Angkor Wat is a must-see for many when visiting Cambodia. It is one of the most impressive and inspiring religious monuments in the world and is situated on the vast UNESCO World Heritage Site, just outside the lively river town of Siem Reap. I have visited many times, having lived here for several years, and although it can be costly for a family, it shouldn’t have to break the bank if you have a little knowledge of what to expect and budget for. Here are a few suggestions to help you budget for this incredible family adventure tour itinerary: temple entrance tickets, booking a tour guide with private transportation in advance, and maximizing your vacation experience.
Think about your ticket purchase and be smart
The first expense will be your tickets, and sadly, there are no reductions. However, children under 12 years of age gain free entrance! Please note that you must show your passport as proof of age and carry it with you throughout the days spent within the Heritage Complex. Individual passes are not allocated for children, so their passports or a copy of it on your mobile will suffice and must be shown at all temple entrances. This is a saving if you have younger children at your party.
|1-day pass||USD 37||Valid for 1 entry over a 5-day period from the day of purchase.|
|3-day pass||USD 62||Valid for 3 entries over a 10-day period from the day of purchase.|
|7-day pass||USD 72||Valid for 7 entries over a 30-day period from the day of purchase.|
Angkor Wat passes are available online, and I suggest this to avoid an unnecessary trip the day before visiting the grounds or to avoid possible long queues on the day, especially if you intend to be there for sunrise. You may enter the complex freely after 5.30 p.m. should you decide to go to the ticket office the day before and take advantage of this to watch the sunset in the complex. Although one may not enter the temples, the landscape and reflections of the moat make for an excellent picnic spot.
With scores of temples within the huge UNESCO site, which is more than 400 km2, be realistic as to how many places you can feasibly visit in a day and plan which you are most interested in. Younger children may get “templed out,” as we here say, but love the adventure and mystery of this magical place and feel like true explorers, making it a holiday for all the family to remember if planned well.
Popular with the children are the towering and magnificent Angkor Wat itself, Ta Prohm, known as the Tomb Raider temple and made famous by the movies, and Bayon Temple for its many gigantic sculpted faces. These aren’t far from the center of town and can be seen easily in one day.
Of course, there are many more, so I recommend the 3-day pass, which may be used over a 10-day period. This way, you can take rest days in between visits, take the hottest times of the day off to relax at your hotel pool or head to other attractions in the area. It is extremely hot and can be very humid, so dress appropriately for the temples and make sure to bring hats, umbrellas, sunscreen, water, and snacks for the days out. There are restaurants on-site, but they have elevated prices for tourists. To save some money, think about bringing your own picnic lunch. There are many street food stands along the river and markets offering good and inexpensive local food and sweet delights, as well as bakeries and supermarkets in Siem Reap. So it can be worthwhile to bring your own fruit, drinks, and snacks for young travelers in your party.
Organize a private driver and tour guide in advance
Exploring Angkor Wat can be exhaustive, especially with younger children, who may not be able to keep up or lose attention. One of the best ways to overcome this is to book your own guide and driver. The vast complex can be daunting and confusing at the best of times, and many of the temples included on your ticket are further afield, so please take this into consideration.
A guide can remove this stress by providing tailored tours and excellent services to make your days more time-efficient, personal, cost-effective, and interesting. The local guides love to welcome new visitors and impart their knowledge, making it really educational and entertaining for all the family.
I personally use a private Angkor Wat tour guide, Mr. Rain Proun, who does just this and more. He speaks English very proficiently, with such eager interest and passion for the area. He tailor-plans each day for you with no hidden fees. He will also organize all pickups and your chosen methods of transport.
He will book any tickets and organize your transport to other places outside the Angkor Heritage Complex. For example, you may wish to visit the temples in the morning and then take a boat trip to the floating villages in the afternoon. This would be organized for your family. Perhaps you wish to visit the Elephant Sanctuary (an incredible experience!) and then on to Kulen Mountain waterfalls. He guides you to the temples further afield, the lotus fields, or to see the hero rats, which are trained to locate landmines; this is very popular with the kids.
There is so much to do, like attend one of the Apsara cultural performances or be mesmerized by the incredible acrobats at the stunning Phare Circus! Try lunch while relaxing at the lotus fields or tour the silk farm. Using a guide like Mr. Rain alleviates the stress and time consumed by booking and finding all these places yourself. He will happily plan your itinerary and incorporate your wish list of things to do, including museums, gardens, markets for shopping, or the best street food and restaurants.
Having a guide is an added daily cost, but in my opinion, it is often essential, especially when going out of town. You will also have the freedom to stop randomly to take photos, talk with locals, or simply if something catches your eye. I make more of my time with a guide, making it excellent value for money, and I highly recommend it.
CHOOSING YOUR METHOD OF TRANSPORT
Tuk-tuks are a fun and inexpensive way to get around and provide that welcome breeze needed between temples. They are a great fun way to learn about the city too. Download the PassApp or Grab app on your phone, and you can order one to arrive at your door in minutes. This saves the hassle of bartering with local drivers on the street and money.
For longer trips, you may need an air-conditioned car or van, depending on your budget, the size of your party, and obviously the distance and weather. Aside from comfort, they provide a safe place to keep baby carriers, excess bags, water, snacks, and extras like umbrellas. You can organize your own transport, but if you choose to use a guide like Mr. Rain, it will be organized for you.
Cycling is also very popular in Siem Reap and a great way to explore the city. There are also two main circuits (large and small) around the temple complex, and being only 8 km from town, many cycle from their hotels all the way out. You can rent bicycles in many places for as little as $2 a day, many hotels and hostels will have bikes to rent, and some even offer them freely, so check your front desk first! Fitness will play a role here, but please take heed of the extreme heat and, of course, the rainy season downpours.
Accommodation in SIEM REAP
There is a vast choice of accommodation in Siem Reap, from budget hostels to 5-star hotels.
In my experience, hostels offer a variety of rooms, from dorms ($4-6 per night) to double rooms, and often three to four bedrooms. The price will depend on the size and number of guests. They can sometimes be noisy, so best to check if it’s not a party hostel or close to Pub Street first if you need early starts, but there are dozens to choose from offering great facilities, restaurants, and pools on the premises.
Guest houses and small hotels offer a little more privacy. Expect to pay between $12 and $25 per night, and some offer family rooms that are very affordable. Rooms can sometimes be quite basic but will include an ensuite bathroom. Do check that they have a pool to play in if traveling with children, as it is a perfect way to cool off!
Boutique hotels with a garden pool are often the best option for families, being a little more intimate and tranquil. Many are beautifully restored and have excellent services. The prices are not exorbitant, but again, they vary ($20–$45).
If your budget allows and you wish, there are many top hotels in the area with splendid gardens, pools, and service. These prices vary enormously. … Go as high as you wish!
Recommended itinerary for a budget-minded 3-day private Angkor Wat tour:
Day 1 :
To See Banteay Srie Temple
Preah Khan temple
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant
Sunset at Phnom Bakhen Temple
Back To Hotel
Take Up You depart the hotel at 5:00 a.m.
We will go to See Angkor Wat Sunrise
To See Bayon temple, known as Smiling Face temple
Terrace of elephant
Taphrom temple, known as Tomb Raider temple.
We will return to the hotel.
This excursion will take approximately 8 hours.
Evening, we will take you up for dinner at 6:30, and then return you to your hotel.
Day 3 :
Lunch at a local restaurant
Evening Pick up for dinner and then come back to hotel
+ 8 hours
check out the detailed private Angkor Wat itinerary 3-day tours
Finally, the Private Angkor Wat Tour offers a variety of private tours that many families select. You will contact and arrange directly with a private tour guide, Mr. Rain, who will personally bring you on tour and offer the best price without any hidden fees or restrictions.
Private Angor Wat Tour is not the same as other tour operators, as we provide tour guides directly and begin customizing the itinerary prior to the tour’s commencement.
Clearly, you have numerous options! Angkor Wat is a must-see destination that can be visited affordably, allowing for an unforgettable family vacation. Regardless of your decision, you will find Cambodians to be extremely hospitable, committed to assisting you, and especially attentive and entertaining with children of all ages!
I urge you to proceed! I wish you and your families safe and enjoyable travels throughout the Kingdom of Wonder!