Thinking of quick getaway with kids? Try Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Most parents would think its an odd choice as there are no amusement parks and whatnot but based from our recent visit to this land of rich history and culture, Cambodia can be truly amazing and fun for the whole family.
There are a lot of accommodation options in Siem Reap, from budget hostels, boutique hotels, and luxurious Resort Hotels. We opted for http://www.residenceblancangkor.com and it was a good choice for a family accommodation as it is really cozy, got the local vibe with its art deco family room, and a small yet lovely dipping pool.
The hotel offers free roundtrip transfers from the airport via TukTuk and also offers happy hour one-way free shuttle service from hotel to the city centre every late afternoon just in time for dinner. The TukTuk ride itself is a fun experience for all of us, especially with my kids.
There are interesting places to see in Cambodia but when in Siem Reap, one must not miss visiting the famous temple ruins of the Khmer regime. There are a lot of temples comprising the Angkor Archaeological Park which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992 but considering tagging the kids in this adventure, we had to limit our temple tour to four major temples that could fit in a one day tour.
We arranged our one day temple tour with our hotel and the assigned Tuktuk driver assisted us in getting our tickets to enter the park. There is 1-Day, 2-Day and even a 3-Day entrance ticket available which reflects how vast these temples are occupying most of Siem Reap’s land area and the historical, religious and cultural significance of these ruins to its people.
During temple tour, remember to wear sunscreen, hat and sunnies, choose a light clothing (but something that would cover the legs to show respect to the Hindu gods), bring wet tissues, loads of water, light snacks, and keep phone and camera batteries fully charged.
Here are the four famous temples we visited: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm.
1st Stop: Angkor Wat
2nd Stop: Angkor Thom
3rd Stop: Bayon Temple
4rth Stop: Ta Prohm
After all the walking and picture-taking at the temples, our second day at Siem Reap was spent on experiencing local culture. We head out to the Old Market, Pub Street and Night Market for some shopping and munching.
There are plenty of local souvenirs, trinkets, dried fruits, spiced mixed nuts, flower and herbal teas, cheap shawls, lounge pants and shirts, hand-sewn elephant bags and purses, and many other interesting Cambodian stuff to choose from. Be ready to haggle and walk though isles to get the best bargains.
There are also nail salons and massage spas in the area. We tried something that I and my kids can do together… Fish Spa! It was tickling fun! :)
We tried different food stalls and dine in restaurants in the area but many are either poor or average in taste but one that stands out and must try in Pub Street is the Traditional Khmer Food Restaurant. Yes, that’s the exact name!
The ambience of the place is modern and elegant. Food are cooked in traditional Khmer style, delicious and the price is reasonable.
Those were the happy memories we had at Siem Reap and you too can have the same enjoyable trip with your kids in this jewel of Cambodia. Below are some tips to help you get started with your trip planning.
Day 1 – Hotel R&R (swim in the pool, try food in the restaurant, arrange temple tour, and know your shopping and walking route on a tourist map)
Day 2 – Temple Tour (4 stops: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm)
Day 3 – Experience Local (Ride a Tuktuk, get a pedi or massage at the Old Market area, shop at the night market and dine at Pub Street)
Day 4 – Hotel R&R, get ready for the return flight
Savvy Mommy Tips!!!
- VISA on Arrival. All visitors, except citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia.
- Direct flights from Singapore to Siem Reap can be costly but if you are not tight with time, consider a short layover to Malaysia or Bangkok and fly on a budget with AirAsia or Jetstar.
- US Dollar is the common accepted currency, even to street vendors, no need to exchange your money to Cambodian Riel.
- Bug Spray! Like in any other tropical countries, the primary cause of concern for parents are mosquito-borne disease, Dengue. Never forget to bring a bug spray or anti-mosquito lotion in your bag.