Travel with Children

With chaotic traffic, a lack of green spaces and sights that are predominantly morbid, Phnom Penh would not seem like the most child-friendly city. Think again, as there are plenty of little gems to help you pass the time with your children in the capital. Plus, most children love a remork-moto (tuk tuk) ride.

Some children also love Buddhist temples – especially colourful temples such as Wat Langka or Wat Ounalom, and hill temples like Wat Phnom or, beyond town, Udong. Shimmering gold Buddhas, shiny stupas, animal statues and the occasional monkey give children plenty of visual stimulation (hide little ones' eyes from potentially scary demons). The Royal Palace is similarly rich in Buddhist iconography.

Or consider renting bicycles and crossing the Mekong by ferry from the dock just north of the eastern end of Sihanouk Blvd. On the other side, smooth roads and trails lead 15km or so north to Smango, a guesthouse with decent food and a refreshing swimming pool. Best to check its website for exact directions. The Mekong island of Koh Dach is also a great place to explore by bicycle with very little traffic and some good refreshment stops.

Phnom Penh has decent public play spaces, including a playground northwest of the Cambodia–Vietnam Friendship Memorial in Wat Botum Park, and another playground just south of Wat Phnom. Swimming pools are another popular option in a hot, hot city: many hotels with pools allow outside guests to swim for a fee or a minimum spend. Kingdom Resort is a great option for those willing to make a short excursion (6km) out of town; it has a huge pool and some slides.

Great for escaping the heat (or the rain), Kids City is a vast indoor play palace, with a world class Clip 'N' Climb climbing wall centre, an elaborate jungle gym, a science gallery and an ice rink. Younger children will enjoy Monkey Business, which offers slides, ball ponds and a small swimming pool, as well as wi-fi and a cafe for adults. Many of the restaurants and cafes in town are also notably child-friendly.

The most interesting attraction is beyond the city limits and makes a good day trip: Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, a rescue centre for Cambodia’s incredible wildlife.