10 day itinerary in Cambodia with kids
I’m very excited to be exploring Cambodia, it’s been somewhere that Keith and I have wanted to visit for quite some time. But we don’t really know much about Cambodia, but whenever it was mentioned it was always greeted with a smile! There are plenty of attractions to enjoy in Cambodia with kids.
What I do know, is that they don’t have a good infrastructure and I’m aware, but don’t know much, of the atrocities that took place within my lifetime. But that’s as far as it goes.
I didn’t really have a specific itinerary on where to go and what to see, so I was reliant upon our trusty Lonely Planet to give us some guidance.
When to go?
Well, that was our first error as the best time to visit is from November to March when things are a little cooler and the wet season has passed. It’s now April so we are hoping that we miss the worst of the rains. Plus, we were travelling from Australia where the weather was a lot cooler and the heat will take some adjusting!
But it is what it is… Eek! I take it back!! It’s flipping hot. Oh my! We arrived in Phnom Penh in 40 degree heat and 60% humidity – I was sweating buckets!! I wish we could say we adjusted – but we didn’t we just got on with it and drank lots of cold water or stayed out of the afternoon sun!
Luckily though, during our 10 days in Cambodia in Early May we only got caught out by 1 downpour of rain and that didn’t last too long!
I’m not sure how much you know about Cambodians history. But basically it is all marred by the time atrocities of 1975-1979, when the Khmer rouge were in charge!
Over 2 million Cambodians were killed. It was the worst genocide in my living history and went largely unnoticed to the outside world! The leaders at that time, Khmer rouge, wanted to transform the country into a communist agrarian utopia. But that meant anyone who was educated, wealthy or opposed the government was tortured and killed.
There are many places in Cambodia that you can go to read and learn about what happened. The aim of this for people to understand the history of the Cambodian people. But to also understand their current state of development. I believe that upto 60% of Cambodia’s population is under 30!
Where to go?
We knew that we wanted to visit Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap, and I was keen to have a go on the Bamboo train, near Battambang, so that was 2 places booked in. Plus we were flying into Phnom Penh so that’s 3 places… over 10 days and a bit of re-adjusting for the heat – I think that’s enough for now! I mean, we still needed to get our traveller hats back on too. We have been thoroughly spoilt in Australia!
The Capital city of Cambodia and is where the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers meet. It is a busy city, based on French colonial times and as such you won’t struggle to find bakeries or cafes with decent coffee around here.
The main attractions in Phnom Penh are to visit the Royal Palace (including Silver Pagoda), Phnom Wat, Killing fields and S-21 Prison & Genocide museum.
Read here how we spent 3 days in Phnom Penh.
A city based in the North West of the Country, Battambang has a distinct rural feel to the town. The roads are dusty and not as well maintained and the pace is much slower. But for us this was perfect to see more of Cambodian life.
Whilst there is not much going on inside the city, there are a few activities on the outskirts such as: Bamboo railway, Phare Ponleu Selpak (circus), Bat caves, Killing caves and cycling tours around the countryside.
Read here what we did in Battambang for 3 days.
No visit to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Group of Temples. But it’s not all about the temples, there are plenty to keep you occupied in the city itself.
However, if I was to make one recommendation (regardless of your budget) then find accommodation with a pool. The heat is draining! Add to that the amount of walking you will do around the Angkor temples then a pool is just what you need to rejuvinate yourselves! And the kids will love you for it!!
Other places to visit
As we only had 10 days to spend in Cambodia we didn’t get to see much more than the 3 places I mentioned above. I really liked Cambodia and would have liked to have explored more, such as:
One of the places recommended to us was Koh Rong. An idyllic island off the southern coast of Cambodia. In order to get there you must first travel to Sihanoukville and then take a 40 minute ferry to the island. I believe the cost is roughly $25 return and ferry’s run throughout the day. A chance to sit by the beaches and cool off in the summer heat!
Kirirom National Park
I’d only read a little of this before arriving in Cambodia but it sounded very picturesque. It’s based at a high altitude and as such can be light relief from the hot summer days! The main attraction of this area is the spectacular scenery and astonishing waterfalls. It’s located around 2 hours drive to the south west of Phnom Penh.
I believe some people just booked a tour to the region, and sleep at a homestay. It’s not clear how easy it is to travel independently to the region. But its somewhere I would like to investigate more.
Cambodia was a warm and welcoming county. I’d read reports previously that it was not safe. I never once felt unsafe so have no idea what the reports related to!
It was easy enough to get around, although for the most part you are reliant upon minibuses to transport you. There are very few operational train lines.
The places we visited were amazing! Travelling here is very cheap and the food is delicious. I actually found Cambodia to have the freshest meals I’ve tasted in a long time.
I’d highly recommend a visit to Cambodia with kids. Fabulous place!