Poolside Suites
2 Bedroom Family Suites

According to their website, water is a key element in the design and look of the rooms and suites of the hotel, where traditional Cambodian fishing and river life implements sit alongside original works by local and international artists. Rooms come with urban views of Wat Bo Village and the Siem Reap River as well as terraces and balconies overlooking the pool.

Each room has its own individual character and design all equipped with the modern conveniences and comforts of a 21st century Cambodian residence.

I was able to see the pool view rooms and poolside suites and if you are a guest, you will have a hard time choosing one because they are both splendid. I like the earth tones of the room, modern furnishing and consistent artisan accents, not to mention space. Most boutique hotels I know sacrifice space so as so to fit in as many rooms as possible in a small property, not at Riversoul Residences. Too ad I already booked a place before discovering this place. It would been lovely to stay here. There will always be next time.

The hotel has a spacious outdoor lounge which can be set up for live performances and outdoor soirees.This is perfect for small events as it is nest to the The Bridges Restaurant which is open from 630 am to 10 pm. The Bridges Restaurant is nothing short of the artsy vibe of the hotel. It was the prefect venue for an afternoon snack with kuya Loven.

The name of the food we tried already escaped my memory but I remember how food it was for a light snack and the signature drinks we had which bear unique names were so good ---as good as the light conversation we had with kuya Loven. In a short time, I would say I got to know him a bit more and I am so happy we clicked.

The 1961 Coworking & Art Space

It was already dark when we finished and he is a busy man as I said but I got to convince him to take us to his pet project which us the 1961 Coworking Offices / Artspace/ Shop / Gallery / Studious / Event. Yes, a creative destination very popular among expats and long-term travellers in Siem Reap. I have seen a couple of articles in print and online about this place so seeing it in person was a joy. I thought to myself though that I hope I could give the place justice as the only camera I had with me was a Gopro and an S8. The photos below doesn't give justice to the beauty of the place.

About The 1961 Coworking & Art Space
is a COWORKING & CREATIVE SPACE where one can immerse into a world of artists, poets, musicians, writers and movers and shakers of the local community.

Address: 211 Osaphear Street, Upper West River Side
Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia
Call : +855 87 371 576
Email: info@the1961.com

photo courtesy of 1961 Coworking Space Facebook Page

The 1961 Coworking Lab Rates 
(Promotion Rates as of visit July 2027) 
Please check website for updated rates. 

1 Day Pass -$5 
3 Day Pass -$13 
7 Day Pass -$30 
1 Month Pass -$100 
3 Month Pass -$290 
6 Month Pass -$550 
1 Year Pass -$1,000 

Includes: locker 
- Free flow of coffee and tea 
(Only for weekly membership) 
- Staff's assistance anytime


So, even if you are not interested in the coworking space, there are still other reasons for you to visit. One is to appreciate the artspace and to check the art store where they have tons of cool and unique items from small to big ones that you might be happy to bring home as memento.


It was already dinmertime when we finished so kuya Loven proposed that we have dinner together. Went around Pub Street but parking proved to be a challenge so kuya Loven took us somewhere popular for locals and less known to tourists. It is a bit far from downtown and our research of dining spots have not pickef it on the radar. Locals know best after all.

Here, locals dine the old fashioned way -- sitting around low-lying tables Japanese style under tents set uo for dining purpose. The area is surrounded by ponds so I guess most of the fish sold are fresh catch from those ponds. There are also skewer food like chicken but mostly parts like head abd feet. Other exotic food too like the one similar to our papaitan in the Philippines. We are not so much onto trying out exotic dishes so we opted for dry noodles which is safe enough and filling.

It felt good being in Siem Reap again and this time not being in rush seeing this, seeing that since I have already done some of the basics. Relaxing by the hostel, sipping beer, walking around pub street, buying souvenir at the Old Market and still no feeling of rush. The best part was meeting kuya Loven who I idolize and since he has lived in Siem  for a long time, it felt like having a local friend who knows a lot about the place. It was cool hearing perspective from a local about what is going on in the place. Some insider information that you cannot easily get through sightseeing alone. Too bad we were not able to meet his lovely wife and his bibo kid. There is always next time . ^^

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