Cambodia family holidays

Engaging culture, sandy beaches, tempting food and welcoming smiles make Cambodia a great destination for families who love adventure.

After staring wide-eyed at the magnificent Angkor temples, intrepid kids will delight in scrambling through jungle-covered ruins at Beng Mealea or Koh Ker, or camping in the shadow of Preah Khan.
Beyond the temples, you can tuk-tuk through Phnom Penh’s vibrant streetfood scene, meet local families in rural villages, kayak across Tonle Sap lake, and make the journey your own.

We always include some much-needed downtime too, maybe in the beautiful Cardamom Mountains or on Kep’s calming coastline.

Highlights of a family holiday in Cambodia

  • Explore temple ruins, deep in the jungle, that put even the most absorbing game of Minecraft in the shade.
  • Kayak across Tonlé Sap lake to watch birds take flight between the floating villages.
  • Bump along village roads by ox-cart, and discover what it’s like to grow up in rural Cambodia.
  • Stare down a few deep-fried tarantulas, and the kids might never complain about eating vegetables again!

With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach.  Our specialists have travelled extensively in Cambodia and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.

Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids' holidays is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit Cambodia section.

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Where to rest your head...

Three of our favourite family-friendly hotels in Cambodia

Cambodia with kids: what to expect?

Kids are always up for exploring Cambodia’s awe-inspiring temples, and many families head straight for the familiar bustle of Siem Reap, with the magnificent Angkor Archaeological Park right on the doorstep. If you’re travelling with very little ones, we’d suggest taking a couple of days to do the main temple tour, as it is a pretty big site!

Central Siem Reap has plenty to offer visiting families, including strolls through the sensory-stimulating markets, workshops by the inspiring Phare Circus, and winding tuk-tuk tours, which are a great way to see the city without letting little legs get tired.

For a family experience that’ll really spark the imagination, camp overnight near the tree-covered temple ruins at Preah Khan. Wander around the atmospheric temples by torchlight, sleep under the stars, and wake at first light to explore the ancient structures with no-one else around…

Travel further south to Phnom Penh, to explore more of the country’s rich culture and ancient history. Being in the capital offers a good opportunity to talk about Cambodia’s tragic modern history with older children too. Let little ones run off steam in the Royal Palace’s expansive courtyards, cycle over the Japanese Bridge, see weavers at work on nearby Silk Island, and help care for rescued sun bears at a local sanctuary.

Family holidays in Cambodia - as everywhere - are best when taken at your own pace. Our top tips? Focus on a few key destinations, take fewer long journeys, and schedule in some flexible days. Less can definitely be more! 

For that proper family r&r time, you can’t beat the gorgeous Cardamom Mountains. The Rainbow Lodge is a laid-back base for spending time in the wild, away from screens and WiFi, with kayaking, trekking and waterfall swimming on hand if you’re eager to keep active.

To find out more about where to go in Cambodia with kids, head to our Cambodia Travel Guide Section.

Things you’ll all love in Cambodia

What to do in Cambodia: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Get hands-on experience of village life in rural Cambodia…

Get hands-on experience of village life in rural Cambodia…

Few visitors to Cambodia witness rural Khmer life in such detail, let alone enjoy this level of one-to-one time with a Cambodian family in their own home.

Our unique 'village explorer' trip not only shows you a different way of life, but slows you to another, older pace, as you travel by oxcart through the rice fields and a number of traditional villages, visiting a local market and sharing lunch with a friendly family.

Phare circus workshop

Take part in an immersive circus skills workshop in Siem Reap...

The artists of Cambodia’s Phare circus perform at the peak of human ability – juggling with fire, dancing in perfect synchronisation and tumbling gracefully through the air – which is truly mesmerising to watch. Take part in a circus-skills workshop before the show, and chat to the performers, getting a glimpse behind the magic of one of the greatest, most enduring entertainments on earth.

Mondulkiri Cambodia Ethical Elephant Conservation

Be inspired by elephant conservation in Mondulkiri…

For over a decade, the dedicated team at the Elephant Valley Project (who have recently opened a sanctuary in Thailand, too) have been providing a haven for retired elephants and a new livelihood for local mahouts (elephant keepers). This experience will give you close but ethical access to these magnificent creatures, and to the project that protects them.

camping angkor cambodia

Camp in the shadows of ancient temples...

Our temple camping expedition is undoubtedly one of the planet's more unique glamping experiences. You’ll sleep in a hi-spec modern tent pitched (by your team of specialists) just metres away from the ancient temples hidden in the Cambodian jungle. Kids will love exploring the ruins by torchlight, before relaxing at camp staring at the astonishing depths of the Milky Way in all its uninhibited glory.

 
 

Responsible Travel in Cambodia

Levels of poverty have, in recent times, thankfully decreased in this once war-torn nation, driven in part by significant foreign investment. However, through the gaps that are left in this approach to social-economic advancement have fallen tens of thousands of street children that live in extreme poverty.

The prevalence of children that are sleeping on the street is startlingly high.  Sadly, this situation has led to the growth of ‘voluntourism’ experiences that instead of helping these children, does in fact further perpetuate their situation. We do not condone any visits to orphanages or schools, and advise you to be aware of them when visiting Cambodia.

Thankfully, tourism can - and is - playing a positive role. Hotels, restaurants and operators across Cambodia contribute in a variety of ways, driving awareness and supporting meaningful projects that are helping ensure children and the most needy lead safer lives. At the most impressive ends of the spectrum are projects such as the Shinta Mani Hotel Group, who provide education, vocational training, seed funding and job opportunities through their foundation.

Away from the streets, their are numerous lodges shining a light on the many conservation challenges. We always favour including these, and the most responsible focused hotels, in your holiday ensuring that a good percentage of your spend reaches the people, the wildlife and the environments that need it most.

Find out more about Selective Asia's Responsible Travel policy and our innovative One Bottle at a Time initiative.

Our Cambodia Specialists' top tips for families

With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.

If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Cambodia, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…