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Visite des temples

Cambodia – Siem Reap: Family Travel

To the point

Continuation of our family trip, which occurred between the end of 2019 and March 2020. Visit to the temples of Siem Reap, hotels, costs and tips.

End of trip in Singapore

To follow up on the previous article on Singapore, we loved our visit to the city, we had a sublime night walk there.

My family lives there, so we were able to enjoy it in a different way. We returned there at the end of our trip, before our return to Canada.

Flight Singapore - Siem Reap

We left for Cambodia with the Jetstar company. Seven days to discover this beautiful country, at our own pace.

For your information, the bags/cabin bags should not have exceeded 7 kg but no control was carried out; you will know in our next article if it was still the case on the way back.

The town of Siem Reap

Accommodations

Hotel Courtyard

With Marriott, we had few choices in Siem Reap. The Courtyard or Le Méridien.

We chose the first one because it is very recent, offers nice facilities and has a kids club. In addition, we were able to get a very nice upgrade thanks to our Titanium status: the Presidential Suite! Not bad for a 10,000 points per night hotel. What more could you ask for!

This hotel was so good that we decided to go back there after a stay at Le Meridien. The pool is very good for children, even Arthur had a foot in some well defined areas. The Kids Club has many games and toys.

Finally, we really liked its design and the service given by the staff.

Le Méridien Hotel

In order to make a comparison, we tested for you Le Méridien.

The hotel is nice but rather “convention oriented”, the swimming pool was very nice, but not the most adapted for the small ones.

We got a smaller and less modern suite, although it was enough for our family.

We missed the nice terrace we had at the Courtyard.

A very decent buffet for breakfast. Pineapple or passion fruit juice is offered in some places. There is also an ice cream stand for children in the afternoon, where they can get free ice cream thansk to their bracelet.

Finally, we tried the afternoon tea in the hotel lounge. A tray of scones as well as sandwiches and desserts: delicious and very well presented!

Visit the temples of Angkor, listed as a UNESCO heritage site since 1992

We arranged the tour through Ratha, our concierge at the Courtyard; he served us superbly throughout our stay.

In order to visit without too many people and to take nice pictures, the best is to come very early in the morning! We started at 7:30am and finished around 1:30pm.

Our tour (the small tour) included the visit of Angkor Thom with Bayon:

Ta Prohm:

and ended with Angkor Wat:

We were able to see the terrace of the elephants and the Leper King, the magnificent Victory Gate (one of the 5 gates that lead to Angkor Thom temple):

The planning was perfectly followed by our guide. It’s a shame we couldn’t do more, as the kids were tired!

PLEASE NOTE:

It is essential to go through the “check point place” to pay the entrance pass to the temples: we chose the one that cost $37 for the day because of the children – it was possible to pay with a credit card (JM used his HSBC Mastercard without conversion fees).

Other tickets available: $62 for 3 days (recommended) and $72 for a week.

It is generally recommended to take a three-day pass that can be used over a week. We took the one day one because we knew the kids couldn’t take it anymore.

A little idea about the prices if you buy it through the hotel:

  • Plan about $25 for a Tuk Tuk, $46 for a car or $52 for a minivan.
  • For an English guide, $53, or $70 for a French guide.

The advantage of the hotel car: our driver was very kind and offered us bottles of fresh water and cold towels (very pleasant under this heat!), an air-conditioned car and a faster access to the temples.

We really enjoyed having a guide. The visit would not have been the same by ourselves. We would have lost our way many times and would have understood nothing of the history of these temples which is really fascinating!

Prices can be lower if you arrange with external guides and tuk-tuk on the street. There is no shortage of proposals.

The French-speaking guides being rarer, our concierge did not find any with the hotel’s list of the contacts and called upon his personal contacts. It ended up costing us a little less (paying it directly), however we gave him a good tip in addition to the $45.

The most important sites to see:

  • Angkor Wat
  • Ta Prohm
  • Preah Khan
  • Banteay Srey
  • Banteay Samre
  • Banteay Kdei

Other points of interest in the city

  • The National Museum of Angkor to learn more about the Khmer culture and history of the country. No photos are allowed inside. The museum is very interesting, we really liked the different rooms.
  • The Night Market to feel the vibrant atmosphere of the city and find your travel souvenirs.
  • Nearby is the Pub Street. Restaurants and pubs intermingle in a lively and colourful hubbub. In the evening, the street is illuminated by neon lights.
  • The King’s Road Angkor is very nice. It’s a small corner where you can find various restaurants including the Embassy, and a very nice market of products made in Cambodia.
  • Temples, including Wat Preah Prom Rath if you haven’t had enough of Angkor temples
  • To see a show, go to Phare, the Cambodian circus which is in fact originally an NGO, which teaches underprivileged children the art of the circus, in Battambang. Another show is the Angkor Dynasty which recounts Khmer history and legends. We went to see it and LOVED it with the kids! Worthy of the Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas!
  • Kompong khleang floating village: a village to see in wet season when the Tonle SAP lake is not dry. The visit is less touristy for this village. We preferred not to go there, we felt it was like “voyeurism”, especially as the period was not ideal (dry season).
  • The War Museum traces the different wars Cambodia has been through and exhibits a unique collection of weapons and war machines.
  • Finally, a silk farm is located half an hour from the city centre. We had already visited one in Vietnam so we passed. If you don’t know it, it’s a must!

Restaurants

We tried several good restaurants.

To start with, The Christa, in town but away from the hustle and bustle, is not very attractive from the outside. The flavours were really good and the dish presentation was very well done!

The Sokkhak River Lounge has a beautiful terrace. We couldn’t enjoy it fully because the children were excited, but the food was very good and the atmosphere was pleasant.

The Haven welcomed us very well the following evening (that evening we had found a nanny for our children) with again great flavours. We recommend it.

We like the fact that this place helps young people to learn and become autonomous and independent.

A nice place with a garden even if the area where the restaurant is located is not the most pleasant and well lit.

The Spas

During our stay in Cambodia, it was difficult not to resist the temptation of massages.

We found a spa that even offers a spa menu for children as young as 4.

To please Alexandra who is very girly, she had the right to her first manicure and pedicure while we enjoyed a massage. She was ecstatic!

The fish massage is also original. Little fish come and eat the dead skin: it’s not very attractive when you put it that way, but I tried it out especially as the children were intrigued. It’s a special feeling to have your skin “pecked”!

We also had the opportunity to go to another spa – having managed to get the kids to stay with us – Cool Sense Spa .

This spa is a range above the level of services for slightly higher prices but quite honest in view of the service offered.

We really liked it and tested the 4-handed massage which was quite surprising. This massage is featured everywhere and the price here was fair by comparison ($30 for 90min).

Bookings can be made on the Internet, and they can even pick you up/drop you off at your hotel free of charge.

A shower is available if you want to rinse off after the treatment.

Conclusion

Cambodia, or more precisely the town of Siem Reap, seduced us! We would love to go back. A total change of scenery, friendly people… we loved it.

Our adventures continue in Kuala Lumpur and then on to a surprise destination! Follow us!

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