Friday, April 5, 2019

Siem Reap, Cambodia

We spent 4 wonderful nights in Siem Reap. We fell in love with the culture, the people, the history, and much more. We know we will return in the future.

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Our accomodation- Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel. We seriously loved every aspect of this charming place. It is small, put popular. And with good reason! We stayed in the Premier Double room and it was gorgeous. Just outside our door, was a beautiful covered balcony-the perfect spot for morning yoga. The hotel is also extremely friendly on the budget, with rooms ranging from as little as $30-$100 a night.
  • Phare, the Cambodian circus- This is not your average circus. It has a great vibe and atmosphere and we love how it is transforming the lives of many Cambodian youth. It tells a story and kept Lilah engaged for the entire show.
  • Angkor Wat- Seeing the temples was our main reason for coming and they were incredible. Lilah has always enjoyed temples and called them tree houses so it was special to bring her to these magnificent beauties.
  • Bayon- This was our favourite. It was amazing to see all off the faces in many directions. 
  • Ta Nei- We asked our driver to take us to a temple with not many people around and we arrived here first thing in the morning and there was no one in sight. It really added to the experience being the only people here. 

Tips:

  • We visited Pub Street to eat lunch most days, mainly for convenience as it was close to our hotel so we would stop in after a morning at the temples. There was a nice massage place that was extremely child-friendly called Temple on one of the side streets. They gave Lilah a manicure while we had a foot massage and played with her too.
  • We seen the 4 main temples over 2 days, mostly as it was easier with Lilah to spend a half day at the temples instead of a long full day. She enjoyed this much more. Although you can easily see 4 or more temples in a full day and save on a multi day ticket. 
  • Angkor Wat- It was nice to experience the sunrise at the beginning of the day and it's beautiful to see. However, we think that we would have enjoyed the visit to Angkor Wat without making the sunrise and it didn't feel like a must do to us. It was just as magnificent at 10am! You also need to check the weather. We had unusual weather for the time of year (end of March) but some mornings there wouldn't have been a sunrise and there were thunderstorms. We would recommend purchasing tickets the day before so you don't have to line up before visiting.
  • Phare Circus-we booked premium seats but actually we don't think it would matter very much which seats you booked. It can get very hot in the theatre so take water and light clothing. We were also glad we had eaten before we went as we were not fussed on the menu there. Popcorn and ice cream snacks were good!
  • We were so inspired by Baby Elephant Boutique and their care for the environment, their staff and the local community. They had a small store with beautiful things, one being placemats made out of recycled plastic. We needed to see more of this and asked where they were from. You can find the Khmer wonder-women who make these pieces at f/RehashTrash. They are open everyday from 8am-5pm and even hold classes. We wish we had time to take part in one of these!
  • Laundry is really cheap to have done if you need it. We paid about $2 for a big bag!
  • We wish we had read Mum Pack Travel's blog post on Siem Reap before we left. Check it out here for some awesome tips!

Baby/Toddler on Board:

  • Look for accommodation with a pool if you are traveling with children. Baby Elephant had a salt water pool and we used it frequently after a day adventuring. We also were very impressed with the food at the hotel, it was delicious! This was important to us as we did not feel like taking a tired babe out for dinner after a long day. They also had a great kids menu which Lilah loved.
  • Siem Reap was not stroller friendly, especially the temples. Lilah likes to walk so she walked for the majority of the time. A carrier would be useful for a younger babe.
  • We could find all the food and necessities for a babe in Siem Reap.
  • Phare also has a 5pm show two days a week for those who do not want to go to the 8pm show. Just check out their website for shows. 
  • Lilah needed her sunglasses on the tuk-tuk as the road was often dusty and her eyes would hurt without them.
  • We used the same tuk-tuk driver for most of our stay. We like to do this as you build a nice relationship and also trust for the driver. We value this traveling with a babe.

Five things the photos do not show:

  • On our final morning, we decided to book a car to the airport so that we had more room and weren't dusty for our trip to the Maldives. BIG mistake :) Apart from being double the price of a tuk-tuk, there was a massive truck blocking the road to the airport that only scooters and tuk-tuks could get past. We were so close to missing our flight!
  • It is hard to photograph just how beautiful the people are. We felt so well looked after and the locals were amazing with Lilah.
  • People were just hilarious running to the perfect photo spots for the Angkor Wat sunrise. Sometimes, it seems that the photo is more important than the experience. That is something we thought of often and we made sure to just enjoy ourselves.
  • Lilah called the tuk-tuks funny, funny bikes until our final day when she learned tuk-tuk. She absolutely loved this mode of transport and was adorable every ride!
  • This stay was sponsored by Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, but all opinions are our own and we would stay again in a heart beat! We truly believe our stay here enhanced our experience of Siem Reap.

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