air-conditioned people carrier, fast-track immigration check-in, cold towels and pretty orchids on arrival, and a tranquil pool to keep the children amused after a morning of temple-watching, with suitable poolside meals and a kids’ menu. But, let’s be honest, you don’t go to Siem Reap just to hang out in the hotel, so here’s my list of must-dos for any family trip here. #1 TEMPLES OF ANGKOR It goes without saying that everyone visits Siem Reap to see the UNESCO World Heritage temples, and they really didn’t disappoint. We chose to go for sunrise, but we also hear that sundown is a lovely time; some travellers even visit twice in a day to see both – now, that’s dedication to culture! Indochine Exploration’s Angkor Uncovered Temple Tour is a great way to experience this magical place; it comes complete with picnic breakfast, air-conditioned vehicle, driver and
experienced temple guide, picnic lunch by the stunning lake and the option to walk or bike off the beaten track. We were surprised at just how much our kids got out of this excursion; they particularly enjoyed being blessed by one of the local monks and getting up in the dark to watch the sunrise over brekkie! The full-day tour starts from US$195 for one person, but is considerably cheaper for two or more people; it includes the things mentioned above, plus transport from your hotel, good-quality bicycles and helmets, and water and other drinks. Next time we’re going to try the company’s Secret Lake Cycle Ride & Kayak Tour (five hours). Psst… Top tips for tackling the temples with children: go with another family so the kids can keep each other motivated, take warmer clothing for the cooler early morning with a change of lighter clothes for later on, and, as ever (even with older children), pack lots of snacks!
#2 COOKERY COURSE AT KROYA This course, at Shinta Mani restaurant Kroya, was one of our trip highlights. It’s an ideal family-friendly thing to do to escape the heat and the temples, as beautiful and mesmerising as they are! Waking into the spacious and air-conned private kitchen, we found ingredients freshly cut, chopped, sliced and laid out, ready to throw into the pan. This is my kind of cooking course, with minimum hard graft required, leaving you time to really get into the flavours, smells and feel of the physical dish. A small recipe booklet was handed to us at the start; our aim for the day was to prepare various Khmer dishes. The fish amok and the green mango salad were two of the highlights, and the girls really enjoyed making sticky rice dumplings! We then had the opportunity of eating all the gorgeous dishes we’d just made over a long lunch en famille . Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to staying in Shinta Mani, Kroya is worth making a rickshaw trip to. We devoured
Exploring Angkor Wat and the local markets
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