Cambodia… A Wonderful Surprise
The activities my daughter wanted to see led us to Asia for her Senior Trip. In our planning, and knowing we were visiting Vietnam, we decided to add in Cambodia. Honestly, I did not know much about it. My husband mentioned Angkor Wat, and after a little research, I was so excited to see this Temple that still stood after hundreds of years. Cambodia, really turned out to be a Wonderful Surprise. Each night after being out in the city of Siem Reap, I would spend hours on my computer learning, and researching some of the things I saw and experienced that were fascinating to me that day!
Finding the right Guide
We only had two full days in Siem Reap, so I knew we needed a guide, and a good one. I used Tours by Locals, and was led to our guide Chamrong. He was fabulous! We wanted to visit Angkor Wat at Sunrise, take supplies to a local Orphanage, visit the elephants, and attend our Church from home at its branch in Cambodia. I contacted Chamrong, and he immediately went to work arranging a van to transport our party of 6, set up an Orphanage that he knew was a reputable place, and treated their kids well, and threw in a few more places he knew we needed to see. Chamrong was great, and adjusted to my kids needs quickly. Our schedule was often interrupted by hungry kids, or kids who just were done for the day. He never missed a beat, and kept my family happy for 2 solid days.
What to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia
When in Siem Reap, its a given you will visit Angkor Wat. I was determined to see the Temple at sunrise, and get the perfect picture. As life goes, it was extremely rainy, and the sunrise over the Temple was a bust, but the Temple itself was magical. We spent hours wandering the grounds, and learning of history, and the religion of the area. We were able to get some amazing photos, be blessed by a Monk, and see a site I will never forget. Completely worth the travel!
Chamrong also took us to a floating village on The Great Lake Tonle Sap. Truthfully, I may have loved this most. This experience was culture at its finest! The 1.2 million people that live on this lake, and their ability to adapt to their surroundings was truly remarkable. I thought of how we parent in the United States, and how they parented in this floating fishing town in Cambodia. With so many things in common, there were also so many things that were very different. My brain could barely grasp the idea that tiny children were running around floating houses without a adult hovering close by. They had grown up with respect for the water, and a knowledge of survival. It was truly amazing to see.
I was mildly frightened by a 3 year old carrying a giant snake around!! She was humored by my lack of desire to be anywhere near the snake, and even wrapped the snake around her baby brother to see what expression she could get from the chicken white lady! The floating village was full of eye catching events. Kids swimming for their baths, little girls rowing in buckets, alligator tanks that were right in the lake, and families going about daily business as if nothing was that extraordinary. We were there in rainy season, so it was bustling with fishing, and survival. I LOVED seeing how they lived, and experiencing it with my kids.
My Kids Will Never Forget
Cambodia brought all the culture I desired, and really gave my kids a glimpse into a life very different from their own. Our hotel was nice, but not as comfortable as we are used to. All 6 of us shared one bathroom where the shower didn’t work properly. We were hot, sweaty, but just happy to have a place to sleep. I think it really contributed to being able to experience Cambodia, and I would not change one thing about our stay. Being transported to and from the hotel in a tuk tuk, with our 8 bags piled on us, will go down as one of my kids favorite memories. Its amazing how the unplanned, smallest things, can bring life long memories, laughs, and changes to your family.
I am very grateful Cambodia was part of our journey. If you are in the area, crave history, culture, and a society where you can see adaption, and happiness, Cambodia is a place to go.
Happy Travels Friends,
Think about this… Cambodia was full of Ex Pats and the cutest restaurants. I was fascinated by the amount of foreigners that had taken residence in Siem Reap, and started businesses. We ate at restaurants you could find in any of the cutest towns in the US or Europe. Read here an article I found explaining some of the reasons home is Cambodia to so many! So Interesting ❤️