3 Days in Siem Reap with Kids

Author: Dan Brewer

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There’s just something magical about exploring ruins with kids. If your family loves adventure and exotic locations, then a visit to Siem Reap with kids is the ideal family vacation for you. Home to Angkor Wat, a finalist for the 7 Modern Wonders of the World, there are endless ancient temples for your family to explore.

Celine and I visited Siem Reap, Cambodia the first time 15 years ago without kids. When we recently planned a family trip to Thailand, we were excited to add on a 3 day trip to Siem Reap with our kids (aged 8 &10) to show them the wonders of the Angkor Wat archaeological site.

Dan and Celine Brewer, stand in front of Angkor Wat during their trip to Siem Reap with kids.

As we had hoped, they loved our family trip to Cambodia in South East Asia. To help you plan your family trip, here is how we spent our family trip to Siem Reap:  

Our 3 Day Siem Reap Itinerary with Kids

Day 1 – Family Friendly Angkor Wat Private Tour with Sunset

We love visiting ruined temples with our kids. There’s something that’s just so exciting about wandering around an ancient civilization with your kids, watching their little imaginations going wild.

To be honest, we don’t normally get a guide for most of the ruined temples we visit, but Angkor Wat felt different. A visit to the temple complex of Angkor Wat felt bigger and more important than some of the other ruins we have visited, so we elected to get a private 2-day family-friendly tour of Angkor Wat, and we’re glad we did.

a 10-year old girl poses for a funny picture during a private 2-day tour of Angkor Wat with her family.

Our tour guide and his driver picked us up in a nice air-conditioned van at our Siem Reap hotel. The air conditioned van was a real treat to get into after visiting each temple as it was 33°C / 91°F outside. Our guide had a cooler full of cold, wet towels and ice cold water bottles, which were also waiting for us after each temple visit – a nice touch that we all thoroughly appreciated.

Another benefit of having a private family tour of Angkor Wat included having a guide who knows where all the best picture spots are and then being able to take family pictures of us.

the entire FamilyCanTravel.com team poses for a picture in front of a fig tree at the Tomb Raider Temple in the Angkor Wat complex.
Getting so many family pictures was a real treat!

In-between one of the temple visits, we stopped and explored a small Cambodian village on foot. We would have never had this experience without having a guide. The highlight was the three tiny local kids who came running up, all excited, saying hello and blowing us kisses. A close second was trying Nomtnot – a Cambodian palm cake with coconut milk inside – so good!

A 10-year old girl interacts with two small children from a village while on a family-friendly Angkor Wat tour.
Our kids loved interacting with the local kids.

We visited 5 temples on the first day of our private tour of the Angkor archaeological park:

1. Pri Rup Temple

This 10th century Hindu temple was our favorite one of the day. The Pri Rup temple was big and showy with lots of amazing picture opportunities. It also showcases the Cambodian love of odd numbers – the temple is 5 stories high, with two sets of 5 towers. We enjoyed the excellent jungle views from the upper level of the Pri Rup temple.

The Pri Rup Temple in the Angkor Wat complex just outside Siem Reap, Cambodia.

2. Neak Poan Temple

This 12th century temple is a lot of fun to visit with kids. Located on a small island in the middle of a massive ancient water reservoir, the Neak Poan is known as the “Intertwined Snake” temple.

A very unique temple in the Angkor Wat complex, most of the Neak Poan temple is submerged – including two stone snakes whose tails are intertwined. The walk to the temple across a walkway over the water is especially beautiful, with many morning glory lotus flowers blooming along the pathway.

morning glory lotus flowers in full bloom in the lake on the way to the Neak Poan Temple in Cambodia.

3. Preah Khan Temple

The entrance to the 13th century Preah Khan temple is really cool, with 23 demons and 23 gods lined up each holding a 7-headed snake. I defy you to find a kid who doesn’t find that super-cool!

the entrance to the Preah Khan Temple is lined with 23 gods and 23 demons carrying a 7-headed snake.

4. Banteay Srei Temple

This 10th century temple is known as the “City of Women”. Built by a guru, and not a king, this modest temple is notable for its pink sandstone and incredibly intricate carvings. It was chilling to see bullet holes in some of the columns from the Khmer Rouge war.

Celine Brewer, owner of the Family Can Travel blog, walks with her children through the Banteay Srei Temple on a family trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

5. Phnom Bakheng Temple

Our final stop of the day was a 9th century temple built atop a hill. This temple is very popular as a spot to watch the sunset in Siem Reap. Our kids were not old enough to be allowed on the temple to watch the sunset, but that’s ok – we watched it from a nearby platform, which was almost as good.

Celine Brewer and her kids take in the sunset at Phnom Bakheng Temple after a day of temple visits during a family vacation to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

It should be noted that today’s tour was approximately 9 hours, and in the hot heat, it was a bit long for our kids. It seemed like they were getting bored on occasion as our guide explained stuff, but they usually perked right up when we began exploring again.

Day 2 – Sunrise Angkor Wat Tour with Kids

Today we got up at 4:10 AM in order to meet our guide for a 4:40 AM pickup at our Siem Reap hotel. Our private 2 day tour of the Angkor Wat complex not only included a sunset component, but also watching the sun rise behind Angkor Wat.

Our hotel made our breakfast to go, so we ate it in our comfy passenger van on our way to Angkor Wat. Upon arriving, we followed the light of our guide’s flashlight as we walked through the pitch black towards Cambodia’s most famous temple. The Big Dipper was in full display in front of us, as well as Venus, who was shining so brightly in the sky.

Arriving at Angkor Wat before sunrise.
Walking through Angkor Wat in the dark was a fun experience!

Our guide was bang-on with his 4:40 pickup as we secured one of the final waterfront spots for watching the Angkor Wat sunrise. The air was still and the mirror effect of Angkor Wat in the water was nearly flawless, save for the fish coming up to the surface.

1. Angkor Wat at Sunrise

At first, we could barely see the iconic towers of the Angkor Wat temple, but as the sun slowly started to rise, we were treated to an incredible silhouette. With the temple reflecting in the water and the sky slowly becoming bright, it was a truly amazing experience. Our kids were pretty tired, but I’m certain that watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat is something they won’t soon forget.

A beautiful reflection picture of the Angkor Wat Temple at sunrise.

Once the sun was fully up, we went on a proper tour of this iconic Cambodian temple. Our guide showed us one marvel after another as we made our way through the massive temple. Our visit to Angkor Wat with kids was truly special.

Celine Brewer sits with her kids during a kid-friendly tour of Angkor Wat.

As with the first day of our private kid-friendly Angkor Wat tour, our guide drove us to several additional temples around Siem Reap. After our Angkor Wat sunrise tour, we visited:

2. Ta Prohm Temple

This 12th century temple is the iconic “Tomb Raider” temple, where much of the Angelina Jolie movie was filmed. What makes Ta Prohm so special is that the excavators left some of the jungle in place while they were clearing the temple, giving it a very exotic feeling.

The Tomb Raider Temple is such a fun thing to do with kids in Siem Reap.
The kids LOVED exploring the Tomb Raider temple!

There are many smaller buildings within Ta Prohm, and with many gigantic fig trees all over them, there was no shortage of fun family photo ops. Ta Prohm was one of our favorite temples on our 2-day Angkor Wat tour.

an 8-year old boy jumps into the air while visiting the Ta Prohm Temple on a family trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The Angkor Wat temple complex is endless fun for kids.

3. Ta Nei Temple

This lesser visited 12th century Buddhist temple was a lot of fun to explore. This smaller, one level temple, used to be a hospital. It hasn’t been restored to the same extent as some of the more famous temples around Angkor Wat, which gave it an exciting feel. It also gave us a good appreciation for the level of restoration work that has been done at the other, more visited temples.

two children explore the Ta Nei Temple while on a family trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

4. Bayon Temple

With its countless faces carved into the stone towers, the Bayon Temple has always been my favorite Angkor Wat temple. It was my favorite on my first trip to Cambodia (pre-kids), and it retained the title on our recent family trip to Cambodia. As it was the final temple of our two-day tour around Angkor Wat, I’m not sure our kids shared our excitement, but it truly is a special place.

one of the iconic faces carved into the stone at Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The faces carved into the Bayon Temple are so cool!

Overall, we’re very glad we booked a family-friendly 2-day private tour of Angkor Wat. Having a private guide and transportation made it super easy to get around and learn about the amazing Cambodian temples we were visiting.

It was a little bit long though, with 16 hours of temple viewing over 2 days. Our kids were troopers, and didn’t complain, but they were pretty done with temples by the end – haha!

Dan and Celine Brewer, stand in front of Angkor Wat during their trip to Siem Reap with kids.

Recommended Tour

We really enjoyed our comprehensive 2 day private tour of Angkor Wat. Seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Day 3 – Private Siem Reap Food Tour

Our family holiday to South East Asia began with 18 hours of flying, a hectic layover day of sightseeing in Bangkok, followed by a short flight to Cambodia, then an exhausting 2 day private tour of Angkor Wat. We don’t normally do this on a family holiday, but on our third and final day in Siem Reap with kids, we just relaxed by the pool. Our kids earned it don’t you think?

We had asked so much of our kids on the epic travel and sightseeing days, that we felt they just needed some downtime. Our family-friendly hotel had an amazing swimming pool, so we let them play in the pool for a few hours before and after lunch.

the kids from the FamilyCanTravel.com blog play in the swimming pool at the Mane Village Suites in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
What a beautiful setting for a swimming pool.

But, we still had something outstanding planned for our final day in Siem Reap – a private Siem Reap food tour over dinnertime.

Private Food Tour of Siem Reap with Kids

Earlier this year, our family went on a food tour on a family trip to Seoul, and we loved it. So, when we had an extra day in Siem Reap with kids, we couldn’t resist going on a private food tour to try some new and exciting Cambodian food.

We booked the The 10 Tastings of Siem Reap: Street Food tour through WithLocals.com. We met our guide Long near the Old Market at 4:30. We all hopped in a tuk tuk and were on our way.

Celine Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, rides in a tuk tuk with her kids while on a private food tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Central Siem Reap Food Tour

The first four stops on our family-friendly Siem Reap food tour were all in central Siem Reap, all on the outskirts of the main tourist area. The restaurants are all locally owned and were also mostly frequented by locals. These are our kind of restaurants!

The first stop featured ramee beef skewers, which turned out to be my favorite dish of the entire Siem Reap food tour! These honey garlic beef skewers are served on a toasted baguette along with some papaya pickle. It was so good, even our finicky 8-year old devoured three of them!

honey garlic beef skewers on a charcoal barbeque on a Siem Reap food tour.
These beef skewers were amazing!

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We devoured some red curry chicken and some beef lok luk at the next restaurant. The curry was amazing, but wasn’t anything really new for us. The Beef lok luk was a new dish for us and we really enjoyed it, especially Celine. The sweet and spicy pepper sauce we put on top of the beef was especially good.

Our third stop on our Siem Reap food tour was at an organic restaurant where the proprietor grew many of her ingredients in pots just outside the front door. Here we enjoyed vegetable spring rolls, which featured Cambodian turnip – they were excellent. We topped it off with a generous plate of fresh fruit, which was gone in about 10 seconds flat.

an 8-year old boy trying new foods on a Siem Reap food tour.
Food tours are a fun way to get kids to try new foods.

The girls really enjoyed the rice noodles & chive cakes at our fourth stop, but my son and I didn’t love them.

Outskirts of Siem Reap Food Tour

After the noodle & chive cakes, we took a long tuk tuk ride to the outskirts of town to visit a major locals market. By this time it was already dark and the market had really come to life. Just the opportunity to visit this vibrant, non-touristy market, was amazing, but we still had some amazing street food to try.

We began this leg of the Siem Reap food tour when our tuk tuk pulled up to a food stand and our guide ordered us two palm sugar drinks. The proprietor squeezed the sugar cane right in front of our eyes. The drink was basically pure sugar, so our kids simply loved it. Our daughter said it was her new favorite drink in the whole world!

a 10-year old girl enjoys her cane sugar drink while in a family-friendly food tour in Siem Reap.
Her smile says it all.

Our next stop was at one of those little locals restaurants with the tiny plastic tables and tiny plastic chairs, which in our experience, always leads to a special food experience.

Dan Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, sits at a table with his kids on a food tour during a family trip to Siem Reap.
Tiny tables always lead to excellent food!

We started with Khmer noodles (nom banh chok), which sounded extremely involved to make. They were worth the effort – they were amazing!

We followed the Khmer noodles with banh chhev – a kind of a Cambodian rice pancake. Once served, you open up the pancake and scoop out the ingredients inside into lettuce leaves, and add some cucumbers and thai basil.

Dipped into a special sauce and the result was a fun and delicious treat. We were getting stuffed at this stage of the food tour, but we still ate as much as we could as it was so good.

a 10-year old girl tried new food while on a food tour in Siem Reap with her family.

We finished up at this fun little roadside restaurant with some nom krok deep fried balls with chive and garlic dipped in palm sugar and coconut milk. The perfect end to a very fun and satisfying stop in the Siem Reap locals market.

Our guide made one final stop on the way back to Siem Reap and bought us some freshly cut coconuts, so we could drink the water inside.

Celine Brewer walks through Pub Street in Siem Reap with her kids at night.

We had an excellent time on our Siem Reap food tour. Long, our guide, was excellent – his English was good, he was great with the kids, and best of all, his selection of Cambodian food for us to try was amazing.

a 10-year old girl enjoys her cane sugar drink while in a family-friendly food tour in Siem Reap.

Recommended Tour

We loved our private Siem Reap food tour with our kids. It’s a fun way to introduce kids to new foods on your family trip to Siem Reap!

Where to Stay in Siem Reap with Kids

We found the perfect base for our family trip to Siem Reap. The Mane Village Suites is a beautiful, small family-friendly resort just a few blocks outside the main tourist areas of Siem Reap.

There were many reasons we chose to stay at the Mane Village Suites while in Siem Reap with kids. The main draw was the ability to stay in a Family Suite – a 2-bedroom hotel room, each with a king sized bed.

We travel a lot with our kids, and we find that having separate sleeping areas leads to much better sleep for everyone, which in turn, leads to happier and more co-operative kids during the days.

a king sized bed in a family-friendly Siem Reap hotel with 2 bedrooms.

The Mane Village Suites has a large, nicely shaded pool, perfect for cooling off after a day of touring the Angkor Wat temples. They also have an outdoor games room, complete with a foosball table and pool table. The included breakfast was also excellent, with a combination a la carte menu options, along with a buffet selection of fruits and pastries.

two kids have fun in the outdoor swimming pool at the Mane Village Suites in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Hotel Recommendation

Mane Village Suites

We recommend staying at the Mane Village Suites as it makes an excellent base for a family trip to Siem Reap!

And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed reading our our 3 day family trip to Siem Reap. We hope you found some inspiration for your own family trip to Cambodia! Next up on our itinerary was a fun stay at an overwater bungalow in Khao Sok National Park. Read our review of the 500 Rai Floating Resort.

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Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.

When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).