Journeys Within, a bed and breakfast and tour company located close to Cambodia's Angkor Wat, offers a first-time Asia experience suitable for families.
Within sight of ruins nearly 1,000-years-old, the little Journeys Within B&B and Bungalows ( 877/454-3672) and tour company has been in business for over two years now in Cambodia. Founded by American ex-pat husband and wife partners Brandon and Andrea Ross, the Siem Reap-based business hosts travelers visiting the famous Buddhist shrine of Angkor Wat and guides them on personalized tours of Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Thailand, and along the mighty Mekong River from China to Vietnam.
According to the company, its 6-night Family Adventure, which includes a stop at the northern walled city of Angkor Thom for elephant rides; a visit to rural Cambodia; and the Angkor Wat site in Siem Reap; is the most popular with families. Ms. Ross notes, “We have specific guides we use for tours with children who have a great way of making information not too overwhelming.”
Family Adventure’s stop in Angkor Thom includes a tour of ancient temples as well as an elephant ride, and a babysitting option in the evening while parents enjoy a romantic dinner. Siem Reap includes a tour of the legendary Angkor Wat, on foot and in a hot-air balloon. (Unexploded landmines are still a concern in rural areas of Cambodia; traveling with your knowledgable Journeys Within guide will ease that concern for your group.) The nearly 1,000-year-old Angkor Wat is part of a 40-mile temple complex that was “rediscovered” in the 1800s and is now a well-visited UNESCO World Heritage site. The final leg of the tour is a trip to rural Cambodia, where you’ll see rice paddies, taste coconut milk, and shop alongside locals.
Back at the Journeys Within B&B, bungalows have been added to the three original rooms, including a two-story family suite with a king-bedded room and bath upstairs, and a sofabed, bathroom and kitchenette below. Additionally, a swimming pool and a Baby Ross are new additions, along with a massage room. Visiting families should plan on staying a few days, as there are local opportunities for hot air balloon rides, visits to a nearby lake and the village school, and walks to a “very ruinous temple” according to Ms. Ross, that kids can climb through.
The Journeys Within B&B and its related tours are at the forefront of Cambodia’s growing popularity as a travel destination on the Southeast Asian circuit. As Cambodia emerges from its hardships of the 1970s and 80s, it remains a relatively poor country with a relatively underdeveloped infrastructure, but tourism establishments are beginning to steadily grow beyond the immediate vicinity of Angkor Wat.
However, we recommend that families considering a journey to this fascinating area, first check the U.S. State Department’s Consular Information Sheet on Cambodia and look for other consular information sheets and travel advisories on neighboring Thailand and Laos prior to making their travel plans.
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