Siem Reap's 'Temple Boys' make good in hospitality sector

Siem Reap's 'Temple Boys' make good in hospitality sector

THEY'RE known as the Temple Boys, and they're part of a small group of businessmen who have become major players in the downtown Siem Reap tourism scene.

The Boys, brothers Lee Kong Srin and Lee Kong Vong, have notched up successes such as the popular Temple Club Pub Street venue, a hotel and a chain of Khmer restaurants.

Their start in life wasn't easy. When Lee Kong Srin was a year old and his brother 22 days old, their Chinese father fled the country.

Nine years ago, Lee Kong Srin, 28, and Lee Kong Vong, 27, finished high school and worked as moto-taxi drivers for a small guesthouse.  Then the guesthouse owner asked the Lees to manage the rooms for her.

"That was my first job," Lee Kong Srin said, "It's where I got my experience."

Later the brothers rented and managed a small eight-room guesthouse called Get Lucky.  "From Get Lucky, we learned how to attract customers," said Lee Kong Srin.  "We then acquired the Golden Temple Villa, which has 40 rooms and does very well."

Six years ago, the brothers also rented the Temple Club, which relocated to Pub Street four years ago. 

"It usually takes only one to two years for Western clubs to become successful, but it took longer for us," said Lee Kong Vong But now the club is one of the most popular venues on the strip, and in addition to the club and Golden Temple Villa, the brothers' empire also includes four restaurants.

"A hotel is harder to run than a club," said Lee Kong Srin.  "It's hard work to attract customers to a hotel, and you have to make sure the service is perfect."

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