Angkor Wat Cambodia is number one on anyone’s list if they are visiting Siem Reap. They imagine temple hopping in a Lara Croft type way. Enjoying the moments in silence as they marvel at the Angkor Wat Architecture in complete awe. But what do you do when you have 2 kids in tow, a billion other Lara Crofts and the weather is straight out of some apocalypse movie?
We had this dilemma when we were visiting Siem Reap in May with kids. The weather was beyond all comprehension and I think I never knew I could sweat as much as I did there.
There are so many blogs out there that will give you the beauty you are looking for and I can assure you you do see it when you are visiting Angkor Wat but here I will give you the horrible, the best and the downright wrong to make your Angkor Wat trip the best. So hang on! Here are our top tips for visiting Angkor Wat with kids.
What is Angkor Wat?
Ok, first some Angkor Wat facts. Angkor Wat is a temple complex located just out of Siem Reap Cambodia. It is one of the largest temple compounds in the world measuring about 162.6 hectares.
The Temple of Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple build to worship the God Vishnu but gradually became a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was an extremely important worship site to the Khmer Empire.
How do I get to Angkor Wat?
There are many ways you can get from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat with kids. We took a local tuk-tuk driver on a daily tour where he took us to all the big sites and waited for us. We booked him over two days to make sure we had enough time and we were not rushed.
We then had an extra day to see the temples and we used a tuk-tuk driver recommended by our hotel which was a similar price and experience.
For 2 days we paid $$$USD. This included a 4.30 am pick up on the first day for sunrise and transport to buy tickets before Sok guided us to the entry gate at Angkor Wat. We then had breakfast before seeing sites until around 12.30. This was our choice to stop for the day.
How much is a tuk-tuk to Angkor Wat?
If you are going from Siem Reap to Angkor Wat by tuk-tuk the prices will vary on the driver you have chosen. It is best to actually book a driver for your complete stay and organise with them the times you will need them to be your Angkor Wat tour guide. We believed this was the best way to visit Angkor Wat.
*Be aware some of the drivers will only be able to take you to Angkor Wat and not be able to be your Angkor Wat tour guide inside the Angkor temple site but they will give you tips as well before you enter.
What to know before you visit Angkor Wat
There are so many things to think of before you visit Angkor Wat with kids. It is crazy. Here is a couple that we think are the most important for travelling families and making the most of your day at Angkor Wat with kids.
Purchasing your Angkor Wat ticket
You really need to purchase your tickets to Angkor Wat early if you have young kids in Siem Reap. It took us an extra 30 minutes to get our tickets before we got to Angkor Wat and this was even hard on our older kids with a 4.30am start.
Tips for buying your Angkor Wat pass:
- you will need your passport to purchase your Angkor Wat ticket
- if you have children under 12 you will need to prove their age at most checkpoints and entries
- if you have time get an Angkor Wat 3 day pass. It gives you time to see it all and relax if it is too much for the kids
If you purchase your tickets after 5.00 pm the day before you plan to use your tickets you can use them then before your official time starts the next day.
How much do tickets to Angkor Wat cost?
An Angkor Wat pass with your name and picture will be given to you to use for the amount of time you have agreed to. They are not transferable to anyone else unless they look exactly like you!
|Ticket to Angkor Wat||Cost of Angkor Wat Pass|
|1 day pass||$37 USD|
|3 day pass||$62 USD|
|7 day pass||$72 USD|
*Children under 12 do not need a ticket but they do need a passport to prove their ages at all checkpoints and on entry to the temples.
- The Angkor Wat 3-day pass is valid for 10 days from the day you purchase it.
- The Angkor Wat 7-day pass is valid for 1 month from the day you purchase it.
With both of the above Angkor Wat passes it’s not necessary for you to plan your visit tot he Angkor Temples on consecutive days. Rest days are important in the Cambodian heat.
When is Angkor Wat open to the public?
Angkor Wat is open from 5 am to 5.30 pm daily.
What to wear to Angkor Wat
You still need to cover up when you are visiting Angkor Wat. There were plenty of women who thought at sunrise it would be ok to sneak in but I can assure you they were sent to buy a sarong and cover-up.
You need to cover your shoulders and your knees. This will not apply to younger children visiting Angkor Wat but take some spare clothes just in case. Marley was 10 at the time and she was ok with leggings on. Willow who was 13 had to wear a sarong to cover up.
What to take in your backpack when you visit Angkor Wat with kids
I probably over packed in my backpack but I took:
- an extra sarong
- toilet paper
- bottled water
Our Angkor Wat driver had cold wipes in an esky in the tuk-tuk and cold bottles of water as well. They were a lifesaver in the heat of Cambodia. He was more than happy for us to leave any non-valuable things in the tuk-tuk as well so we weren’t overloaded while walking around the Angkor Wat temple complex.
Taking young kids to Angkor Wat
There weren’t too many families at our Angkor Wat sunrise with young kids when we went but they did start to come in as we were leaving.
What you need to take to Angkor Wat with young kids
- good shoes
- a hat
- plenty of water
- an umbrella for shade
- a torch
- some glowing the dark markers on their clothing so you can see them while it is dark
What not to take for young kids at Angkor Wat
- a pram. If you can take a carrier as there were some places that you will not be able to get to with a stroller at Angkor Wat
- noisy devices or toys
Angkor Wat with teenagers
There were so many on the day we went to Angkor Wat. So many were standing with their parents waiting patiently for the sun to rise over the temple.
It was a lovely moment for many of us and the best way to see Angkor Wat come to life. It is a brilliant way for them to learn about the Angkor Wat history as well as an ancient civilization and see one of the 7 wonders of the world.
What you need to take to Angkor Wat with teenagers
- a camera, see it through your travelling teens eyes
- good sturdy shoes
- light weight clothing so they don’t get too hot
- make sure their clothing is identifiable as it is dark when you first arrive
What not to take for older kids at Angkor Wat
- noisy devices
- heavy clothes that make the hot
When is the best time to visit Angkor Wat?
We have heard many people say that the temple changes through the day but the best time to visit Angkor Wat with kids would be before the heat of the midday Cambodian sun gets there.
If you are visiting Siem Reap with teens and they know what they are doing you may be able to spend more time during the warmer parts of the day here but remember it takes a lot of water to replenish what you are losing all day in the heat of Cambodia.
Top tips for sunrise at Angkor Wat with kids
We had our Angkor Wat sunrise experience on a Sunday morning. It also happened to be Mother’s Day in Australia so it was a great way to spend the morning.
It is an extremely early morning with a 4.30 am wake up call to be out at the Angkor Wat temple by 5.30.
Pre-purchase your Angkor Wat ticket or your Angkor Wat pass if you can as this will save you a visit to the Angkor Wat ticket booth and a rush for tickets at 5 am
You will need your passport as a form of identification to purchase tickets for Angkor Wat
Have your Angkor Wat tickets handy at all places. You will be asked for them at checkpoints and at stages in some of the sections of the Angkor Temple.
If you lose your Angkor Wat 3 day pass or your Angkor Wat 7 day pass you are in trouble. All the Angkor Wat tickets are not refundable or transferable so you need to look after them
The best of Angkor Wat with kids
- I had a memorable day there as it was Mother’s Day in Australia so I think I got a good day no matter what.
- that moment when every one gasps as the sun comes up
- getting a blessing from a monk
- being alone in a small section for even just a few moments
- the sheer size of it
- the history that surrounds it
- the look on the kids faces when they see it
The horror of Angkor Wat with kids
There are only a few things that were an issue for us. We had been warned previously about the crowds and the scrambling for the best sunrise picture so we were prepared
- the scrambling for pictures….everyone is mad
- the heat. One minute it is lovely the next it’s like a sauna
- some of the paths are uneven making it hard on some kids
- there is a mad rush at times to get to places and little ones are not considered by some people
The downright wrong of Angkor Wat with kids
- There were a few things there that even though I love them they were out of my hands to control, unfortunately.
- adults attitudes towards kids. Yep, Marley actually got told to move for a picture because she ‘wouldn’t remember it anyway’ She’s 11
- the monkeys….why do they have to be so mean?
- people getting angry because the paths are uneven and asking why it is not safer (Yes it happened)
Are there other temples around Angkor Wat?
Angkor Wat is only one temple at the Angkor Archaeological site. There are roughly another )))) temples that you can see. We chose to focus mainly on Angkor Wat in this post as you can use all of these tips throughout your day visiting more temples in the Angkor complex.
Some other temples close by are:
- The Bayon
- Pre Rup
- Ta Phrom
If you have a driver for the day you will be able to plan what ones you should see and ones that you may have to miss if our children are unable to get to them easily.
Your driver should have plenty of experience in this area and help you make the right choices. Talk to them thoroughly before you actually set a date and time. If they don’t seem to know what they are talking about please go with someone else or ask your hotel for a better recommendation.
Extra Tips for visiting Angkor Wat with kids
- there are monks inside the Angkor Temple that would bless anyone who would like it. It cost $1USD and it is fantastic for the kid’s
- children under 12 are not allowed to climb to the top of the tower. Please be aware of this before you like up for a long time.
- if you can, wander slowly. It is the best way to explore Angkor Wat The site starts to become less crowded at around 8 am until about 10 when the tour buses arrive
- at the time we visited Angkor with kids the bridge the temple was being restored so you had to walk down a steep slippery bridge and over a floating bridge which would spit up water through the cracks every now and then.
- because women have to cover up I highly suggest taking a sarong with you to put over your clothes. It got so hot being covered up it was nice to take the sarong off to cool down.
Frequently asked questions about Angkor Wat
We get so many of the same questions so I hope these are ones I have not answered in the post
Was it worth the money?
If you were to only see Angkor Wat and not go to any other temple I would say no but if you get a three-day pass to the temples then yes it is worth it.
Can I get drinks and food out there easily?
You will find stall holders inside the compound happy to guide you to their shop for a morning coffee or drink to cool off.
Look out for 007 License to brew. He was hilarious with his yell…Angkor WATTT.
Are the food and drinks expensive in Angkor Wat?
I found them to only be slightly more than what you would pay for in the tourist areas. It wasn’t overly crazy and I was ok with the prices.
Did your kids actually like it?
It was our first temple in Cambodia and they enjoyed it for the Mother’s Day surprise for me. If it had have been three days later and many other temples then it may have been a different story for them. We also warned them about the number of people that would be there too.
It is a long day for them and this was more of an issue to be honest. By about lunchtime, they had had enough and it was the pool at the hotel time for them.
Was it hot at Angkor Wat?
Hot is just not the word for the level of heat that place can produce. It was an inferno by about 6.30 and it just got hotter and hotter especially having to be covered up all the time
Is getting a tuk-tuk out there the best option?
I honestly think it would be the best way and the cheapest way to see it but there other options for you to use as well;
You can ride bikes
You can take a fully guided tour to Angkor Wat in air-conditioned comfort
If the heat is a problem for you you may want to consider a mall group tour with a bus that has air conditioning for your comfort.
Are there toilets and are they clean?
There are toilets on site and Willow said they were quite clean
We hope this gives you the outline of what to expect when you visit Angkor Wat with kids and for you to be prepared for an amazing experience there. Visiting Angkor was one thing I can tick off my list and it was a brilliant experience for our family.
How to get to Siem Reap
Siem Reap Airport in Cambodia’s second busiest hubs for both domestic and international flights, with over a million annual visitors touching down in the city. Its full name is Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport. The airport is located at 8 km from Siem Reap city centre, and 6 km to Angkor Wat temple. On average it takes 20 minutes to reach the city.
You can transfer to the city and your hotel by Tuk Tul, Taxi and private transfer which will be waiting for you at the arrival gate.
You can hire a car at any of the International Airports when arriving in Cambodia. Be aware the roads are some of the worst we have seen anywhere and the drivers are crazy
Buses arrive from within Cambodia dailey from Phnom Penh, Battambang and more. Internationally closest place to enter is from Bangkok via the Poi Pet border. Entry from Loas is also possible.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
There is plenty of accommodation in Siem Reap Cambodia available. You will find everything from 5-star resorts, hotels, apartments and hostels. Something for everyone and all budgets are available.
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More about the Author
Bec Wyld is a mother, wife and once reluctant traveller. Bec has been to over 30 countries across the globe. I have planned and stressed in all of these places. Becs writing can be found on Wyld Family Travel and as a guest poster and contributor on many other travel websites including Lonely Planet Kids