The Children of Siem Reap

Siem Reap Cambodia Angkor Wat Featured Photography

Christmas Eve, we flew from Bali to Siem Reap, this is our first time here in Cambodia, what a breath of fresh air! Our plan was to have an epic Christmas Day, watching the early sun rise over the famous Angkor Wat. It didn’t go as planned, one of our mates caught the Bali bug.

Instead, we were forced to spend the few days recovering and explore our local surroundings. To my surprise, we’ve learned something much more valuable from the kids in Cambodia – One Dollar means everything.

“One Dollar Please”

It didn’t take long at all before we were stopped by a little girl, she had a box of bracelets and postcards in her hands. “One Dollar please”, she repeated. It seems like that’s all the English she knows. As a foreign tourist, I was impulsed to buy from her, or even just give her a dollar. After all, one dollar couldn’t get you much back home (Australia) anyway, it’s no big deal.

Just as we were reaching for our wallets, we saw 5 other kids her age not far from the distance, following tourists, begging for one dollar. Desperately trying to make a sale, these kids don’t have the innocent smiles on their faces as kids their age should have. It was a very disturbed scene to witness, and sympathy washed over me.

Suddenly, I realised just how lucky we are. The minimum level of lifestyle in Australia, is almost too luxurious and far fetched for them. Yet there’s still so many complaints and greed in our lives, we tend to forget, happiness is actually about being grateful and content.

By the time we got to Angkor Wat, I finally gave in to this little boy’s cry. He looked scared and hopeless, begging for one dollar but trying his best to be polite at the same time. I purchased a pack of postcards from him, and with much relief, he ran off.

At the end of the day, while waiting for our transportation, our group was ‘harassed’ by another girl. It was a long wait, and it felt even longer with this little girl persisting and pleading without the slightest intention to give up.

We are taught to persist in life, if we ever want to be successful. I guess this is life’s way of teaching them to survive. With that in mind, my then good friend John (now a loving father to Kyra), whispered to us, “if she doesn’t give up by the time our bus arrives, she would get her one dollar”. That’s for encouraging her to persist until she succeeds.. and she did. I hope that one dollar made her life a tad bit easier, and I truly hope she will persist to find a better way of living when she gets older.

On with our journey, we spent the remaining of our last day admiring these amazing UNESCO archaeological sites.

Angkor Thom

Angkor Wat

Accommodation

Bou Savy Guest House^ is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget stay. There’s different type of rooms to suit families, friends or solo travellers. They offer free tuk tuk airport transfers, which is always a bonus. It’s an unique way to start a holiday in Cambodia, we had way too much fun on the way to the guest house in the tuk tuk!

We were offered welcome drinks and refresher towels upon arrival. The swimming pool area is really nice surrounded in a tropical garden setting. There’s a balcony on every level overlooking the pool, and distant views of the town. Breakfast is nice and affordable with upstairs seatings. Rooms are basic but clean. In summer, I highly recommend booking a room with air conditioning.

Don’t Be A Stranger!

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In the meantime…

Would you give one dollar? What are your thoughts?

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