I'll be travelling to Siem Reap from 8-15th May next year with my husband & 2 kids(3yrs+ & 20mths). Anyone has any suggestions on what to do there for 8 days? Figured the Angkor Wat for 2-3 days and maybe the lake etc but I still do have a few days to fill. Would it be too rushed to go to PP & back? Also, does any one know if SR will come to a standstill during public holidays? I think my trip might clash with the King's birthday??
One of my plans was to visit some orphanages with some donations, clothes, books etc. Has anyone had any experience doing this? My husband is against it cause the last time he went to Nepal on a charity trip, they were pretty much fleeced by the customs there for bringing in the donated items(of which, almost 1/4 of it did not make it thru customs) and he does not want us to be "taxed" unnecessarily upon arrival as our budget will be tight this time round.
Appreciate your help!!!
If you get "templed out" in Siem Reap there isn't a whole lot to do. You could go to West Baray, which I assume is the lake that you mention. It's a nice spot for swimming, a picnic, or just hanging out and watching the sunset.
If you to to Phnom Penh, consider renting a car/taxi for the trip with your family.
Nothing really comes to a standstill in SR except around the Khmer New Year time in mid-April.
As for orphanages, I know one woman - Gaye Miller - that has similar hassles with the authorities when trying to bring donated items into Cambodia. She ultimately was able to set up a program where she assists a local orphanage, but it wasn't easy!
Read the articles she wrote about her experiences at this site:
I spent 3 days and that was more than enough.
I walked from Siem Reap to and from all of the temples in one day (approx 40km including the walk from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat and back again) and then I went back to them the next day only got an auto rickshaw, just because I had run out of things to see and do and I was feeling a bit unwell from the day of walking before.
In my view you should easily be able to see Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in the 8 days even with a husband and two young kids. I walked to most of the attractions within the places in that time, but you'd have to hire a driver having the kids.
You wouldn't be too rushed and would then get a chance to see even more places, that you really should see to have a proper Cambodia experience.
[ Edit: Edited at Nov 18, 2006 5:22 AM by aharrold45 ]
8 days in SR is really overkill on temples. 2-3 days are usually enough. May is brutally hot and tramping around temples will quickly become tiring. I would hire a taxi for your family and visit PP while in Cambodia. See more of Cambodia than Angkor. I am going to send you some info on orphanages via PM.
Good tip from vegasmike about the weather; May can be brutally hot. Not very pleasant if you aren't used to such heat and humidity. But that's all the more reason to take your time and hang out in Siem Reap for an extra day or two. Don't push it and suffer quick temple burnout.
Another problem with budgeting the number of days is that damn Angkor ticket/pass. You will the option of buying 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day tickets. But they have to used on consecutive days. You can't go one day, take a day off, and then go out again the following day. Well, you can, but you will have lost that second day and the authorities won't give it back to you!
I love the temples of Angkor and can never get enough of them. If you are into old architecture like those temples, you could easily spend a week in the area (many other sites beyond the borders of Angkor, too) and not be bored. But if you aren't a big temple fan, 2-3 days, as others have suggested, is sufficient. Also, having young children travelling with you may cause you so slow down your touring pace.