Cambodia. Siem Reap.

Angkor 3rd day

It is DONE. We have visited Angkor. And all four of us are tired and grateful that tomorrow we do not have to get up early early. Angkor is amazing but it is work, especially with children. There is so much to see, the distances are big and there are so many people… it can get overwhelming at times.

Today we did a special program:

  • visit places we wanted to see again and
  • visit a few new places

We had a slow start this morning. Although the alarm rang at 5 am, it took us some time to get organised. Lara was complaining about her throat and Alina is having massive problems with her right shoulder. We don’t really know what she did, if she got bitten by an insect, if she had an allergic reaction towards something or if she got sunburned. But her whole right shoulder is bright red and extremely sensitive to touch. From the way she is describing it it sounds like a proper burn. We have tried everything: soothing cream, antiseptic cream, herbal liquid plaster and yesterday we even tried yogurt. Finally that calmed it down a bit and today I even put coconut on, just to cool and to calm it. I really hope it will slowly get better because it is a permanent “Mum, my shoulder hurts…” And after three days I am pretty much at the end of my ropes.

So anyway… we were slow this morning and all four of us felt the previous two days in our bums. We should have taken a day off and gone tomorrow again, but our planning didn’t really allow for an extra day.

My wish was to go back to Bayon in Angkor Thom early in the morning to avoid the huge crowds.

Bayon – general feeling – tired
Ta Prohm

nap time and monkey style of body cleaning
Then Lara’s wish was to go back to Ta Prohm. But before we had the energy for that, we needed a good breakfast: rice, grilled meat and fish and a coconut. And then we continued to Ta Prohm. These places are all really big and by the time we had visited Ta Prohm again it was nearly lunchtime and very hot. Our energy level was at an all time low.  So we decided to start our return trip. We did stop at a few temples on the way, but it was noticeable, that we had seen it. There is only so much one can take in and after temple 3, 4 or 5 it becomes difficult to see something new. We just didn’t know enough of the history and the mythology to read all those sandstone sculptures.

Last night we watched a youtube video which is really interesting. It explains how Angkor Wat was constructed and for what purpose. These sort of information make it much more interesting also for the kids. But all those Hindu and Buddhist myths are so complex, that it takes more than three days to get it all. One feature can be seen again and again: The Churning of the Milk. 54 Gods and 54 Demons are churning the milk. One of my favorite places – the South Gate Bridge of Angkor Thom  – shows that beautifully.

Anyway, by about 3 pm we all had enough and cycled back to Siem Reap.

And in the evening we joined just for a little while the Water Festival in the city. It is very similar to the festival we joined in Vientiane in Laos. The people are also putting flower arrangements on the river, we had a firework last night and tonight and with the full moon and all the streets nicely decorated it feels a bit like Xmas. But here it feels more like a big party, where in Vientiane it was more of a sales show.DSC_0859[1] DSC_0864[1] DSC_0871[1]

Summary – visiting Angkor with children

  • accept that you won’t see everything, unless you stay there for 365 days
  • the three day pass is worth it but
  • after three days I had enough
  • so try to go not on three consecutive days and have a day off in between
  • get up as early as possible to avoid the crowd and the heat
  • if you cycle take the old street instead of the new one. It is much calmer and shorter.
  • leave not too late as traffic is getting very dense
  • cycling to and through Angkor is a good option – even for children but
  • the distances between the temples are big, e.g. Angkor Wat – Ta Prohm 8 km
  • although children don’t pay entrance fee (I guess younger than 12) –
  • they are also not allowed on the steep staircases, which means either one parent has to stay at the bottom with the kid or the child needs to wait on its own
    • so happened third level Angkor Wat also
    • Baphuon
  • always have the kids passports at hand to proof that they don’t need a ticket
  • visiting Angkor with kids is a challenge: the heat, the distances, the walking, the traffic, the boring stones… so try to make it fun
  • instead of taking the road we cycled from the East gate of Angkor Thom on the city wall towards the South gate avoiding all traffic and all other tourists while having a beautiful view over the countryside