We are taking our six-year-old son and teenage daughter to Siem Reap in September...

Thailand August 01, 2012 00:00

By Vipasai Niyamabha
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... and would appreciate any suggestions as to how many temples you think they may be able to cope with in a day given the heat? Are there are dress codes to follow while visiting the temples? Thanks a lot. Rashami


September is the rainy season in Cambodia (and Southeast Asia) so you can expect heavy downpours everyday, though it usually only rains for one or maybe two hours, sometimes at night, sometimes in the afternoon, possibly while you are visiting some of the Angkor temples. Personally I don’t see this as a bad time to visit, as it is a trade-off with the fierce sun, which can be killing while climbing the stone temples.
What you must prepare, not just for the youngsters for also for yourselves, is the right footwear for walking on slippery, wet and muddy – and occasionally flooded – surfaces, umbrellas or raincoats. 
It’s difficult to tell how many temples you should visit in a day. My advice is to play it by ear. To keep the kids entertained during the visit, you may have to guide them to look for certain things on your “to do” list. Hiring a tour guide to tell you and the kids stories behind the stones and carvings can also be a good idea, as it focuses attention and chases away boredom. You could try for one temple in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Even in the rainy season, you may encounter some fiercely hot weather from the late morning to early afternoon, so I’d recommended booking a hotel with a swimming pool. You all may hang out at the pool after lunch to freshen up before going out to explore the temples in the afternoon.
The Angkor complex is more like an archaeological site than an active temple where monks reside. However, the place is regarded as a sacred site. If you read the fine print on the sign at the entrance, it does actually have something about a dress code. Although there are no restrictions per se, you shouldn’t dress up as if you were going for a day at the beach. Treat these places with some respect. There is nothing wrong with shorts, t-shirts, or sandals and footwear does not have to be removed inside any temple. 
My two sons and I will be dropped at Siam Paragon at around lunchtime and have about six hours free. Then we will be picked up from the same place for our flight to Hanoi. The time is not really flexible, but I am looking for ideas to spend the best part of six hours with the boys. Are there any places to go sightseeing within six hours? Thanks, Barb
You will be left right in the middle of town but fortunately you have Skytrain right in front of. I would recommend you take the train to Saphan Taksin station right by the Chao Phraya River. From there, you have easy access to a pier with regular ferries and long-tail boat taxis to take you to see things along the river. You can go to either Wat Pho or the Temple of Dawn for a stroll and return by boat to the same pier, then go back to Siam Paragon by the Skytrain. It can be little tiring, but worthwhile if you haven’t got a chance to see Bangkok yet. If you don’t want to be too rushed, just find a nice spot by the river like a terrace bar at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok or the Peninsula Bangkok on the opposite side of the bank to have lunch and watch life go by. Then you return to your meeting point on time by Skytrain. Hope you enjoy Bangkok!