Siem Reap (Cambodia) again…

Well we’re back in Cambodia and back in Siem Reap again.

This time it was to play host and hostess for long time friends Boof and Bec and family. Having spent heaps of time together over the years the subject of holidays arose and their experiences had been a little more flash (and therefore more expensive) meaning that they were less frequent.

So in a chat (before we even left) we suggested trying Cambodia and Vietnam which would be more budget-friendly than their previous attempts (in France etc).

A plan was hatched and the timing was set to coordinate with the Easter school holidays to minimise disruption for the children. So the first port of call was to be Siem Reap in Cambodia to let the kids run up and down all over the temples for a few days.

But first we had to eat and drink and sample the night markets, just to get into a taste of Asia. So we hit the street stalls, pub street, night markets. We shopped, grazed on weird and unusual (for the kids) foods and just generally soaked up what was on offer.

The next morning it was up and into a couple of tuk tuks and off to visit the temples. Given the time of day that we set off, we boycotted Angkor Wat as it was peak hour and did that later in the day. I did a full temple breakdown last time around so will ignore that and just show some of the highlights of the day’s exploration.

The heat and walking saw us all drinking our body weights in water and everyone was struggling by the time the day was over. So after a pretty amazing lunch, we made our way to the main attraction, Angkor Wat. This had Bec and Boof excited but some hot and bothered kids were less enthused. So after some cursory exploration (by the kids) Jill and I took the kids to the nearby market to sit and have cold drinks while the parents got to explore in peace.

We had a plan to visit something new for us (the hero rats) but due to the heat overload, we pushed it off to day two. What are hero rats you ask, well we didn’t know either. but Bec had found them so the first thing that we did on day two was head to Apopo. This is a non-profit organisation that started in Belgium 25 years ago that uses animals (primarily dogs and rats) to detect landmines around the world. There is another arm that uses the animals to detect tuberculosis.

The sensitive whiskers and noses allow the animals to detect the explosives without the false positive results that metal detectors give (from bottle tops and the like). This means that the detection and removal can happen much faster than using metal detectors. A trained rat is tethered between two operators along with a tape measure and they detect and mark the location of landmines for explosive technicians to come back to and disarm or detonate.

This was new to us. We had done the land mine museum before but did not know about the rat detection squad. Speaking of which, the land mine museum was next, closely followed by a few more temples and lunch. The boys had seen the whole roasting pigs on the side of the road and the lunch option was chosen.

A few more temples and it was back for a swim and a much-needed foot massage (for most). Jill tried to have a sexiest feet poll on Instagram (after my claiming that clearly, I would be the winner) but it was pulled under community guidelines as they thought that she was trying to upload some foot fetish porn.

Anyway, that was our (very) rapid exploration of Siem Reap and the temples with the Ballinger’s. Next stop, Vietnam.

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