Last updated on September 3rd, 2017
Have you prepared your visit with the help of our post on Angkor Temples with Kids: Top Tips for child-friendly visit?
Ready to head out to the temples with your young ones?
Here we go!
This is a selection of kid-friendly temples, as well as tips for the two main temples you are bound to visit while in Angkor: Angkor Wat and Bayon.
1. Ta Som: Mini Tomb Raider temple
Kid + : a kids’ scale cross between Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and Banteay Kdei. It combines these sprawling temples’ features in a small and flat version. Your little Indiana Jones can run loose between crumbling walls, huge sculpted faces and trees growing on the temple’s East Gate. Food and drink stalls just next to the entrance make for a great banana and juice stop.
Kid – : Ta Som is the furthest temple on the big circuit.
2. Neak Poan (or Neak Pean): Find the stone animals
Kid + : Kid size temple on the big circuit with big sculptures of animals. Look out for the elephant, lion, horse and man-shaped water spouts in the outer pools’ stone niches. Check out Balaha the horse in the central pool and the entwined snakes around the central temple. “Neak Poan” or “Neak Pean” means “entwined dragons”.
Kid – : the long and fairly narrow boardwalk (about 1.5 m wide) partly over water to reach the Neak Poan / Neak Pean. Note: access to the pools is restricted when they are full of water… A real shame.
3. Thommanon and Chau Say Thevoda
Kid + : Thommanon and Chau Say Thevoda sit across the street from each other roughly halfway through the little circuit. Both are small flat temples and are seldom taken over by hoards of visitors. Even if you do not wish to climb a single step, both temples are pleasant to walk around.
4. Angkor Wat
Kid + : Step out of the heat and under the cool covered galleries on the first level. Elephants, horses, lions, fish, birds, monkeys and one huge sea turtle are carved on the galleries’ bas reliefs. (Hint: the huge sea turtle is in the middle of the Churning of the Milk Ocean, North-East gallery).
Kid – : The mother of Angkor’s temples is spread out. It gets hot hot hot hot on the loooong causeways. Also, the inner sanctuary sits at the top of very steep steps. The view from the top is great, but I get sweaty hands just thinking about the climb down! I have not done it with a child (yet?).
Top Tip 1: Ask your driver to drop you off at the West Gate, and pick you up at the East Gate, so you don’t have to walk all the way back along the two causeways. Otherwise, enter from the West Gate and walk on the causeway on your way in (great to see the perspective of Angkor Wat). But by-pass the hot causeway on your way back out to the West Gate. Walk under the shady trees on the North side. This is also where the drink stalls and souvenir shops are.
Top Tip 2: For food hygiene reasons, I don’t usually recommend eating ice-cream in Cambodia, but I know of quite a few people who’ve had the ones at Blue Pumpkin and been fine. If you dare indulge, stop for a scoop (or a safer croissant) at their outlet in front of Angkor Wat.
Kid + : Fantastic carved bas-reliefs along the walls. Look out for animals and people going about their daily activities, as well as mythological creatures. On the top terrace, find all the huge stone faces you can see!
Kid – : The steps up to the top terrace are steep. But they are covered in timber steps and there is a handrail, which makes the climb up and down easier. Hold on tight!
Top Tip 1: Look out for the real elephants! Elephant rides are available (usually in the morning) between the South Gate of Angkor Thom and the Bayon.
Top Tip 2: Want more Buddha face fun after visiting the Bayon? Head to the West Gate of Angkor Thom, or to one of the big modern Buddhas just at the foot of the temple on the opposite side of the road.