I'm very interested in traveling to Cambodia this coming May with my family. Our children will be 18 months and nearly 4 years on arrival.
Since they're so young I figure we'd stay in Siem Reap for 10 days, making day trips. I'm concerned about keeping the little ones healthy. As our last trip to India with the oldest was a disaster. Our toddler went through 28 days of vomiting and diarrhea was certainly memorable, but not something I'd like to repeat.
Does Siem Reap compare at all to conditions in India? Anyone experience both with toddlers?
Work requires us to be in Taipei for 30 days, then 30 days to vacation in Thailand/Cambodia, then 30 days back in Taipei. We're flexible if Cambodia should be a miss.
#1 Shaktipalooza has been a member since 10/2/2010. Posts: 3
as one with young children i can sympathize with your concerns. i have about the most sensative-to-travel-illness system there is - we just spent a week in Siem Reap and i skated through just fine. I was careful about ice and fresh fruit while there...we came to trust our hotel's restaurant and ate at many other places with no ill effects. I did manage to get sick in Pai, Thailand a week later but while in Siem Reap...no worries. While in Siem Reap we stayed at the Villa Siem Reap in one of their deluxe rooms and it was phenomenal - spotlessly clean, very friendly, great wifi, great restaurant which was nice when it was raining and we didn't feel like venturing out...there was another couple there with their young daughter and they were quite pleased too. If you can pull it off, don't miss out on Cambodia - the people are wonderful and Angkor is truly amazing. good luck and have a great trip!
#2 dagardiners has been a member since 30/12/2009. Posts: 7
Thanks for your reply. We've had several family discussions and have opted not to take our kids to Cambodia. I'll go alone and come back to Bangkok to join my family for the rest of the trip.
It's first and foremost an extended business trip for my wife in Taipei. We can't afford to create unnecessary risk to our kids health which would in turn could torpedo her business project. Once our youngest gets into the five year range I'll probably be willing to make the trip.
#3 Shaktipalooza has been a member since 10/2/2010. Posts: 3
I know you've already decided, but I'm posting a reply in case anyone has a similar issue.
I would consider Siem Reap very safe because it's truly geared towards tourism. There are loads of good restaurants there and I had no worries in terms of getting sick. I honestly don't consider Siem Reap to be any more dangerous, even for children, than say Bangkok. Just take normal precautions, such as don't get ice from the streets, and it should be fine.
When comparing to India I can only speak of Mumbai and Hyderabad, but I would say that Siem Reap is way "safer".
#4 Remedy has been a member since 25/7/2009. Posts: 31
Remedy - After visiting Siem Reap I do agree it's much less troublesome for small children than India. I did need a round of Cipro post Cambodia, for some reason my wife thinks it was because of the stale insects I ate off a roadside cart at three in the morning. If I take the kids they won't be eating any crickets, grasshoppers, or water scorpions (must have been the water scorpion).
The food was much better than I expected from the small tourist town. Some of it even had a hint of spice, particularly an excellent dish of fish Amok that I tried. Hotels were an excellent value during the low season. I booked a great room at a french colonial boutique hotel.
Will probably take the kids when the youngest is at least four years old. I think they'll get the most out of it then. Second half of the trip I met up with my wife, mother, and children in Thailand. Three weeks in a beach side hotel in Koh Phi Phi was just ticket.
One of my pics from the trip
#5 Shaktipalooza has been a member since 10/2/2010. Posts: 3
"for some reason my wife thinks it was because of the stale insects I ate off a roadside cart at three in the morning. If I take the kids they won't be eating any crickets, grasshoppers, or water scorpions (must have been the water scorpion)."
Your wife could be right. Those stale insects, they can be a killer. Last time I ate them... wait, there was no last time. Some things I don't feel a need to try. Getting hit by a truck, eaten by a shark, dining on stale inects... Please tell you me you were drunk.
I think Cambodia actually does pretty well in terms of food safety (not for lack of trying to do otherwise, however). Siem Reap is such a tourist-oriented town that I wouldn't worry about it there.
I wonder if it's more about the water than the food. I have eaten so much disgusting street meat in Cambodia and very rarely feel it at all, but the water is pretty clean here. Other places (like India) where I never ate on the street but brushed my teeth with the water left me feeling rather unwell.
#7 giblet has been a member since 29/11/2010. Posts: 39
You've decided not to visit Cambodia just yet, but I definitely think your kids would enjoy it, especially in a couple of years. My main comment would be that May is *very* hot. If your kids aren't used to humid heat, much better to plan a trip for Nov/Dec/Jan, which is the coolest season.
Compared with what I experienced in northern India, Cambodia is a much easier place to eat, drink and avoid health problems. There's nowhere near the same number of flies, there's no cows pooping in the streets and ice is made in ice factories and is generally absolutely fine to drink. I know some people who avoid ice in blocks, but the round ice, usually used in restaurants, poses no problems.
Allegedly, tap water is safe in the big cities, and whilst I don't drink it myself, it means you have to worry less about what vegetables or fruit might have been washed in.
Everyone above has covered off everything that I would have said with respect to Siem Reap being low risk from a food perspective. I'll only add that during my last 5 month trip through SEA, and in eating in a range of places from the very nice to the very dubious in Vietnam and Flores, I never got sick once until near the end of my trip. And that was in Bkk! Fortunately it was only for 12 hours.
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#10 heng has been a member since 21/1/2011. Posts: 3
great article and site.
Pub Street in siem reap is brilliant for food. Excellent quality, cheap, food. Do a search on pub st. there are chemists every where so easy to get any thing required if sick.
i have spent 3 months in Cambodia and never had a problem.
Distances are small so a little planning can save any hassles. i dont eat on bus journeys but your kids will so bring some snacks on board.
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is 5 or 6 hours
Phnom Penh to saigon (vietnam) 6 hours
Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville 4 hours
Cambodia is a great place to visit. I normally get bored with Temples but you have to go see Angkor Wat.
#11 vietnamrum has been a member since 21/1/2011. Posts: 39