A two-week itinerary for Cambodia with kids
If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia with kids (or without), the chances are Angkor Wat is high on the wishlist for your itinerary – but while many travellers stick with Siem Reap and Phnom Penh only, perhaps with a bit of beach thrown in, there’s plenty more to discover.
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For our trip, I’ve been working with Stubborn Mule Travel, who specialise in tailor-made adventurous family holidays – we’ve done independent travel in South East Asia before, but with limited time and lots to fit in, I wanted to hand over responsibility for local travel and bookings AND get their insider knowledge to plan the perfect trip.
But whether you prefer to book everything independently or not, here’s our two-week itinerary in Cambodia for kids to give you an idea of what’s doable and what to see.
Cambodia family itinerary: Days 1-4 – Siem Reap
You could easily spend longer than a couple of days in Siem Reap, but if you’ve got limited time, this gives a day to get over the worst of the jetlag, a couple of days to explore the main temples and some spare time to discover Siem Reap itself.
With hundreds of temples, Angkor Wat is only the most famous and there are smaller temples, ones hidden in jungle and more to explore.
Seeing the sun rise over Angkor Wat is on a lot of wishlists but if you’re visiting Cambodia with kids, especially younger kids, getting up before dawn is unlikely to be a good start to a day exploring for most families – seeing the sun set is an easier option.
You can get three-day passes (as well as one-day and seven-day versions), which don’t need to be used on consecutive days if you’re staying longer, so don’t try to fit everything in at once.
Siem Reap itself has restaurants, markets and lots of activities, such as cookery classes, to consider too.
You can also use this as your base to discover the floating villages of Tonle Sap, including Kompong Phluk and Mechrey. Arrange a small boat to explore the world heritage site.
The ‘South Gate’ of Angkor Thom with its huge carved stone faces, as well as Bayon, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace and Angkor Wat plus Ta Prohm with its overgrown tree roots.
Beng Melea Temple is another enormous complex that’s still very overgrown, for wannabe Indiana Joneses (all of us, right?)
Siem Reap with kids: Stay at
There’s a big range of accommodation in Siem Reap, for all budgets and whether you’re looking to be in the heart of it all or slightly outside the main centre.
For 12 reasons to visit Cambodia with kids, check out this post
Cambodia family itinerary: Day 5-6 – Battambang
Travel from Siem Reap to Battambang, Cambodia’s second largest city – you can stop at floating villages along the way if you haven’t yet visited Tonle Sap.
As well as the colonial French architecture, there are more temples in the area including hilltop Phnom Banan plus performances at the Phar Ponleu Selpak Big Top school of performing arts and the chance to see bats streaming out of their hillside cave at dusk.
The ‘bamboo train’ – a wooden platform on wheels powered by a motorbike engine, which drives its way around a small railway. EDIT: The original bamboo train which we took, and which ran on a genuine old section of track has been replaced by a purpose built option for tourists but still fun for kids on a Cambodia family holiday.
Battambang with kids: Stay at
With its small number of individually decorated rooms, Maisons Wat Kor manages to make family-friendly feel uniquely Cambodian, although the upper rooms have steep stairs if you’re travelling with toddlers. Also set outside the city itself, there’s a lovely saltwater pool.
Or for another alternative, check out the Battambang Resort.
Cambodia family itinerary: Day 7-9 – Sihanoukhville/Otres Beach
Hit the beaches of the south coast to chill out in Cambodia with kids – you can fly from Siem Reap to Sihanoukhville, which takes around an hour, otherwise it’s a full day’s travelling by road.
There’s a variety of options, including bus and private transfer, many of which go via Phnom Penh and are cheaper than the plane, although some of which have distinctly mixed safety records so it’s worth checking.
Sihanoukhville itself also has a mixed reputation – check out this post from Our Globetrotters – so look outside to Otres Beach for chilled-out beach resorts to kick back and relax a bit between exploring.
You can also stay on some of the islands off the coast, although if you’re travelling in rainy season (as we are), it’s worth bearing in mind that it might not be the most fun journey.
Otres Beach, Cambodia with kids: Stay at
At Otres Beach 2, outside Sihanoukhville itself, the Ren Resort is right on the beach with its own pool, cool spacious rooms and a restaurant on the sand.
Or if you’d rather stay on an island, there’s the Saracen Bay Resort on Koh Rong Samloen – and if you’re pushing the boat right out and fancy some serious luxury, there’s always Song Saa Private Island.
Cambodia family itinerary: Days 10-11 – Cardamom Hills
Head into the countryside to discover the Cardamom Mountains and Koh Kong Province, where you can explore jungle trails, spot birds and wildlife, kayak on the river and see mangrove forest.
It’s off the beaten track, so you’ll need a driver and possibly a boat transfer, but perfect for a taste of the country’s unspoiled mountains – and you can make it as active or as chilled-out as you fancy.
Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia with kids: Stay at
Choose somewhere unique with one of the 12 floating tents at Four Rivers Lodge – this was one of the highlights of our Cambodia family holiday.
It gets booked up in advance, so we were lucky to pick up a cancellation for our dates; another reason booking with local experts can pay off, as we wouldn’t have known without their existing relationship.
If you’re not as lucky, or prefer to sleep on dry land, try the riverfront Rainbow Lodge.
Cambodia family itinerary: Days 12-13 – Kep
Kep National Park is further along the south coast towards Vietnam, with the old colonial town of Kep on the seafront itself.
Discover the crab market and small beach, or head into the national park to spot butterflies. There are pepper plantations nearby and temples.
If you’re travelling outside rainy season or with older kids (or want to chance your luck), you can take a boat trip to Rabbit Island and see the evening bioluminescence in the bay around it.
There are also activities, including cookery classes, to try in the area. Or take some time to chill out as the holiday is almost at an end…
Kep, Cambodia with kids: Stay at
Vanna Hill Resort sits between the sea and the national park. It’s simpler than the others in this itinerary but with a lovely outdoor pool and kids’ pools looking down to the coast.
Cambodia family itinerary: Day 14 – Phnom Penh
Head back to the capital to explore briefly before a flight out the next day – your flight time will dictate how much time you’ll have exploring.
See the Royal Palace, home to Cambodia’s royal family, as well as the market and busy capital, or take a sunset cruise along the Mekong.
A day might not seem enough for the city and it really depends on the age of your family when you’re visiting Cambodia with kids.
If you are travelling with older kids (or have a babysitting option), you may want to allow more time in order to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum and Killing Fields, something I’d recommend to learn more about the country’s tragic recent history.
However, it’s definitely not appropriate with younger kids and not something I could arrange, for practical reasons.
Phnom Penh with kids: Stay at
As at Siem Reap, you won’t be short of choice here when it comes to good places to stay with kids in Phnom Penh – stylish Anise Villa also has a pool which made it a winner for us.
Visiting Cambodia with kids: Don’t forget…
When you’re planning a Cambodia family holiday, allow a full day either side for flights if you’re coming from the UK or the USA, including time to transfer.
We flew from London Heathrow to Siem Reap via Bangkok with Thai Airways, returning from Phnom Penh via Bangkok but there are a variety of other airlines which fly via the Middle East and other stops in South East Asia.
first published 2017, updated 2020
PIN FOR LATER: TWO-WEEK ITINERARY FOR CAMBODIA WITH KIDS
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links – any purchases you make will be unaffected but I may get a small commission. All are places I’ve stayed at or genuinely recommend. My trip was arranged with Stubborn Mule Travel as a press trip.
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