The masterpiece of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap was sheer amazement for us when we took our family trip to Cambodia. We spent 3 days in Siem Reap exploring the temples and surrounding area, which we absolutely loved. Taking kids to such a massive temple can be sometimes overwhelming but we want to share with you how it is possible to visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap with kids!
As part of our 1 year of family travel with our time spent in South East Asia, we wanted to take the kids to Cambodia. Siem Reap was top on the list of places to visit in Cambodia with Angkor Wat being the key focus for us.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Angkor Wat and Siem Reap with Kids
- Angkor Wat
- Bayon Temple
- Ta Prohm Temple
- Banteay Srei Temple
- Sunrise at Angkor Wat
- Visiting Angkor Wat Information
- Other Places to Visit in Cambodia – Siem Reap
- Overview of 3 Days in Siem Reap
- Siem Reap Family Hotels
- Siem Reap & Cambodia Tips
Angkor Wat and Siem Reap with Kids
The temple of Angkor Wat is the largest of the 1000+ temples that are in the Angkor Wat region in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap with kids! It is also the most visited and busiest of all the temples in the area, but we found some tranquillity if you just don’t follow the flow of people.
You could spend a week (or longer) exploring just the Angkor Wat temple, there is so much to see and so many things to learn along the way. But, we knew having the kids along with us, that we needed to be efficient with our time. We knew the kids only had so much attention and focus to be able to intake the information, magnitude and heat while exploring the temples.
So, we did 1 day Angkor Wat tour with the kids, and it was the best way to see Angkor Wat! We hired a private driver and English speaking guide with an air conditioned van to take our family around to the temples that we wanted to go to.
This way we always had a guide to explain the highlights of the temples to us, kept it simple enough for the kids and engaged with the kids asking them questions and observations. While us parents were able to enjoy walking around Angkor Wat templex and learning as well. We were really happy and loved this decision with no regrets for our visiting the temples in Siem Reap.
Since it was 35C when we were there, we also really enjoyed returning back to the air conditioned van after every temple we visited to be able to keep the kids comfortable so we could keep going.
The inside of Angkor Wat is remarkable to wander through the hallways, into the different rooms and observe all the intricate details and carvings. We honestly couldn’t get over the details and wonder how they built this massive temple to quickly. It was astonishing, remarkable and truly is a wonder of this world to see.
We spent approximately 4 hours at Angkor Wat, and by no means did we wander around every place in the temple. But, this was the kids time limit and we needed to keep moving and see another while we regroup in the van on route to the next temple.
Our guide was also extremely flexible and we basically hired him for the day and we discussed the timings at each temple and went off of how the kids were doing. Which was another reason why taking a private tour was a great decision for us.
The Upper Tower in Angkor Wat will have a queue of people lined up to climb up. Kids under the age of 12 and pregnant women are not permitted to climb the steep steps. Also, note that there are only 100 people allowed up top at a time so you may be waiting a while.
To us the Bayon temple was the smiling faces temple! Our guide focused on sharing the stories of carvings on the walls to explain the history . This temple is not too far away from Angkor Wat, and easy to access.
Ta Prohm Temple
The temple made famous for the movie Tomb Raider is one of the places to see in Siem Reap! This temple captured the kid’s attention with all the tree roots growing and forming through the temple. Ta Prohm temple was under a lot of restoration during the time we were there, with improvements to bring the temples back to looking close to the original.
Banteay Srei Temple
The Banteay temple is the pink temple, where the radiant red dirt is truly amazing against the backdrop of the temples. We found spots in this temple to be alone, reflect and have some quiet time. Although it was smaller than Angkor Wat this to me was the most beautiful and favourite temple.
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There are so many temples and things to do in Angkor Wat, that you have to honestly limit what you see. Your family will have to choose what you think is feasible for your kids to see in the time that you have in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm Temple, are a must do in Siem Reap if you really have to limit your time.
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
One of the most known things to do in Siem Reap is to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. The kids were not at all interested in going and we knew that if we got them up at 4am they would not enjoy the rest of the day, and neither would we! So, we decided that since I was the only one that truly wanted to go, I went without the kids or hubby. We were travelling with our cousins at the time, so she decided to go with me for this early morning call.
We didn’t get the clear skies for the morning sun, but the morning sunrise over the temple was beautiful and I was so happy that I went. The part that I enjoyed the most is that although there are plenty of people there after the sun had risen we went and explored Angkor Wat again. With the sheer size of Angkor Wat, it felt empty, peaceful and with quiet little spots, I could have some alone time (which doesn’t happen when you are travelling full time with the kids). This was when I went up to the tower since I didn’t have the kids and no lines.
My advice for sunrise in Siem Reap is to get there early to get a spot facing the Angkor Wat on the left pool to see the reflection of all five temples in the water. You will also need to hold your ground and occupy your space as some tourists can be a little pushy.
Visiting Angkor Wat Information
Angkor Wat Ticket Information
- At the time when we went, kids under the age of 12 are free to the temples. Our kids did not look close to 12, but if you have kids close to this age have a photocopy or picture on your phone of their passport or birth certificate as proof.
- Your kids need to be with you to get their tickets. You stand in the queue and will have your picture taken and be provided with a print out of your ticket with your picture on it. EVERYONE needs an Angkor Wat ticket, even the kids for free.
- The price for Angkor Wat entrance fee was $62 US for the 3 days within 10 day pass for Angkor World Heritage. It will show your dates on the ticket.
- You can only buy the tickets at the Angkor Park Pass ticket counters. Check for hours and current pricing for Angkor Wat tickets and options.
- If you have time on the day of your arrival, go and get your Angkor Wat tickets ahead of time. We waited over 30 minutes in the queue for our tickets in the morning on the first day. Plus, if on your first day you want to go for sunrise at Angkor Wat you will need your ticket in advance because the office isn’t open.
- Bring US cash if you have it, the line for the cash was quicker. But, all major credit cards are accepted too.
- Carry your pass with you at all times while touring all the temples.
What to wear at Angkor Wat?
Something that needs to be considered in order to respect that you are visiting a temple, is the clothing you are going to wear while visiting Angkor Wat with your family.
- Men are good with longer shorts to the knees and T-shirt or button-up shirt.
- Kids are good with longer shorts and T-shirts too. I stayed away from tank tops with my daughter.
- Women are good with short/dress/skirt past your knees and shoulders covered. I wore a T-shirt and tight leggings and there was no issue.
- Try to wear clothing that is breathable and light to help with the heat.
- If you forget the proper clothes, not to worry there are plenty of shops and stalls before the entrance to Angkor Wat to buy anything you need.
- There is no clothing rental at Angkor Wat.
Angkor Wat Expectations
For me, the best way to have a good experience is to have an understanding and set some expectations, especially with the kids in Angkor Wat.
- Angkor Wat is a busy tourist spot. The main temple will have lots of tuk tuks, vans, and large tourist buses with a load of people that are all going to see the same temple as you. Keep this in mind, and don’t expect to have solitude in the main temple.
- It will be hot, humid and little air circulation in the temples, especially with the number of people. Whenever the kids would start to be so hot, we always framed it as – “Can you imagine how hard it was for the people who built these temples in this heat?” It seemed to work with the kids.
- You will NOT see every temple in Angkor Wat Siem Reap temple region. It is just not possible when visiting, so have the expectation that you will visit some temples and learn some things.
Check out a few of our tips below to help make your visit to Angkor Wat with kids the best possible experience.
Angkor Wat Tips
- Go early to Angkor Wat and beat the crowds, the big tourist buses start to arrive around 9am.
- Beat the heat and go in the morning and hire an air conditioned van to take your family around.
- Dress appropriately for Angkor Wat temple.
- Respect the code of conduct at Angkor Wat and the other temples.
- If your kids are a little older, our were 5 and 8 years old, they would probably be able to do more days at the temples.
- Grab a map or info of the temples at the front desks of your hotel. Get your kids involved and ask them to decide which temples they want to go to!
- To visit the Upper Tower in Angkor Wat, go first thing.
- Go to smaller and less visited temples in the Siem Reap area. This will get you away from the crowds and see some of the temples that have not been restored. They will be more “natural”.
- I would recommend an Angkor Wat day tour for your family if you can, the price of our tour was approximately $100 USD per day and that was for 4 people. Price did NOT include Angkor Wat ticket. Here are some other options for day tours. I would suggest a smaller group tour or private of Angkor Wat. Be sure to check to see what other temples they can take you to.
Going to Angkor Wat without Kids
It is an option to consider going to Angkor Wat without your kids when you visit. If you have the ability to have someone watch your children or if your hotel has a kids club this might be a great choice. As I mentioned before our kids had a limited amount of time that they could stay interested for the ages they were. I know of some other travellers who have arranged care with their resorts to watch their children for the day. Give this a thought as this might be an option if you want to explore the temples for longer or maybe not everyday with you.
Other Places to Visit in Cambodia – Siem Reap
Although Angkor Wat steals the show of Siem Reap, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. We took our second day and explored a bit more around the area. We hired another van to take us around but only asked for the driver to take us to some other Siem Reap attractions.
Phnom Kulen National Park
We wanted to get out of the city and see more of the country within a short driving distance away. Our driver took us to Phnom Kulen National Park including Kulen mountain, Preah Ang Thom, and a waterfall. Kulen mountain is considered to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia.
Preah Ang Thom Temple
On the drive up we stopped at the Preah Ang Thom temple and hiked up the stairway to Preah Ang Thom where the famous reclining Buddha in Cambodia is. It is carved out of the mountain and worth every step to go see.
In order to enter and exit the temple you walk these grand stairs, and this was the first glimpse into the people who have suffered and needed help in Cambodia. There are women selling offerings that you can purchase if you so choose. There is also a small day market outside the temple with products and food for sale.
Phnom Kulen Waterfall
The kids favourite part was when we got to go swimming in the waterfall and cool off. There is nothing more refreshing than cooling off in a waterfall. They have lockers for rent to store your camera gear and valuables while you enjoy swimming as long as you want. I would bring water shoes and wear your swimsuit under your clothing for an easy swim.
Phnom Kulen National Park is just under 2 hours away and we enjoyed the drive up seeing another side of the country, watch kids walk to school, and the way of life for some of the Cambodian people.
We truly enjoyed this day trip, so be sure to check out some other things to see in Siem Reap, otherwise, I think you would be missing out.
Siem Reap Night Market
After our return, we also checked out the night market in Siem Reap and took a tuk tuk down for some food and to check out the city at night. Scorpions, frogs and all other kinds of delicacies were line up with the street food vendors.
Overview of 3 Days in Siem Reap
Day 1: Angkor Wat Temple, Bayon Temple, and Ta Prohm Temple
Day 2: Kulen Mountain, Mountain Temple, Waterfall, Banteay Srei Temple and Night Market
Day 3: Sunrise at SIEM reap (mom only), Resort Pool and Day Market
For us, we found this amount of time to be right (4 nights, 3 days) in Siem Reap. If you are wanting to spend more time exploring the temples there is plenty more temples to see, but I would suggest to stay longer and take a day off in between with kids to chill at the pool.
Siem Reap Family Hotels
There are plenty of hotels in Siem Reap that are kid friendly. Since we knew it was going to be hot and the kids would need to swim every day for some fun we wanted to find a hotel in Siem Reap with a swimming pool. We stayed 4 nights at Angkor Miracle Resort & Spa and think it was the best resort for kids. They had a huge buffet breakfast in the morning for anything the kids could imagine (reminded them of previous all-inclusive food options we went to in Mexico).
The hotel has a great pool to play for the kids and a fairly close tuk tuk ride to go for supper, Angkor Wat, etc. We would highly recommend the Angkor Miracle Resort if looking for a bit of a treat from our next family vacation to Siem Reap.
If you are looking for something less of a resort, or hotels closer to Angkor Wat here are some other options for Siem Reap accommodations that you can check out. There are some options closer to downtown as well, but I would advise if you have kids to have a swimming pool at the hotel to help cool off after visiting Angkor Wat and the temples.
If you prefer to have more of a homestay or not a resort style stay in Siem Reap, there are great options on Airbnb for an alternative. Simply search up Siem Reap, and then I would look at the map location to see the proximity to Angkor Wat for your stay and which had good reviews. You can get a credit here for your first stay at Airbnb!
Siem Reap & Cambodia Tips
- Is Cambodia Safe? We felt very safe with our kids in Siem Reap, we always had a tuk tuk driver that drove us around and stayed with us when we went for supper, so we always had transportation to easily get us around. The people of Cambodia absolutely LOVED the kids, always smiling and happy to see them.
- We stayed for 4 nights in Siem Reap. We took a Bangkok to Siem Reap flight with AirAsia and we were happy with everything. Getting to Angkor Wat is fairly easy from any major airport in South East Asia or by bus are the most common routes.
- Below is a map that outlines some of the key areas to consider when booking your accommodations in Siem Reap.
- Don’t forget to have travel insurance for your trip to Cambodia. We purchased World Nomads for our insurance for our year of travel which covered us in Cambodia.
- Kulen Mountains have a $20 toll for foreign visitors, so have some cash with you.
- In Siem Reap it was common to have your tuk tuk driver stay with you the entire time. The hotel front desk would get us one, and then he would be with us the entire day, so we never had to worry or search for a tuk tuk.
- Tourist Visas – We needed to get a tourist visa and we decided to get these online prior to our entry to ensure we had everything confirmed and no issues at the airport. We had these printed out just in case we didn’t have data access on our phones.
- We got a data card for our phone from the Siem Reap airport, cost around $3 US for 4 days.
- It was also laundry day for us here, ask the front desk or tuk tuk driver for laundry places. Very cheap and within 1 day you will have fresh clothes to pack up again.
- The US dollar is widely accepted at restaurants, markets, tours, and hotels.
- Need more inspiration or information on Siem Reap or Cambodia? Check out one the travel guides about Cambodia as they usually have maps and more detail on each temple. Even in my Southeast Asia on a Shoestring book is a brief overview but enough detail to be useful in planning your day. Here are some book options to consider:
Visiting Angkor Wat was one of our highlights of the year, both watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat and being blessed by a monk inside Angkor Wat. Both, were amazing experiences for our family that year in Cambodia.
Have you been to Siem Reap with kids before?
Anything we missed that we should include to help other families plan their trip to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap?