Thinking About Visiting Cambodia? Here’s Why You Should!
“I know you guys live here, but in America, everyone is talking about trying to visit Cambodia one day!” exclaimed a young, twenty-something traveler.
That got me to thinking…
Just the other day a mom friend of mine in America was messaging me about traveling to Cambodia.
She had oodles of questions.
Was Cambodia safe for kids?
Is it an exotic culture?
Then, a friend from the UK took the plunge and brought her two kids to Cambodia and loved her experience!
She visited Siem Riep, Sihounkville, Phnom Penh and Battambang and enjoyed the different modes of transportation, the new foods and definitely traveling beside brilliant green rice paddies!
American parents love to see their kids grow in knowledge.
Many of them want their want their kids to learn about contrasting cultures.
Maybe they do a month long study on several countries in Africa or Southeast Asia.
They watch videos, read books and even check out travel guides.
But nothing can compare to letting your kids experience a new culture — first-hand.
15 Years ago American parents were not even considering packing up their kids and venturing to SE Asia.
It seemed dangerous — and even a bit scary.
But now Cambodia, and even Thailand, have become more travel-friendly places for families to travel to!
And here’s exactly why your family should consider making the trip!
Why Should American Families Visit Cambodia
You can’t learn a new culture without experiencing it.
After the passports, visas and long plane flights, you’ll see it was completely worth the expense when you step off the airplane into a world of unfamiliar smells, sounds and sites.
There’s no way your family can truly understand those aspects of another country or culture without living in it — at least for a week!
If you want to prep for some Cambodian cuisine for your next trip, here’s my Cambodian stuffed tomato recipe and one of my favorite dishes — Cambodian Lok Lak!
You learn to appreciate your native country even more.
Spending a few weeks in another country helps your family realize that not every country has fast food on every corner, loads of shopping malls, smoothly paved roads, air-conditioned homes, carpeted floors and oodles of new and modern automobiles.
Your kids can learn the world is a much bigger place than it seems!
When you only visit different states in America, your family will find it difficult to truly realize how many countries, cultures and people groups there are.
When you travel all the way to Cambodia, many ties to get to experience other countries along the way during your lay-overs.
We learned a good bit about Korea, Quatar, Japan, and Thailand during our travels!
You can still experience luxury experiences on your trip.
I don’t feel like I’m on vacation unless I’ve splurged a little bit!
Good food, gorgeous pools, a beach and beautiful scenery are what tick the vacation box in my mind.
And when mom’s happy on her vacation, so is the rest of the family!My vacation cup was filled when we drove a few hours past Phnom Penh and discovered a gorgeous resort in Kep, Cambodia.
At Samanea Beach Resort, we were able to rest in comfortable, clean beds and walk on gorgeously tiled floors.
Our girls loved the two twin beds that made them feel like princesses!There was even an outdoor tub and shower that made the resort more exotic, but still luxurious!
I never thought I’d enjoy an outdoor bathtub and shower, but it truly made our trip more fun!
Our kids basically lived in the infinity pool at Samanea Beach Resort.
It was unique in that it had a sand-colored bottom, a kiddie pool for the younger kids and a deeper area — about 6 feet deep — for the more adventurous swimmers.
Not to mention, there were large bean bags around the pool you could sit and relax in. The beach bags brought back the 90’s kid in me…:)
From the pool, we could see the beautiful Gulf of Thailand.
As soon as the beach began beckoning us, we all hopped out of the pool and headed for the wooden pier that overlooked the bay.
At low tide, we could all walk out pretty far past the pier and enjoy playing in the knee-deep water.
Then, the kids would walk back and play in the mushy sand!
Just before you reach the pier, there’s a small wooden bridge that leads through a preserved Mangrove Tree forest! That was a fun and slippery adventure because we visited in-between rain showers!
And did I mention good food?
Samanea Beach Resort had that too.
Tucked away inside the beach resort is a hidden gem called Chankiri. I was immediately impressed by the ambiance.
Long sheer curtains, soft music, tiled floors that looked like they belonged in a boutique in France and every table was decorated pretty ingeniously with cutting boards, white plates and small candles.
On a trip with six kids, it’s always nice to get a little romantic dinner squeezed into your day — even if your kids are sitting at the same table! :)
Three courses made our dinner spectacular.
Beef Tataki, Cape Malay Snapper and South African Malva Pudding truly helped this American family enjoy a luxurious culinary experience while enjoying the sights and sounds of a third-world culture!
We had to thank the amazing new chef for a job well done! She was such a joy to meet!
And the breakfast far exceeded our expectations — it was huge!
Every morning spent at Samanea Beach resort was spent facing a difficult decision. Should we choose the American, Asian or French breakfast?
Touch choice when each selection was tempting!
I always chose the French because it came with avocado toast and chocolate-filled croissants.
Each choice came with several selections as well as french press coffee and tea.
That was perfect for our coffee lovin’ family!
You learn there’s not only one way to get things done!
Shouldn’t we all learn this life lesson? When we’ve traveled to Cambodia, we’ve seen that people do things quite differently than us — but they still get it done!
They’re very resourceful and often re-use almost every container.
Motorcycle taxi drivers use 20 liter water bottles (The kind you see at the water cooler in an office) to keep the engine on the motorcycle cool.
Who would have thought of that? I even saw kids creating kites from discarded plastic bags — and the kites worked!
The Cambodians use banana leaves to wrap food for a convenient on-the-go meal.
Those rice and and bean wraps are only about $0.25.
Convenient and cheap!
Want to know how to climb a tree?
Visit the village and watch a Cambodia climb up to grab some fruit.
Pretty impressive skills!
You learn how to communicate in other ways than English.
Sometimes it’s difficult to get your point across without knowing the Cambodian language.
But you quickly learn that you can act out things, use different words to explain the word you don’t know and even find pictures to point at.
You learn to be much more creative in the art of communication!
You learn that the customer is not always right.
Growing up in America, I was taught the customer was always right.
I was taught that people should be given equal rights.
When I landed in Cambodia, I was not treated according to those standards.
And you know what?
That wasn’t a bad experience for our family.
We learned how to adjust when we felt that we were not being treated fairly.
We learned in order to see some tourist exhibits we would have to pay higher admission just because we were foreigners.
As strange as it sounds, those difficulties have actually helped our family understand that the entire world does not follow the same business policies as America.
You learn to face the unknown — together.
For an American family, Cambodia is a land of unknowns.
An unknown language, unknown food and unknown cities are all within grasp.
You truly learn to work together as a family to face these unknowns.
Because you’re experiencing this together, it helps you grow closer and depend on each other more!
Your learn to appreciate foreign landscapes.I love our American mountains, lakes and trees, but I’ve also enjoyed filling our family’s senses with the views of seemingly endless rice fields and gorgeous Lotus flowers.
During our stay at Samanea Beach Resort, our kids were able to venture out and enjoy playing in a safe, beautiful area with gorgeous palm trees shading their games of freeze tag!
We also were able to grab some views of some smaller mountain ranges that were nearby and wow…the sunsets and sunrises in Cambodia are absolutely not to be missed!
You meet new friends!
Cambodian people are truly unique.
Many of them have never to traveled to America, but they’ve heard of America.
Most Cambodians think Americans eat bread daily and they’re rich.
They’ve often asked me, “How much money do you make? Did you eat bread today?”
Spending time getting to know Cambodians on a more personal level will help you truly see some of the struggles they face and even common superstitions they often fear and believe.
The more Cambodian friends I have, the more I think of the song, “It’s a small world after all!”
If you’ve ever considered bringing your American family to Cambodia for a trip of a lifetime, I say go for it!
Though most travel agencies will encourage you to visit Sihounkville and Siem Riep, I want to encourage you to definitely make a trip to the quiet town of Kep.
It’s a few hours from Phnom Penh and offers a less chaotic travel adventure full of exotic experiences!
And if you want to make your stay luxurious and enjoy modern perks while exploring a new culture, definitely book a few nights stay at Samanea Beach Resort!
Our family stayed at Samanea Beach Resort free of charge in order to give our honest review and opinion. Thank you for making our trip special!