It seems like most cultures outside the West are kid-friendly. It’s easy to go out or travel with kids in Asia. You won’t be met with glares and attitude as soon as you enter an establishment with a toddler in tow, or signs banning kids from restaurants. When ours were babies, restaurant staff would even take and entertain them so we can enjoy our meal together, then give the baby back with the bill! Same with getting a massage, manicure or pedicure.
So on top of other things that make Cambodia attractive for an expatriate post, in the past eight years the options for families with young kids have improved significantly. My favorite things to do where I can take the kids with me:
- For a great manicure/pedicure with a glass of wine, and where the staff are awesome with the kids:
- Chanails #46 St 352
- July Salon #67 Sothearos Blvd, almost across from Almond Hotel
- Khmer Desserts:
- Shaved ice desserts
- Coconut ice cream
- Java Cafe, with a special kids’ room #56 Sihanouk Blvd
- Romdeng – they won’t normally take the kids, but they have a great kids’ room #74 St 174
- La Cita Urban Mex Restaurant (they serve Peruvian and other Latin American fare) #12 St 282
Here is a list of more kid-friendly activities in Phnom Penh. Don’t forget to check the various listings around town for kid-friendly events during the various holidays, like Easter egg hunts, Purim parties, Eid Al-fitr feasts, the myriad new years (International, Chinese, Khmer, Hindu), etc.
(If another Phnom Penh resident sees this and has others to add, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll include it!)
Activities for the family –
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center – see my previous posts on visiting and having a birthday party there.
- Soun Soben and the other stocked fish ponds for a day of fishing and picnicking.
- Cambodia Country Club – horseback riding, swimming and other activities.
- Lyla Center – a sport and family recreational center – sports a kid’s lagoon in a swimming pool, an indoor playground, a separate adult’s swimming pool, Zoomba and other fitness classes, a spa, and restaurant.
- Cambodia Country Club – swimming, tennis and badminton courts, horseback riding, futbol/soccer field, volleyball courts St 2004 Group 6 Toeuk Thla Contact 023 885 591/023 885 592/ 023 883 861/ 023 883 862
- Sovanna Phum Khmer Shadow Puppet Theater – #166 Street 99. Performances every Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Contact 099 211 168.
- Sorya Shopping Mall – roller skating, arcade, cinema (includes western films), karaoke at the top floor #11-13 St 63 (near Central Market)
- Kambol Go-Karts – Kambol Village, Kandal (past the airport) Contact: 012 804 620
- Super Bowl – Parkway Square Centre N° 113, Mao Tse Tung Blvd (St. 245)
- National Museum Nightly light show
Playgrounds and Playgroups –
- Lyla Center – (see above)
- Kids City – science center, ice skating, climbing walls, play gyms (has Gloria Jeans’ Coffee and a Kids’ Closet), go karts, laser tag
- Monkey Business – swimming pool and indoor playground for kids up to 8 years old(?) – #16 St 370 Open daily 9am-7pm. Contact: 016 818 283
- Hun Sen Park across from Naga Casino – carnival atmosphere with street food, games, rides for children under 12
- Sambo’s Club House – Breastfeeding Support Group Saturday mornings and Tot play area -#14 St 398 Contact: 023 211 044
- Social playgroups – every Tuesday 3-5pm at Gasolina
- outdoor playgrounds – veal hong (off Sothearos Blvd and St 240), by Wat Phnom
- chase pigeons in front of the Royal Palace
- at the supermarkets (Lucky on Sikhanouk, Lucky at City Mall, Bayon, and other malls) there are small playgrounds for toddlers
Kid-friendly swimming pools –
- Lyla Center – (see above)
- Himawari Hotel Apartments – #313 Sisowath Quay Contact 023 214 555
- Raffles Hotel Le Royal – Contact: 023 981 888
- Cambodia Country Club – (see above)
- Dragon Water Park – Koh Pich (Diamond Island) next to Elite Golf Club entrance. Open daily 10:30am-8pm. Contact 023 45 54 023
- Monkey Business – (see above)
- Eureka Villa – #24 St 184 Contact: 023 699 9020 (on one of the streets behind the Royal Palace)
- Splash Inn – #5 St 244 Contact: 023 986 174 (next to Wat Bottum)
Books, Movies –
- Flicks – weekend kids sessions every Saturday and Sunday morning 10am
- French Cultural Center – Cartoons and Children’s library every Saturday
- Open Book (library for kids st 240 by an NGO looking to promote a love of reading) #41 Street 240. Open daily 10-5pm. Contact 012 876 623
Instruction – Private and group classes are plenty, just hearing from other parents, seeing the posts online or the signs around town. But most are by word-of-mouth through friends, because there are lots of informal groups in the city among both Khmers and foreigners. Many are happy to provide instruction in an expertise area, and even go to a client’s house. For more formal classes, a simple google search might pull up some options, as will a search through the Cambodia Parent Network and Expat Advisory archives.
- Music Schools – Srornos, Simphony, or private lessons in voice, piano, violin, etc
- Dance Arts – Central School of Ballet, other dance schools
- Martial Arts – tae kwon do, bokator
- Sports – Tennis, Swimming (Australian Standard Swim School and many private instructors)
- Language – Khmer, French, English, Mandarin are the most popular languages here, but other major languages are available for instruction. Again, do a search on the forums for a recommendation.
- after-school classes for elementary grades and up – ISPP, Northbridge, Hope International, East-West School
- after-school classes for the toddler through kindergarten ages – The Giving Tree, Gecko and Garden, DK Schoolhouse, iCAN
Other sources of info –
- Cambodia Parent Network (yahoogroup)
- AsiaLife Guide Cambodia (magazine)
- Expat Advisory Cambodia (forum)