Family travel snap: learning about temples in Cambodia
What’s the story behind this photo?
It’s the start of our two-week Cambodia trip and we’re visiting the temples of Angkor. Here we are learning about Beng Mealea temple. It was built to the same floor plan as Angkor Wat, but hasn't been restored to nearly the same extent and is much less visited – it was one of our favourites. We spied walls held up by the huge roots of sprung trees and enormous blocks that had tumbled down. My five-year-old had already had her first taste of Khmer architecture at the main temple complex, with all its fascinating carvings and buildings, and was excitedly spotting more five-headed nagas (snake statues) as she listened to our guide.
After clambering over the walkway which runs around the temple, we headed off for a boat ride on Tonle Sap lake, then west to Battambang before flying south to the beaches and mountains.
I chose this photo as it reminds me of how intrigued my daughter was by the history and legends she learned about as we explored and how much we both appreciated our great guide, who brought all the details to life. With a little planning it’s definitely possible to visit somewhere like Angkor Wat with kids.
My five-year-old says: ‘We are looking at the heads of snakes and the man is telling us all about it. I saw stone lion paws standing on the wall. I remember there were loads and loads of steps.’
Cathy’s tips for visiting Cambodia with kids
1) Consider going in the green season: it’s quieter and cooler in the summer months and the short sharp showers are over quickly.
2) Make sure you give yourselves plenty of time to enjoy the chilled-out atmosphere of Siem Reap.
3) But, also, don’t limit yourself to the ancient capital: the bamboo train at Battambang was a favourite, my daughter still talks about the floating tents where we stayed in the Cardamom Mountains and the beaches are wonderful too.
Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?
Next is a sunny (hopefully!) city break in Porto – although I’m dreaming of a return visit to Japan with my daughter who wants to see snow monkeys.
Lastly, complete the sentence:
When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always…
…. take a mountain of luggage – especially snacks, stickers, books and three of my daughter’s extensive collection of cuddly toys.