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Travelling: Taking the Family to Angkor Wat PDF Print E-mail
"Taking the Family to Angkor Wat"

When we heard that SQ had started direct flights to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor (returning via Phnom Penh), we knew we had to go back. Our first trip was nine years ago, when we paid US$2.50 a night in a place where the toilets were on the roof and the baguettes were like rocks. But this time we took the children, aged five and three. You can still stay in dirt cheap rooms and buy your meals in the market, but fortunately you no longer have to. Siem Reap is developing so fast, and new hotels and restaurants are popping up all the time, so it's very difficult to get up-to-date information. Our travel agent knew nothing but the most expensive (and many would say vastly overpriced) hotels. We had a recommendation from a friend to stay at La Noria ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Definitely consider this lovely place ("Five little houses, nicely decorated rooms, in a very pleasant flowery garden. Private balcony or terrace, fan, A/C, hot water.") We ended up at its similar new sister hotel, Borann , the only one of the hotels in its range (US$30-50 per night) with a swimming pool ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). La Noria and Borann are owned by a Frenchman who went to Cambodia ten years ago to work in a refugee camp and stayed to establish the largest charitable organization there.

The temples and ruins around Siem Reap were just as powerfully moving this time as they were the first. I would go back tomorrow. See for yourself. Before you go, a few recommendations, especially for those travelling with children: Bring a few more changes of clothes than you usually need, as the little ones get very dirty climbing in the ruins. Bring snacks. There are things to buy at the kiosks near the temples, but you may want to have sancks with you for some of the drives, and you may want to avoid the haggling.

It is very easy to rent a car and driver once you are in Siem Reap. Our driver, a young man with sufficient English named Virith, proved indispensable, as the kids loved him and he kept and eye on them if they ran ahead of us. We paid US$20 a day for his services, arranged through the hotel. The tour company he works for (managed by his father, Chamroeun) can be contacted on (855) 12 821 609. Bring wet wipes for cleaning your hands. Toilets with running water have been built near the bigger temples, but you take your chances at the smaller ones. My son sucks his thumb, and I was glad to have a way to keep at least that finger germ-free.

Bring Band-Aids and antiseptic wipes. My kids fell down or stubbed their toes regularly.Get up early! We were usually on the road by about 7:15, and at all the temples and at the floating village (a community of Vietnamese on Tonle Sap lake) the tour buses started pulling in just as we were leaving.

I think our kids enjoyed a lot of the trip, but it definitely had its ups and downs. I'd say it would be much easier to take an infant than a toddler, and that kids from the age of five up would benefit most. Enjoy!

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