Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Visiting Cambodia with a toddler

Cambodia might not be the most accessible country for young children, but it can be a lot of fun if you select it as a vacation destination. Here's some feedback to let you know what to expect.

Health & safety:
- Health might be a concern when travelling with young people. Pack a pharmacy before leaving; your travel kit should include drugs such as paediatric pain killers as well as first aid antiseptic solution and strips.
- As agreed with our paediatrician, we preferred to rely on mosquito repellents and mosquito nets to protect our children from malaria or dengue fever. Our children only had few bites, mainly when we were less attentive and didn't apply repellents properly (in areas where there's no report of malaria).
- The U-Care pharmacies in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap distribute the same products as in Europe, good to know in you're out of paediatric sun block.
- For severe health issues, it is generally advised to fly to neighbouring Thailand and seek medical assistance in Bangkok. Siem Reap has a reputably good children hospital. Luckily, we never had to assess the one or other option.
- Beware of errant dogs, particularly in packs. We taught our children not to touch or approach animals  unless we tell them it's safe. Around temples, monkeys are attracted by the food offered to the spirits. Be watchful as they can turn aggressive.

Baby and  travel gear:
- Strollers are not recommended in Cambodia. Roads can be in poor condition, sidewalks are mostly inexistent. We relied on our trusted baby carrier, a good quality backpack.
- Most hotels in the mid-range price category do not offer baby cots. A baby travel tent is the best option for tropical countries as it integrates a mosquito net.
- Most restaurants, except in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, do not have high chairs. Our little one ate many meals on our lap.
- Diapers and baby wipes can be easily found in drugstores, in every city and market. Baby formula is also easily found, although I'd recommend to bring your own as you might not get the exact same brand or formula.
- There's no need to bring too many baby clothes. Numerous shops offer to wash and dry your laundry, it is a convenient and cheap service (max. 2$ per kilo).

All that said, simply enjoy your family time in Cambodia. People will warmly welcome your little one everywhere and you'll bring back precious memories.