Bright fu­tures

Holiday with Kids - - Cambodia -

el­e­gant pe­riod fur­nish­ings and tra­di­tional art­works. How­ever, the kids are most in­ter­ested in the pool, a sprawl­ing la­goon-style ex­trav­a­ganza that is the big­gest in town. Raf­ferty lolls deco­rously in a ham­mock as he sips mock­tails, while Marlo slips on the slide be­fore kick­ing back in Villa des En­fants – a breezy wooden pavil­ion packed with toys.

Moun­tains and monks

Ph­nom Kulen is a place of an­cient secrets and the birth­place of the an­cient Kh­mer Em­pire. Of deep sig­nif­i­cance to Cam­bo­di­ans, it is home to the sa­cred River of a Thou­sand Lin­gas and the gi­ant re­clin­ing Bud­dha of an­cient monastery, Preah Ang Thom. There’s also a pretty water­fall flanked by ruins, where Raf­ferty and Marlo pad­dle hap­pily as rib­bons of orange-robed monks snake their way through the an­kle- deep waters, stop­ping only for self­ies with my curly-haired cuties.

The lure of an­other tem­ple proves ir­re­sistible. The ridicu­lously pretty Ban­teay Srei boasts some of the most elab­o­rate stone carv­ings in Cam­bo­dia and its rose-hued stone beck­ons warmly in the af­ter­noon sun. Marlo adores the girli­ness of the tem­ple’s danc­ing Ap­saras, who she’s thrilled to see come alive later that night in a mag­i­cal per­for­mance at our ho­tel. I’d heard that an in­flux of tourists had “ru­ined” Siem Reap. In­stead, I find it has lost none of its charm, but has shaken off its trau­matic past to trans­form it­self from a small, laid­back town into a flour­ish­ing city.

That’s not to say that there aren’t sights that cause some con­fu­sion for my chil­dren, but we turn our ex­pe­ri­ences into pos­i­tives by demon­strat­ing that we can help our new friends in sus­tain­able and prac­ti­cal ways. Rather than giv­ing money to beg­gars, we make a do­na­tion to the Cam­bo­dian Chil­dren’s Trust, the kids adding their pocket money, and give blood at the Angkor Hospi­tal for Chil­dren.

The re­sult is my chil­dren leave Siem Reap ea­ger to re­turn, sub­tly changed and as de­ter­mined as their mother to give a lit­tle some­thing back to a place that has given them new per­spec­tive on their priv­i­leged lives.



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.