Our second guest post for FamiliesGo! is called Siem Reap with a Toddler: Beyond the Temples. Even after ten nights in Siem Reap, we had trouble saying good-bye. Cambodia is a beautiful country with lovely, friendly, and welcoming people. We encourage everyone to visit, and hope this post helps with some of the logistics, especially if you’re bringing a child. If you enjoy the post or find it helpful, please “like” or tweet it. Thank you!
We were delighted when FamiliesGo! asked us to write a guest post, and jumped on the opportunity to write about one of our favorite places: Cambodia. The first of our two posts is called Angkor Management: Touring Angkor Wat With a Toddler. We hope it encourages other parents to bring their kids to Angkor Wat and the beautiful surrounding Temples of Angkor. If you enjoy the post or find it helpful, please “like” or tweet it. FamiliesGo! is a great resource for families who love to travel and explore!
The dashboard digital clock on our rental Volkswagen Polo showed 12:05 a.m. as we exited the mountain-pass tunnel in rural Iceland. The stars lit up the midnight-blue sky and the snowcapped mountain peaks loomed off to the west, our left. We were looking for the Northern Lights and had already been driving around for the past several hours, so far to no avail.
Cambodians (actually, people from all of the countries we visited in South-East Asia) love children. “Hi, baby!” and “Hi, boy!” were near constant refrains during our stay. One night, when we ate dinner at a do-it-yourself barbecue place on the street in Siem Reap, a waitress took Jude out of his chair and brought him dancing (in our full view) across the street to a French funk band that was playing on a small stage next to a giant gaudy Christmas tree and a tank full of those ubiquitous massage fish. He loved it. “More dancing,” he told us for the rest of the night.
Ducking low-hanging baskets and dodging rushing men pushing carts overflowing with wholesale goods, a multitude of smells and stenches came at us from every direction; merchants barked sale orders over SIM-card fuelled cellphones; and the bright colors of a wide array of products for sale leaped out from their dimly-lit stalls.
Christmas is big in Vietnam.
One of the many pleasures of Hanoi is waking up at 5 a.m., walking (or running) to Hoan Kiem Lake, and seeing the city come alive—with hundreds of people of all ages, but more in the 60-80 year-old range, exercising together. (The average age seems to drop later in the morning, with more people in their 20s and 30s exercising by 6:30 or so.) Seeing so many people come together before dawn to move around and stay healthy and limber is an incredible and inspiring sight.
A good feeling runs through Luang Prabang. It sounds cheesy, but there is something almost cosmically happy and upbeat about this place. Part of this “feeling” no doubt has to do with the beautiful setting. More than that though, the locals’ positive attitude and laidback demeanor surely rubs off on tourists. The owner of our hotel told us that he and his wife can tell how long a tourist has been in town by the speed of his or her gait. A faster clip on day one gives way to a gentle stroll by day three.
If there is a more photogenic city in the world than Luang Prabang, Laos, I’d like to see it.