The main purpose of every visit to Siem Reap will be the Angkor Archaeological Park with its many magnificent monuments. Although most kids will not enjoy days on end of exploring temples, there is plenty of activities for children to enjoy in and around Angkor.
Horse & pony riding
Many children will enjoy the opportunity to ride a horse or pony. The Happy Ranch horse farm in Siem Reap organizes horse rides through the Siem Reap countryside passing paddy fields and small villages. During the trip you will be able to view every day Cambodian village life, wooden huts on stilts, rice fields with buffaloes, open air markets with fruits and vegetables, cooking outside over a fire. Ponies are available for children. When the children are too small or you prefer not to ride yourself, you can make a ride in a horse drawn cart.
Especially young children will enjoy a visit to the Angkor Butterfly Center (ABC), also known as the Banteay Srei butterfly center. Hundreds of beautiful, brightly colored tropical butterflies of many different species live in the center that can be viewed from close up. The center also has a pupa room with chrysalis, that are later to become butterflies. The Angkor Butterfly Center is found along Route 67 North of the East baray, and opens daily from 9 am until 5 pm.
Khmer cooking class
If you enjoy Cambodian food, taking a Khmer cooking class could be a fun family activity. Several restaurants in Siem Reap offer classes, including Le Tigre de Papier on Pub Street. The class starts off with a visit to a local market to buy fresh ingredients. Here you can learn a little about the ingredients of Khmer cooking. Participants can choose a starter, a main dish and a dessert they want to prepare from the menu. Wearing a chefs hat, children can help cutting and preparing the ingredients. At the end of the class, everyone can enjoy the prepared Khmer dishes. Prices for a 3 hours class start at US$ 13 per person.
Although most kids will not enjoy full days of exploring one temple after another some will be fun to explore, like the Ta Prohm or “jungle temple” that featured in the “Tomb Raider” movie. The huge trees and massive roots growing out of the temple walls give the temple a special jungle atmosphere. Although a number of trees have been cut down to protect the temple from collapse, it is still one of the most natural settings in Angkor.
Other place of interest for children would be the Bayon with its enormous stone faces or the huge sculpted elephants at the Elephants terrace in Angkor Thom.
If your children enjoy a good storey, hire a knowledgeable guide who will be able to tell ancient Khmer legends and myths, like the storey of the Churning of the Oceans of Milk and the storey of the Leper King, that many kids will enjoy listening to.