Sharing the experience of a holiday in Indochina with the rest of the family is a unique experience. The education of children involves school and the home but travel adds another dimension. That is especially the case when it is to places that have such rich diversity as Cambodia; history, religion, culture, an environment that is natural with local villagers living as previous generations have done for many years. Good tour companies can put together Cambodia family tours to cover the most interesting aspects of the country. Should a client express a particular interest then extra attention can be given to this. Towards the end of Cambodia family vacations it is perhaps time for the beach and some relaxation after days full of things that are certain to capture the children’s imagination?
Cambodia family travel will often begin in Phnom Penh, the capital, because that is the major international airport in the Country. Those interested in the natural beauty of Cambodia may want to include the Caramom Mountains in the south west stretching into Thailand; jungle, waterfalls and mangrove forests. There is a slight chance of clouded leopard, even tiger but overall the fauna is interesting anyway. It is all a matter of how much time there is.
The major question that parents need to consider when they book Cambodia family tours is the extent that they wish their children to see evidence of the horrors of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. If they are teenagers then it is likely that they will be perfectly happy for them to see some of the information on the horrors that were committee. There is plenty in Phnom Penh if they prefer to omit such things; the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
Phnom Penh has been described as the ‘’Paris of the East’’ with of course French colonial architecture still in evidence while the wide boulevards are typical of how the French have laid out conurbations. One of the most popular places in the Capital is the riverside (the iconic Mekong where it meets the Tonle Sap River) with cafes, shops and pleasant strolls the order of the day.
The Royal Palace with two pagodas in the complex is probably the main landmark in the city though Wat Phnom dating back to the 14th Century on a hillside is the tallest in Phnom Penh at 27 metres; Wat Botum, the favourite of the monarchy is also worthy of a visit.
There is a National Museum which is very informative of the whole history of Cambodia with no concentration on Pol Pot. It is worth everyone learning more early in Cambodia family travel before they head out to see more of the country.
The north west of Cambodia is the highlight of Cambodia because of Angkor and Siem Reap’s development is a direct result of its proximity to Angkor. There are further museums and the influence of the Chinese and French can be seen in the architecture.
The largest lake in South East Asia, Tonle Sap is just south of the City. It expands from a minimum of 2,800 square kilometres, just a metre deep, at the end of the dry season to 15,000 square kilometres in the later weeks of the monsoon season. At that time the depth is 8 metres. It’s no wonder that the village houses are on stilts! This is an extremely important region of Cambodia; fishing of course is crucial to the lives of locals while this fertile area as the lake recedes is great for rice growing. Cambodia family travel clients will learn a great deal simply from a single cruise.
The Angkor site covers 400 square kilometres, much of its forested. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site with Angkor Wat the highlight. The Khmer Empire was responsible for the buildings in Angkor, built between the 9th and 15th Centuries. Few temples have been photographed anywhere in the world as Angkor Wat while others that Cambodia family tours will include the Bayon Temple, Praeh Khan and Ta Prohm.
Ta Prohm is a monastery to the east of Angkor Thom. When it was discovered there were trees growing out of the ruins and they have been left like that.
The Mekong is 4,500 kilometres long, rising in the Tibetan Plateau. It is not navigable throughout because of rapids and waterfalls but it is possible to cruise from Phnom Penh right down into the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and the South China Sea. Cambodia family travel may not offer such a long journey but the whole family will enjoy some time on the Mekong seeing the daily life of the villagers on the banks but also the freshwater dolphins that often follow the boat.
At last, the beach
Sihanoukville is an artificial creation. The deep port, and subsequent tourist resort, south west of Phnom Penh on the Gulf of Thailand was developed just after Cambodian independence. It was named after the Prince who was deposed by Pol Pot and although his rule was brief the resort remained in a poor state of repair for many years after the Khmer Rouge was no longer in power.
It was backpackers that provided the impetus for Sihanoukville to become as popular as it is today. The beaches are lovely and there are plenty of water sports for all the family to enjoy.
Bamboo Island is offshore, just half an hour away by boat. An even better place to relax than Sihanoukville itself.
There is little doubt that children of all ages will have a great time in Cambodia. They will have many stories to tell their friends when they return home and parents are certain to see the benefit to their children’s outlook on the world which is a real investment in their futures. A good Indochina tour company will happily answer enquiries and questions in order to put together an interesting itinerary for everyone, adult as well as child.
Any Cambodia family tour package should combine an extension to Vietnam to do family - fun activities at the most beautiful destinations like Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Mai Chau, Hue, Hoi An, Mekong delta or enjoy white sandy beaches in Hoi An, Danang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and Phu Quoc island.
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