Cambodia has been on the top of our travel bucket list for a long time. Therefore, our epic family trip to Siem Reap a few months ago, was a dream come true. We all fell completely in love with this gorgeous temple town. It fascinated us with its incredible atmosphere, vibrant food & dining scene and the kindest local people we’ve met so far in Southeast Asia. And of course, the Ancient city of Angkor! Exploring the ruins of Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the wonders of the world, has been an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. I have no words to describe how breathtakingly beautiful is this world heritage site. If you still haven’t been there, you should add it to your travel wishlist! Take your kiddos with you and let them feel the magic of Cambodia…
Family trip to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat with the kids
Getting to Siem Reap
All international flights arrive at Siem Reap International Airport, a lovely small airport, located 7-8 km to downtown Siem Reap. In fact, there are no direct flights from Cambodia to the West, so if you’re flying from Europe, Africa, Australia or the Americas, you will transit through one of the Asian hubs (Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Beiging, etc.) Since we were living in Thailand at that time, we arrived in Siem Reap with a direct flight from Phuket, operated by Air Asia (Asia’s leading low-cost airline).
Most hotels and guest houses in Siem Reap, including our Airbnb hotel, offer a free pick-up service from the airport. Otherwise, you can book a transfer in advance or take a taxi from the airport.
Cambodia visa & Travel requirements
When visiting Cambodia, you have to present a valid passport (at least 6 months beyond the entry date) and Cambodia visa (if needed). There are three options to get a 30-day single entry tourist visa:
- getting your visa in advance in the Cambodia Embassy or Consulate within your country;
- getting Cambodia e-visa online from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affair & International Cooperation’s web site. This will cost you another US$ 5 , but will save you some time and will speed up the process at the airport. You can print your electronic visa in advance and go straight to the e-visa immigration line;
- getting Visa On Arrival at Siem Reap International Airport. We preferred this option and were pleasantly surprised how simple and easy was the whole process. All we needed was US$30 per person, one passport photo and a correctly filled-in application form (don’t forget to bring a pen with you).
Weather in Siem Reap
We took our family trip to Siem Reap at the end of January, when the weather was absolutely fantastic. We enjoyed cool nights and pleasant temperatures during the day (not more than 30 degrees). In fact, the dry season runs from November to March and is one of the best time to visit the temple town. April is the hottest month of the year. The rainy season lasts from May to October, as September is the wettest month. Generally, everything is lush and green during this period and the temples look stunningly beautiful. So, I am wondering whether next time we should visit Siem Reap during rainy season? : )
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Siem Reap has plenty of adorable hostels and guest houses, as well as budget-friendly and luxury hotels. We have booked via Airbnb a lovely small family-friendly hotel, located away from the hustle and bustle of the town. The place was absolutely gorgeous. We totally enjoyed our comfy family room and the peaceful outdoor chill out area with a swimming pool. As anywhere in Siem Reap, the staff were extremely polite and friendly, and fell in love with our two monkeys : )
Transportation in Siem Reap
The Cambodian tuk-tuk, called remork (a trailer, attached to a motorbike) is the best way of getting around Siem Reap. The prices usually depend on the distance, but you can always negotiate with the driver. Although it’s slower, this option is much cheaper and a lot more fun than the taxi. Especially, if you are with your kiddos : )
As many hotels in Siem Reap, our lovely hotel had English-speaking remork drivers on-staff who were always ready to take us somewhere. We were lucky to meet the nicest man in the world, who became our private driver during our stay in Siem Reap. He absolutely adored the kids and was always so patient, attentive and kind. We made the tours to Angkor Wat with him (for the cost of US$18 per day) and went twice per day to the center for lunch and dinner (for US$ 3 per ride). The last day, he was so happy to get up early in the morning and take us at 5 am back to the airport (that costed US$ 5).
If you prefer an air-conditioned transport, then the taxi is for you. We haven’t used it in Siem Reap, so I really don’t know what are the prices, however I’m sure it’s much more expensive than the remork. Some tourists prefer to make the Angkor Wat tours by air-conditioned car or van, as the prices here usually start from US$ 30.
For those who are solo travelers, there is another option, called moto (motorcycle taxi). Short trips within downtown Siem Reap will cost you around US$ 1. You can also explore the ruins of Angkor Wat by moto, but you have to negotiate the price with the driver.
Another budget-friendly way of getting around Siem Reap is renting a bicycle. We saw plenty of tourists (cute families with babies, singles and couples) cycling around the town. They all looked happy, so I guess this option is as much lovely as the remork. Most hotels and guest houses offer free bicycle service, included in the room rate. If there aren’t bicycles at your disposal, you can rent them from some of the rental shops at Wat Bo Road. The daily prices start from US$ 1 for a fancy old-fashioned bicycle to US$ 3 for a cool mountain bike.
Food & Dining in Siem Reap
When we arrived in Siem Reap, we couldn’t believe that this lovely temple town has such a vibrant food & dining scene. As plant-based food lovers, we were amazed by the great abundance of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Each place had a stunning decor and such an incredible ambiance. We tasted plenty of healthy and heavenly delicious food, served by the most adorable people. So, check out our guide to The Best Vegan Restaurants in Siem Reap, that we highly recommend you to visit!
Fruits & Vegetables in Siem Reap
As any other country in Southeast Asia, Cambodia has a great variety of yummy tropical fruits and fresh greens & veggies. Also, the coconuts here are super huge and sooo delicious!
Shopping in Siem Reap
You will fall in love with the amazing shopping scene of Siem Reap! There are plenty of art galleries, cute boutiques and outdoor markets, where you can find gorgeous value-for-money goods, dedicated to Cambodian craftsmanship (ceramics, silverware, stone carvings, silks, etc.) as well as lovely paintings, souvenirs, gorgeous natural handbags and clothes. Don’t miss the chance to stroll around the cute adorable shops in the Old town. Angkor Night Market and The Old Marked (Psar Chas), located along Siem Reap River are a must visit. Made in Cambodia is another lovely market, worth visiting. If you are interested in authentic Khmer handcrafts, homeware and textiles, head to Artisans d’Angkor, a beautiful art & craft center with numerous workshops, providing employment to over 1 000 local artisans.
Since we’re not huge fans of shopping malls, we haven’t visited any of them. However if you prefer this option for shopping, check out Lucky Mall (the most popular in Siem Reap), Angkor Trade Center and King’s Road Angkor, a dining & shopping village.
Nightlife in Siem Reap
Who knew that this Cambodian small temple town had such a fabulous night life? We strolled around Pub Street in the evening and absolutely adored the lively atmosphere there. A great mix of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants with happy smiling people, having fun and enjoying a great time in Siem Reap : )
Exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat
Exploring the ruins of Angkor Wat with your little ones is not a mission impossible! It’s an exquisite and unforgettable experience of a lifetime for both parents and kids. There is somethings truly magical about this place, that just captures your heart. The history, the stunning nature, the breathtakingly beautiful temples and monasteries…. I still have no words to describe it! What I really know, is that taking your kids on this amazing adventure of a lifetime, is one of the best gifts you can give themselves. We are beyond happy that we managed to show our two monkeys (aged 8 and 5) one of the wonders of the world. They enjoyed every minute of this incredible journey and appreciated the beauty of this majestic place. So proud of them!
People of Siem Reap
And last but not at least, the people of Siem Reap were the loveliest people we’ve met so far in Southeast Asia. Everywhere, they were extremely kind, polite and friendly. They spoke English very well, so the communication was smooth and easy. They absolutely adored our kids and were always so nice and attentive. Also, the Cambodian kids were the cutest little sunshines in the world : )
Well, guys, I hope our family trip to Siem Reap has brought you some lovely travel inspiration. Don’t be afraid of traveling with your kids around the world. One day, they will appreciate this amazing gift and will be so grateful for what they received!
Love & Good vibes,
Photo credit: Tofobo Family