To be honest, Angkor Wat with young kids can be trying. But with the right expectation and our guide to Angkor Wat with kids, it is definitely possible. So here is all the information you would need to plan a trip to Angkor Wat with family.

angkor wat
Angkor Wat with Kids

Exploring Angkor Wat is probably every history buff’s dream. The pictures of the lost city and the temple ruins have fascinated me for years. The beautiful temples finally did their magic and we decided to visit Angkor Wat with our two-year-old kid.

What is Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat complex is the world’s largest religious structure and the three-level temple structure in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Designed to look like the abode of ancient Hindu gods, Mt Meru, Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century. The “city of temples” was dedicated to God Vishnu. It is said to be as large as Berlin covering more than 400 acres. After the decline of Khmer empire in the 15th century, the beautiful city was lost in time.

The reason for the decline of Angkor is still a mystery with theories ranging from foreign attack to natural calamity. However, Angkor Wat is said to be have protected by the locals. While the other prominent temples of Angkor were claimed by the surrounding forests and nature, Angkor Wat stood the test of time. The rest of the world rediscovered Angkor in the 1860s. In 1992, the Angkor Archaeological Park was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today millions of tourists flock to Cambodia to witness these mysterious temples that embody the mysteries of an impressive civilization.

How to get to Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a semi-difficult destination if you are traveling to Asia for the first time. Siem Reap is the closest city to Angkor Wat and has an international airport. If you are traveling from Thailand or Vietnam, you can also take a bus. With family, we recommend flying AirAsia which often has promotional tickets and discounts for a budget trip.

Ta Prohm
Entrance of Ta Prohm also known as Tomb Raider Temple

Travel Tips to explore the Angkor Archaeological Park

  • Build a little bit of context While we like exploring a place with a fresh mind, we found it helpful to know a little bit about the history of Angkor Wat. We did most of our research online and visited the Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap to connect the dots. We found it helpful especially in understanding the religious transformations and symbols of Hinduism and Buddhism found in the temples.
  • Early Risers score the day If you wish to beat the heat and the crowd, visit early. The park opens at 5:30 am and the temples look even more mesmerizing in the early rays of light. Since we traveled with a toddler and wanted to avoid being out in the sun, we used the morning to explore before we returned to the hotel for breakfast.
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat ‘s North Library
  • Get a pass and be smart It is quite impossible to cover the park in a day without rushing and missing out on important parts. We recommend getting a 3-day or 7-day pass to explore the complete park including the smaller temples. However, if you are planning to explore the main sights only, here is a tip to utilise your one day ticket to the max. If you buy a pass after 4:30 pm, then that evening is free in the one day pass for following day. You can then visit Angkor Wat for some sunset pictures and use the next day to explore the rest of the park.
  • Be prepared to walk and trek Exploring the park can be a little tedious and you should be reasonably healthy to explore the park in detail. The ruins are spread across and may not have continuous shade from the sun. If you are traveling with kids, prepare a plan on the sights you want to see and ensure to buffer in a lot of breaks.
  • Wear light clothes and abide by the dress code While the ruined temples are no longer active for worship, they still are religious spots and should be respected. Some temples specifically need visitors to cover their knees and shoulders.
Ta Prohm
Legend goes that Ta Prohm was a monastery and the queen mother’s tomb was placed in it surrounded by diamond walls. The temple today is invaded by giant roots of the tropical forest that creates a surreal ambience
  • Be prepared for the heat The weather can get very humid and ensure you carry enough snacks and water for the trip. Carry your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen and be prepared for sudden weather changes. We were suddenly met with rains on our last evening there.
  • Hire a guide The complex is exhaustive and can get confusing. On our first day, we hired a tuk-tuk without a guide. While it was a great way for our son to enjoy the trip, we found it lacking the magic of the locally brewed stories. It was difficult to understand the symbols in the temples and their cultural significance. The next day, we took a guide and it was definitely a richer experience for us. Our guide also helped us try out the local cuisine and suggested some good places to spend the evening.
Angkor Wat
Enjoy the cool breeze in a Tuk Tuk as you ride through the countryside

Still wondering if ‘Angkor Wat with kids’ is for you, here is what you need to know…

  • The best time to visit Angkor Wat and Siem Reap is from December to February when the weather is pleasant. It also means that you will meet most of the tourists during this time. So get creative and avoid the crowd by tripping early morning.
  • If you are planning to explore the sites extensively in less than three days, it may be tough for the kids. Come up with a plan about what really interests you. Discuss with your guide to build your itinerary for the day.
  • Be prepared for rainy days, super hot days or sick days and keep a day as a buffer. We recommend at least 3 days to visit the main sites with enough breaks in between for kids to rest, eat and nap. Look for signs like these and take a break. Do not push kids, as over exhaustion and dehydration are common.
Angkor wat with kids
The temple ruins can get boring for kids…Watch out for the signs!
  • If you are traveling with young kids, make sure you carry a hat, sunscreen, water bottle, snacks, chocolates, first aid etc . We always carry an umbrella irrespective of the weather.
  • The grounds are not really stroller friendly and be prepared to walk quite a lot with the baby. Infants can be carried in a baby carrier and toddlers can be left to explore the sites under careful supervision.
  • Some hotels have kids-area and nanny services, in case you want to leave kids out of the temple tour. Do enquire beforehand and book their services, shall you need it.

angkor wat guide

74 COMMENTS

  1. I am making plans to visit Angkor Wat soon and you have listed all vital information for Angkor Wat specially with kids. Perfect guide for Angkor wat and saving it for my future reference.

  2. Pujarini

    Is there anything for kids to do here like activities? Are there any restrictions for kids? I remember taking my son to Hampi, and he found it quite boring :-). But with so much of open space, I think if kids can be away from tech for a day, it might still be worth it. If you can speak a little more on keeping kids engaged on such tours, that usually will be something to take away and implement. Usually I pick a place like a wide beach or a forest to just pique my son’s curiosity. I have not recently travelled with him to a place of tourist interest owing to the fear of him being bored.

    • Hey Kartik, Thanks for your questions 🙂
      Well, there is no restriction for kids there. However, there weren’t any kid-specific activities and we were trying to play hide and seek and run around with our kid to keep him engaged. I have been to Hampi, not with my kid though and remember there was quite a lot of walking involved which can get boring for kids. In Angkor, we stayed really close to the temple complex. That way we always could come back to the hotel when our son got tired, take a break and head back. We can’t travel at the same pace as earlier and now slow-travel to accommodate our kid. If your son is interested in books I can recommend some Angkor themed books to keep his curiosity up. Do PM or email me.

  3. Angkor Wat is indeed one of the most intriguing and mystical sites in the world. The vast temple complex must really be a challenge to see with kids. Kudos to you for managing this and you do have some valuable pointers in this regard. Apart from the walking and the heat keeping kids engaged is one of the major challenges here, I am sure.

  4. I’ve heard a lot about Angkor Wat, however, I haven’t got a chance to visit it yet. The temple looks extremely fascinating and your amazing pictures perfectly justify the magic it beholds. Considering the area of Angkor Wat, I never thought one can visit it with the kids. But you’ve shattered this myth. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

  5. This is looks like an amazing place to visit. It looks like its full of art and history for kids and adults to enjoy.

  6. Great tips! I have always wanted to explore Angkor Wat. Kudos to you for taking up the challenge of visiting this historical site with your child 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this great article !!

  7. Angkor Wat is one of my dream destinations. I have always liked heritage structures and architectures. You have given great tips here. Visiting early in the morning is surely going to be beneficial. Loved the post!

  8. his is such a well-written blog complete with the perfect information. I’m sure it will be of huge help when we plan a trip with our kids.

  9. A little sad to say that I had never heard of Angkor Wat, thanks for sharing. It’s gorgeous! Your pictures really capture some of the beauty there and I definitely think it’s a place I would enjoy visiting.

  10. this looks like so much fun! i bet you and your family had a blast. you really did a lot of planning, thanks for sharing your trip and everything with us!

  11. I will never forget this place! I went on New Years Day 2017 and it was pretty epic to watch the sun rise!! 😉 Clearly it’s a thing though because there were LOADS of people – but our guide told us that if we went later in the day, there would be THOUSANDS MORE PEOPLE so we are thrilled we went when we did! It was a nice way to start off the new year too!

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