Phnom Penh expats who visit the GreenHouse guesthouse will be in for a pleasant surprise. When they step into the main building among the bungalows, they may get a sense of familiarity if they were among a number of people who used to make the trek across the Tonle Sap River to Chrouy Changvar peninsula to visit Snowy's.
Snowy's was known as Snow Bar, and also less so by its actual name, Maxine's Bar. A large teak house which jutted out over the river was a low-key venue for those who wanted to experience something a little different to the usual Phnom Penh bar scene. Ian "Snow" Woodford opened the bar in 2005, and it shortly became a Phnom Penh institution.
The bar was forced to close in 2011 due to development of Chrouy Changvar, and Ian faced the prospect of having to see the bar demolished. That was until he had a chance conversation with long-time friend Dave Barbe.
"Donkey" Dave, as he's widely known, had been scouring Kampot for a riverside location to open a guesthouse of his own. Having found a suitable spot and unwilling to see Snowy's destroyed, he offered to buy the house and move it to the Kampot riverside location.
Moving the house was a massive challenge. It was dismantled and flat-packed, the material then transported to Kampot on four trucks. Once it arrived at its new home, the house was painstakingly reassembled piece by piece
From the outside, the building looks similar to how it looked during its Phnom Penh days. The decor inside has changed, and yet has retained a distinctive relaxed mood. Dave says that he wanted to come up with a different feel to the house and not just copy the unique vibe that Ian had created. Green is the dominant colour, and the interior space is more open than it was while in Phnom Penh. Even so, the friendly and casual ambiance remains.
One thing the GreenHouse shares with Snowy's is a spectacular sunset view off the back deck. The scenery is a little different now, with the sun dipping behind tree-covered mountains instead of an urban skyline. However, it's still the ideal spot for locals and visitors to Cambodia to watch the sun set on another day while enjoying a refreshing cold beer and a chat.