Angko Wat and Cambodia with kids

Cambodia With Kids - Best Attractions in Siem Reap

Is travelling to Cambodia and exploring Angkor Wat with kids good idea? In our opinion it's not just a good idea. Cambodia is fantastic destination for family vacation. 

We spent a wonderful time in Cambodia, visiting various attractions in Siem Reap, from temples to family friendly spots. We came back home delighted and one day we would love to go there again. See why I recommend this destination for a vacation with children.

Is it worth visiting Angkor with a guide?

For us, visiting Angkor without a guide would be just admiring the majestic buildings. You can do that too, but it's like watching a movie without audio. Therefore, I encourage you to take a guided tour that will provide transportation and arrange a tour program tailored to your needs and abilities. 

The tour program of our trip included time to rest in the middle of the day, and the sightseeing was broken into two sessions; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.In addition, we did not have to worry about anything,as we were picked up from the hotel by van at scheduled times and dropped off again at the end of the tour. We were provided with cold water and wet towels to freshen up. 

Cambodia with kids

I highly recommend tour_gui_cambodia. A guided tour does not exclude visiting other Siem Reap attractions on your own. 

Cambodia with kids - what to do in Siem Reap

Cambodia with kids
Ta Prohm

We flew to Siem Reap for four days on Air Asia from Bangkok, trying to spend the short time as best we could. 

The main purpose of our trip was to visit the Angkor complex and the city of Siem Reap. In addition to visiting the temples, we also managed to see some exciting and less touristy sites. Find out what I strongly recommend you see in Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat with kids

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm Siem Reap
Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm is a distinctive temple whose buildings are surrounded by large banyan and kapok trees. The place is truly magical and absolutely splendid. 

We started our visiting of this temple in the early morning. At 8:00 a.m. we left the hotel, from where we first went to buy tickets to the Angkor compound.

After buying tickets, we headed straight to Ta Prohm which lies in a densely tree-lined area.

Angkor Wat i Kambodża z dziećmi

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple Kambodża z dziećmi
Bayon Temple View
Kambodża Tonle Om
Tonle Om Bridge view

Bayon Temple is a majestic temple staggering in size, with numerous towers and wall reliefs depicting scenes from the lives and important events of the inhabitants of the former capital of the Khmer Empire. The temple is distinguished by hundreds of smiling Buddha images, four for each of the dozens of towers. 

To get to the Bayon site you have to enter through the Tonle Om gate, which in the old days guarded the entrance to the city of Angkor Thom. We started the tour at 3 p.m. and finished around 5 p.m. There are macaques running around the temple grounds, but it's better to keep your distance.

Angkor Wat at sunrise with kids

Angkor Wat Cambodia with kids
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat i Kambodza z dziećmi
Angkor Wat with kids

To admire Angkor Wat illuminated by the first rays of the sun, we had to leave the hotel at 5.00am. At around 5.30am, in complete darkness, we were already there and waiting for the sun to rise. We didn't have to wait long, as it was getting a little brighter every minute until we finally saw the temple in its full glory against the colourful sky.

Although we admired the spectacle together with a large group of tourists, we did not feel crowded inside the temple at all. We finished the tour at around 7.30 and returned to the hotel for a rest. 

 

We were supposed to visit one more temple in the afternoon of the same day, but we changed the programme by choosing something interesting for the children. 

Siem Reap with kids must visit: Apopo Visitor Center

Apopo Visitor Center show

To this day, Cambodia remains one of the most mined countries in the world, as a result of the various armed conflicts that swept through this beautiful country in the second half of the 20th century. Dozens of civilians, including children, are exposed to death or disability every day.

Currently, there are several organisations in Cambodia that aim to remove mines. We decided to go to the Apopo, and it was an unforgettable visit for us and the children. What makes Apopo special is that they train and use giant African rats (giant pouched rats) to detect mines.

Rats are used because of excellent sense of smell and intelligence, so they can be trained to search for trace amounts of TNT. But rats are not in danger as they are light enough not to trigger the mines. The animals only work for a strictly limited period of time, after which they go for a well deserved retire.

Price: 8$ for ticket 

Transport was included in the price of our 2-day guided tour.

By visiting Apopo you are co-funding the Cambodian demining project. You can also support this organization by 'adopting' a rat or through a donation.

Lotus Farm by Samatoa

Practicing making lotus yarns

Lotus Farm by Samatoa is located about 9 km south of Siem Reap. It is well worth a visit to see how handmade lotus threads and fabrics are made. By the way, you can learn how to decoratively fold lotuses, have lotus tea or buy a souvenir.

We went to the farm in the pouring rain that fell that afternoon regardless of the dry season. Because of the rain we didn't get to visit the entire farm, but it still couldn't stop us learning how to make lotus yarns. It is incredible how these are made and how much work it requires to produce one scarf.

Price: The farm visit was free, but you can participate one of the interesting paid workshops. Transport was included in the price of our 2-day guided tour.

Butterfly Paradise garden in Siem Reap

Butterfly Paradise Siem Reap with kids

We visited Butterfly Paradise on our own. This place is located about a 15-20 minute drive south-west from Siem Reap. To get there we arranged a tuk tuk driver who brought us there and was waiting for us.

It is definitely a place that children will love. Adults should also enjoy it because the garden is really beautiful and well-kept. You can spend a pleasant afternoon there admiring the plants and animals. After the tour, you can have a meal at the on-site restaurant and buy a souvenir. 

The only thing that needs to be improved is the mini zoo, where the animals should have bigger and better equipped cages. 

Price: 7,50$ per adult, 5,5$ per child

But Butterfly Paradise is more than a butterfly garden, it is a project to run and fun of an orphanage for children. The orphanage is located in the same area as the garden, but due to the protection of the children, tourists are NOT allowed to enter the orphanage and this is how it should be.  

Visiting Siem Reap with kids

Bayon Pastry School Café

Siem Reap is such beautiful city and is an attraction by itself. I recommend you to explore it by just walking around or by taking a tuk tuk. You will definitely find plenty of restaurants, interesting cafes and street stalls. There are lots of posts-colonial buildings as well as typical local highlights, accompanied by greenery in the city. 

 

Siem Reap Kambodza z dzieckiem
Ulice Siem Reap Kambodza z dzieckiem

Travelling Cambodia with kids - practical information

Tourist visa to Cambodia

Most of the countries are subject to tourist visa requirements for entry. A tourist visa is issued for 30 days. You can obtain a visa:

It took us less than 10 minutes to get our on arrival visa at Siem Reap airport, including standing in line. The whole process was quick and smooth. You give your passport at one counter, make a payment (in cash) at a second counter and a couple of minutes later you receive your passport with the visa.
 
Always check current entry requirements before travelling.

Currency used in Cambodia

In Cambodia, you can use the local currency, which is Cambodian riel (KHR) as well as US dollars (USD). Although prices are mostly given in dollars at tourist locations, it is possible to pay in both currencies, with the change being given in riels.

Tickets to Angkor

The price list of tickets and practical information can be found at  https://www.angkorenterprise.gov.kh/

Ticket prices:

  • 37$ - 1-day ticket
  • 62$ - 3-day ticket
  • 72$ - 7-day ticket

Children under 12 years of age do not pay for tickets, but you may be asked to show your child's passport. It is sufficient to have a photo of the passport. We visited Angkor in 2 days and it paid off to buy a 3-day pass.

Visiting temples - practical tips

  • Because of the entrance fee prices, it is tempting to see as many attractions of the Angkor Complex as possible in one day. However, if you are with children, I would not recommend this idea.
  • It is quite an effort to explore two temples in one day. I strongly recommend visiting the temples in the morning or in the afternoon with a midday refreshment break.
  • Please note that there are dress codes that apply in the temples and these rules involve children. Your knees and shoulders must be covered. At Angkor Wat, a scarf draped around your shoulders is not enough, you need to wear a shirt with sleeves. 
  • When visiting Angkor Wat at sunrise, repellent may be useful, as dawn is the time of activity for tiger mosquitoes.

Where to stay in Siem Reap?

The choice of hotels in Siem Reap is vast and for all budgets. Everyone is likely to find something for their needs.

As we were travelling with three adults and three children, we were looking for a place that offered family rooms. We chose the Koulen Hotel because of the three bedroom suite option. Another positive was the excellent swimming pool. The hotel was great in terms of standard, cleanliness and location. We had about a 10 min walk to the old town and about 1 min to the shopping centre.

Kambodża Siem Reap hotel
Koulen Hotel

Transportation in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a small enough town that many places can be reached on foot. However there is also a large selection of taxis and tuktuks available. 

Tuk tuks in Siem Reap look very different to those in Thailand. Many of them are simply motorbikes with a trailer like the one pictured here.

Quite easily we found a tuk tuk driver who drove us around during our stay. Depending on the distance, we paid $2-3 for the ride across town. We paid $10 for a round trip to Butterfly Paradise (the driver was waiting for us).

Tuk tuk w Kambodży
A characteristic tuk tuk in Cambodia

Kids friendly Siem Reap

Siem Reap surprised us very positively with the quality of the walkways and main roads. From what our guide told us, the city had done major renovations during the pandemic.

The walkways in the centre are smooth, straight and have ramps, making them accessible to wheelchair users and for pushchairs. Taking a baby stroller to the Siem Ream is a really good idea. Siem Reap sets an example for many other countries in the region to follow. Traffic on the roads is calm and drivers are stopping quite often to let pedestrians pass in the lanes.

While getting around Siem Reap with a pushchair should not cause any problems, you should bring a baby carrier when visiting the temples. 

Walkways in Siem Reap city center

Khmer cuisine and food

I found Khmer cuisine so delicious. At first glance it is quite similar to Thai food. Even many of the dishes names are similar, but the difference is in taste and spiciness. Khmer food is less spicy, sometimes even mild, and some additions, such as roasted red ants, are surprising. 

However, if children don't like Asian food, there is a good selection of Western dishes in many restaurants. There will be a separate post about where and what to eat in Siem Reap.

I recommend you Paula Bielak's Instagram profile to follow if you would like to know more about tasty Khmer food: @nicetoeatyou___

Travel health recommendations

No vaccinations are currently required before travelling to Cambodia, but vaccinations for hepatitis a and typhoid, among others, are recommended. Remember to protect yourself from mosquitoes, maintain hand hygiene, drink bottled water and avoid direct contact with animals. 
You should seek a doctor's advice before travelling and check guidelines for travellers to Cambodia at: CDC 

We go on every trip accompanied by a health insurance and a first aid kit in which, as a minimum, we have:

  • painkillers
  • wound disinfectant
  • bandages and plasters
  • medications for stomach problems and diarrhoea
  • mosquito repellent with DEET (local Soffel 13%) or with icaridin. Do not use repellents with DEET and icaridin at the same time!
  • anti mosquito patch with citronella oils 
  • soothing ointment for burns 
  • UV50 sunscreen
  • soothing ointment for bites and itching 

When to travel to Cambodia?

If you want to avoid the rainy season, the best time to come is from November to April when rainfall is at its lowest. Taking temperature into account, two periods can be distinguished:

  • December - January: coolest months (average: 21 - 31C)
    This is definitely the best time to arrive in terms of both rainfall and pleasant temperatures. 
  • March - May: summer, highest temperatures of the year (average: 23 - 34C)
    Visiting at this time can be very exhausting, as the perceived temperatures are around 40C.
 

Source: climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org

We visited Siem Reap in mid-February and had great weather with only one rainy episode in the afternoon. The mornings were very pleasant with temperatures around 21-23 C, during the day it got much warmer but still bearable.

Kiedy jechać do Tajlandii, pora deszczowa w Tajlandii
When to travel to Thailand?

If you are planning to visit Cambodia together with a visit to the adjacent Thailand, with this post you will have a good insight on when to plan your trip.

Cambodia with kids - available products

While shopping at the larger grocery shop (Lucky) in The Heritage Walk shopping mall, I noticed that the selection of baby products from nappies to food was quite large. 

Indicative prices:

  • nappies: $19 for 76 pcs
  • prepared food: $5 for 2 Gerber brand pcs. 
  • porridge: 2.22$ per pack
  • baby milk formula: $13 - $27 per can 

Was it worth and safe to travel to Cambodia with kids?

Many people believe Cambodia is an unsafe destination and therefore not suitable for children, but they write the same thing about Thailand. We know Thailand very well as this is our current home. We strongly disagree and believe that all travel requires the use of common sense and taking safety precautions at a minimum. 

The trip to Cambodia will stay in our memories for a very long time. We were totally enchanted by the beauty of the country and its unique atmosphere, which is beyond words. We felt very comfortable and safe in Cambodia. 

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