Leaving KL behind – A holiday in Cambodia with kids

I know that my blog is about things to do in Kuala Lumpur, but I hope you don’t mind if I share a little something with you all from our recent trip to Cambodia. 

One of the first things that caught my eye as we drove to our hotel; such a great sight….
 

Not only is the city of Siem Reap just a two-hour direct flight from KL, it is also an absolutely amazing city that transports you to another time and allows you to experience a completely different pace of life. It felt like we’d travelled much further to be able to find such a contrast to the busy modern city life of KL and I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

The Buddhist monks that we met throughout our trip were the friendliest, happiest people ever… and loved asking for selfies with our twins!
 

Needless to say, we did this trip with our 5 year old twins and I wasn’t at all worried that the trip would be ‘too cultural’ or not ‘fun enough’ for them! They’re used to our adventures taking us to new lands and have done everything from climbing volcanoes by torchlight to swimming in seemingly bottomless waterfalls during our time in Indonesia so, I knew they’d do well

 

The playground at The Angkor Palace Resort & Spa in Siem Reap
 
Having said that, it was important for us as a family to have a hotel that had a decent pool so that after a morning of sight-seeing, they would at least be able to unleash their pent up energy within a resort environment! Fortunately you have a fair few options in Siem Reap and we found quite a few places via Agoda that offered family rooms or triple rooms and most had pools. The deciding factor for us was when I found a hotel with pool, children’s pool with slides AND a children’s playground! I couldn’t book quickly enough! So, The Angkor Palace Resort & Spa would become our base for the 5 days we were to stay there.

 

The children’s pool wirh slides at our resort. plus a kids menu at the pool bar.
 
Before we flew out to Cambodia we toyed with the idea of booking some tours with a travel company but thought we’d wait to see just how things were once we arrived – and I have to say it worked out perfectly! 

 

The tuk-tuks (remorks) were a big hit with our children! an easy and cost-effective way to get around.

Every hotel has ‘tuk-tuks’ affiliated with their property so you know who you are dealing with and the receptionists are always happy to sort out a ride for you. Not only was it convenient, it was an amazingly cost-effective way to get around the city. Considering we were a family of four, an entire day of having the tuk-tuk and driver for ourselves (who would take us where we wanted, suggest lunch spots or just wait for us to finish at one temple before heading on to the next site) only cost $20! Add on a sunrise or a sunset and it would have been $25…. Now you can’t beat that! We had our freedom to stop and start when we wanted, we admired the streets and the views from our quaint little mode of transport and the whole experience only added to our Cambodian holiday.

 

The infamous Angkor Wat and my two children taking full advantage of the large space around it!
  

When it comes to sight-seeing, needless to say you have your choice of temples to see. But what is also good is that there are ‘circuits’ available that all the drivers know of so if you’re unsure, grab a map from the airport or your hotel and go with the flow. 

So many temples, each one offering something different. the kids loved exploring everywhere!
  

Now doing all this with young children may not appeal to some but these amazing ruins gave our twins the most natural of playgrounds to explore; tunnels and doorways, little chambers to hide in and, on occasion, walls and rocks to climb all over! 

The Bayon was one of our favourite temples and an absolute must!

They’ve tried to count the many faces of ‘Bayon’, mingled with monks at Angkor Wat, and turned themselves into mini ‘Tomb Raiders’ at Ta Prohm, the site where temples and trees entwine to give you one of my favourite temples of all.

Ta Prohm is another temple not to be missed.

If you ask them their favourite parts of the trip, they would both say ‘riding around in tuk tuks’ and I can’t say I blame them! They were great! Another great experience that tops their list was the evening that we went to the ‘Phare Cambodian Circus’, an acrobatic performance with music, comedy and theatre given by young Cambodians. This ‘show’ has become very popular so if you’d like to help support this fabulous cause of taking underprivileged youngsters and training them in arts/dance/acrobatics, buy your tickets online before travelling in order to avoid disappointment.(http://pharecambodiancircus.org

The Phare Cambodian Circus is a very popular attraction but is also for a very good cause.
 

For me, the highlight of our holiday was a half day boat trip to Lake Tonlé Sap. This again was something we booked once in Siem Reap although this time we reserved a hotel car and driver. It worked out at a great rate of only $35 for what would have been a 4/5 hour trip and we were extremely happy with the service. 

Taking in the views as we make our way down through to Lake Tonlé Sap

Only an hour’s drive from Siem Reap we then had a private boat for the four us (which we paid for separately once there – children were free, and we paid $20 at the time per adult) which took us up the river through the floating village. 

The floating village was an eye-opening experience. Truly amazing to see life on the water’s edge.
 

This itself was amazing, but then we stopped and went ashore to walk through the village and had the opportunity to visit a local school and donate some art supplies. Absolutely magical. 

The school that we stopped at within the floating village.
 

These children who have so little gave us so much in their smiles, laughter and endless questions – it was truly beautiful. 

These children were brilliant… and charming and full of smiles and poses. A sheer joy
 

Other attractions on any trip would have to be the night markets and the ‘infamous’ pub street where you’ll find an array of bars and restaurants, clubs and pubs as well as street sellers and shops.

Pub Street which comes alive at night and is worth a visit
 

Something that should be seen once, even if you decide its a bit too crazy to return the next evening!

This little lady captured our hearts with her constant big smiles as we passed her on the street.

Cambodia and its people left an ever-lasting mark on us. It really was such a fabulous trip and showed us the true beauty of a country that I had never thought I would get the opportunity to visit. 

Another day, another sight; elephant rides are availble to walk you around the historic sites.
 

Here, I shall just say, if you haven’t yet been to Cambodia, please do. You will love it…. Hopefully just as much as we did. S x

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