A visit to Angkor Wat is a must do when traveling to Siem Reap with kids. This temple is amazing. Your kids will have fun exploring the various nooks and crannies and checking out the intricately carved stones. There is a horse ride available for a fee which takes you on a stroll around the pond. Bring lots of water-its hot out there! Hire a guide who can give you the insight on this beautiful place. You can purchase a one day pass for $20, 3 consecutive days for $40 and 7 consecutive days for $60. Kids under 12 are free (bring passports for older kids to prove they are under 12). When we went we bought the 3 day pass and did some temples in the morning, relaxed by the pool for a bit in the afternoon and then headed out in the late afternoon again.
Another fascinating Siem Reap attraction to visit with your family is Angkor Thom. This is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap with kids. Children will like exploring this huge walled compound. It is surrounded by a moat and contains the spell binding Bayon Temple. This temple has huge towers that each have four giant smiling faces. Kids will get a kick out of the Terrace of the Elephants where they can see a long wall carved with elephants. There are lots of grassy areas and huge trees that can provide a little shade from the sun.
Go for an elephant ride with the kids. You can stroll the roads near Angkor Thom on top of an elephant. Kids will giggle over this and I have to admit I thought it was pretty amusing too!
If you are traveling to Siem Reap with teenagers or older kids then consider doing an ATV Tour through the country side. Children can ride with a parent or with the tour guide. Older teenagers can ride on their own. There are various full or half day tours through the rice paddies or around the temples.
Another one of the fun things to do in Siem Reap with children is to go horseback riding through the country side of Cambodia. The Happy Ranch offers 1-4 hour tours. It also offers horse drawn cart rides around the rural areas of town.
One of the best things to do in Siem Reap with children is to take a cooking class together. Budding chefs will have fun chopping the ingredients and learning how to cook the Khmer dishes. And of course the best part is you get to enjoy your delicious meal. If you are staying at the Palm Village hotel they offer simple cooking instruction or you can sign up for a class at Le Tigre de Papier where you start with a visit to the local market to pick up your ingredients.
Be sure to sample the delicious Cambodian food. The Khmer cuisine is quite delicious. Most kids will love the Khmer chicken soup (even picky eaters go for this one!), fresh spring rolls and coconut curries.
Spend a few hours exploring the Cambodian Cultural Village. The kids see the various types of traditional housing, the wax museum, the miniatures and seeing the artisans carving. There are plenty of traditional shows to watch and there is a restaurant on site.
Head to the Angkor Night Market to do some souvenir shopping. You will find a good mix of souvenirs available as well as a mini cinema at the end showing movies about the history of Cambodia. There is also a place to soak your feet and have fish nibble the dead skin off (it really tickles!!!)! There is usually live music playing as well.
Visit the Puok Silk Farm with your family and you can see how silk is made. Your kids can hold a silk worm and see the silk being extracted. After watch the silk being dyed the bright colors and then woven into a beautiful fabric.
Stop at the Blue Pumpkin in town to cool off with some tasty ice cream or try some fresh baked goods while relaxing on one of the comfy couches.
Join a Khmer Ceramics Class. Kids love creating their own pottery masterpieces. The pots will be fired and glazed and delivered to your hotel within 24 hours. You will also have a tour of the facility and can see the artisans at work. This is a fab thing to do in Siem Reap with your family and creates a lasting memory to display in your home on return!
Every evening along the highway to the temples there is a picnic held by the locals. If you are feeling adventurous your family can join in and taste some exotic treats such as roast crickets (errr no thanks!). There are various BBQ stalls and a fair ground with rides and games too.
My kids also enjoyed our day trip to the floating village on Lake Tonle Sap. This area is inhabited mostly by the Vietnamese community. It is a fascinating glimpse into life in this area. You catch a boat which takes you on a tour. You will see the floating school, homes and enterprising children floating in buckets selling soft drinks. You may even see a floating pig pen. There is a floating restaurant where you can have a meal or a drink, it has a souvenir shop, crocodile pen, and various fish. One of the most fascinating things to do in Siem Reap with kids.
If your family is visiting Siem Reap on a Saturday then head to the free cello concert held by Dr Richner. This Swiss doctor has helped to build 4 children's hospitals in Cambodia. He will inform you of the health and poverty in Cambodia and share the details of his latest projects. Cash donations are greatly appreciated.
A visit to Artisans d'Angkor will inspire your budding artists. This organization trains young Cambodian artists on how to create traditional handicrafts. They offer a tour where your children can see the artists practicing their trade (woodworking, stone carving, painting). There is also a tour available to visit the silk farm in the country side. After you can visit the souvenir shop to purchase quality handmade goods.
A visit to the Land mine Museum is a great place for the kids to learn about land mines and the harm that they can do. This museum was created by Aki Ra (one of CNN Heros of 2010) who was once a child soldier with the Khmer Rouge laying landmines. He now spends his time removing as many possible landmines so that the children of Cambodia can play freely. He also provides a loving home to many children that have been injured by the land mines.
Combine a visit to the landmine museum with a stop at the Angkor Butterfly Centre. This is South East Asia's largest butterfly exhibit. Your kids will love seeing the thousands of colorful butterflies that are native to Cambodia in the netted tropical garden. They can learn about the life cycle of the butterfly and see them feed.
Children will enjoy a visit to Madame Sachiko Cookie Shop. Here you can taste delicious cookies made from local Cambodian ingredients such as cashew nuts, palm sugar and honey. The kids will love the Angkor Wat shaped cookies and sampling the various flavors such as coconut cookies, black pepper cookies and lotus tea cookies. These make great souvenirs to bring home!
Ta Prohm is another excellent place to see with kids in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This temple complex is located deep within the jungle and has huge tree roots growing through the ruins. This maybe a difficult spot to visit with babies or toddlers as the grounds are very uneven and bumpy, but older kids will have a blast climbing around here. Rent the Tomb Raider movie before you go so the kids can have a preview of this amazing place.
ACODO is a wonderful orphanage that is aiding young Cambodian children to have a better future. Every evening at 6:30 you can view a free traditional show where the children dance and sing in beautiful costumes. Donations are greatly appreciated. Packing some school supplies or toiletries to donate is appreciated. Your family may even be able to volunteer for a day here by teaching an English class, art class or sports event. This is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap.
Have lunch at Butterflies Garden Restaurant where you can dine amongst beautiful flowering plants and fruit trees. Kids will adore seeing the colorful butterflies and the fish pond.
Another one of the fun things to do in Siem Reap is to explore the town on one of the motorcycle tuk tuks. They can easily hold a family of four. My kids and I loved this. We saw many interesting things this way such as a pig being transported on a motorcycle, a family of 5 all on one moped and kids waving to us from their yards.
Visit the Psar Chaa-Old Market in town with the kids. They can practice their bargaining skills and spend their allowance on the colorful trinkets. Teenagers are enchanted with this place. The market has lovely silk products such as dresses, purses, pillows, scarfs and table cloths. There is also beautiful paintings, jewelery, cheap clothing and imitation watches and sunglasses. A great souvenir is one of the kick toys. Kids can join in the fun at one of the local parks. There is also a meat and produce section that is interesting to see (though quite smelly!).
Head to the crocodile farm for an interesting outing. You can purchase fish to feed them (you throw it from off a bridge over the pits of crocodiles). My kids were fascinated with watching them eat. This is one of the unique things to do in Siem Reap with kids.
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