If you’re planning a family holiday to Cambodia with kids, it’s important to manage your expecations about just how they will respond to those famous UNESCO temples. If the kids enjoy historical sites, then Siem Reap with kids can be a marvellous way to step back in time. But in reality, kids are just as likely to find the entire experience all too hot and boring – and that doesn’t make for a positive family holiday experience for anyone. As a back up, here are a few ideas for other activities for kids in Siem Reap that can help to break up long days of temple hopping in the tropics.
[For some general travel tips on how to visit Siem Reap with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Siem Reap with kids does have a lot more to offer beyond just walking around the temple ruins. Indeed, right within the Angkor Wat park is the Flight of the Gibbon zipline course that will allow you to experience the Cambodian jungle from a different perspective. There are 10 ziplines and four hanging bridges that allow families to take in the jungle canopy. While you’re swinging around up there you might also spot some of the local gibbons hanging about in the trees too. While there is no age restriction (only a height restriction of 1 metre), it’s advisable that kids should be at least 5 years old before they participate. Usually small kids will be strapped to a guide on the zipline. It’s best to plan to arrive at the course early in the morning to avoid the heat and the rain.
The Khmer Ceramics & Fine Arts Centre has a variety of classes on offer that will allow children to create their own pottery pieces. Depending on the package you buy, you can either paint your own cup and take it home or you can have a few different attempts before selecting the one you like which will be fired up and then delivered safely to your hotel. The classes are quite hands on and children will be allowed to have a turn at using the spinning pottery wheel.
Senteurs de Angkor specialise in creating aromatic products from soaps and body lotions to curry spices and jams. Visiting here is a hedonistic sensory experience and you can choose to simply walk through the workshop and watch how the candles and incense are made or otherwise engage with the craftspeople and try to weave your own a sugar palm leaf box.
A few hours on the Mekong Delta make for a pleasant and easy way to observe life in Siem Reap with kids without having to go to too much effort. This is where you will see fishermen going about their business, vegetable vendors selling their wares right on the water and kids attending local floating schools. It’s a fascinating insight into a different world from the one we usually live in and a nice cool activity to do in the heat of the afternoon.
Of course observing a different way of life is one of the best ways to learn (and be entertained) in a foreign and in Siem Reap this is done easily enough just from the window of any car. Along the roadside you will be able to spot livestock pulling carts, live animals strapped to motorcycles and motorcycles loaded up with the most unbelievable volume of produce. Encouraging the kids to watch and talk about what they see will make any commute seem like a fun game, rather than a journey sitting in traffic.
For more travel tips on activities to do with kids around the temples of Siem Reap, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
For ideas on philanthropic activities to do with kids in Cambodia, see the suitcases&strollers story House-Building Trips
Contributions by Iona Levinson; Images: suitcases&strollers, Iona Levinson