Cambodia is a Southeast Asian gem filled with many surprises. It is best known for the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat but when you explore this country, it slowly peels itself off to reveal newer sides to Cambodia that you might not even know existed. Such is what makes Cambodia a thriving tourist destination in the region. It never ceases to surprise and exceed expectations of even the most experienced travelers.
But when it comes to family-friendly activities, Cambodia will spoil you with options. From its gorgeous beaches to magnificent temples and the hustle and bustle of city life, traveling with the family offers plenty of ideas on what to see or do. But if you dare to step out into the wilderness and explore off-the-beaten destinations – that is where the true gem of Cambodia can be unraveled. Don’t let your kids hold you back from exploring the pristine and often rugged side of Cambodia because you can find plenty of family-friendly hiking trails.
Whichever of these beautiful trails you choose to conquer, one thing is for sure: they are worth stepping out of your comfort zone for! Get packing for fun-filled days of hiking in the vast wilderness of Cambodia!
These are 7 beautiful hiking trails for your family to explore.
Kalai Jungle Hike (Image by AllTrails)
1. Kalai Jungle Hike
Finding easy hikes in Cambodia should not be a problem. Even for kid-friendly hiking, you have quite a few options without compromising on the views you get to enjoy along the trail. This is a popular choice of trail for those who are new to hiking or looking for an easy hike to escape into the wilderness, albeit temporarily. The jump-off point for this hike is the Kreung minority village and you will navigate past Rattanakiri province. This trail will have you making your way through a virgin forest filled with insects and flowing water. Since you are going on a hike with kids, make sure you packed all the essentials to protect them from the jungle. But as for the terrain itself, it should be easy for your young ones to manage.
As you go farther into your hike, this trail rewards you with amazing jungle views. There are also natural creeks that you can swim in along the way, if you wish. But apart from the stunning natural views and the scenery that await you in the forest, it is the opportunity to mingle with the local Kreung folks that will make this hike worthwhile.
Ream National Park
2. Ream National Park
Another kid-friendly hike that you must check off your bucket list when in Cambodia is the selection of hiking trails in Ream National Park. The trail spans 7 kilometers in length and is a great family-friendly destination. It is also among the most popular hiking routes in the country, so expect that you’ll find a few other hikers, too.
The hiking trails offer a variety of natural features such as forests, mangroves, estuaries, freshwater marshes, coral reefs, and beaches. Choose which trail you would like to explore, and you’d be in for a treat as these natural formations are for you to marvel at and enjoy! If the natural features and landscapes are not enough reward for your kids, maybe the chance to spot a wide range of wildlife might be!
The hiking trails available at Ream National Park in Cambodia let you enjoy nature at its purest. It is not only a suitable choice of hiking trail for kids because of the ease of the hiking terrain, but also because it is a great learning experience for them. The entire trail can take up to 2 hours to complete, or more depending on how many stops you make to take photos or marvel at the wildlife and nature. Either way, you should allot one full day with your family to explore the trails and the park itself. This park never ceases to amaze, especially your little ones!
Lake Yeak Laom (Image from Wikipedia)
3. Crater Lake Circle Hike
The Crater Lake Circle Hike is one of the shortest trails on this list. But don’t be deceived by that because it has enough natural features and attractions along the way that will make this short hike worthwhile. This hiking trail is often looked at as a detour of a hike from Ratanakiri Province to Stung Treng. It’s no surprise why a lot of hikers are willing to spend a few kilometers more to include this in their hiking itinerary. The opportunity to marvel at the sight of the most beautiful lake in Ratanakiri Province is something that you shouldn’t pass up.
For families hiking with kids, it is a noteworthy addition to your list for the exact same reasons. This crater lake was formed 4,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption. The volcanic crater has resulted in the formation of a natural hiking trail along its border. It is one of the most unique yet beautiful hiking trails you will get to experience, so do not pass up this opportunity. As a bonus, you can go swimming in the clear waters of the lake. Make sure you pack adequate swimming gear with you, especially for the kids. They might not be able to resist the desire to jump into the lake.
4. Kep Mountains
Are you up for some DIY hiking trails in Cambodia? If you have naturally adventurous kids, this might be something that they’ll be keen to try. The Kep Mountains is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Cambodia. It is a great destination if you want to experience light adventure on a sunny day. This 8-km long trail is easy and is suitable for hiking with kids or novice hikers.
The Kep Mountains is nestled within the Kep National Park and is part of the Kep Peninsula. As such, you will be treated to spectacular natural views such as a dense forest and breathtaking viewpoints during your hike. There is no single major trail here, but you can find a few short ones, so you are free to create your own adventure and follow each of those (if you want). Make sure to look for those yellow signs that point the way, so you won’t miss the highlights and must-see attractions on this trail.
The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ trail is definitely a must-see. Many consider this to be the highlight of this particular hiking destination. Once you follow this trail, you will find yourself going uphill towards a towering pagoda. There is also a nunnery in the area and if you keep going, you will be able to reach the Sunset Rock Viewpoint. Once you are there, you will know exactly why it is called ‘Stairway to Heaven’! The vantage point is high enough that you can feel like you are among the clouds! And the view is unlike anything you will find in all the other hiking trails in Cambodia.
5. Mondulkiri Province
The Mondulkiri Province is one of the most sought-after hiking trails in Cambodia. This trail is quite long so you can choose to hike a portion of it or finish the entire trail (which can take 2-4 days to complete). For families hiking with kids, it would be a good idea to embark on a day hike. It can range from easy to hard, depending on which part of the trail you traverse.
Choose the portion of the trail with least amount of terrain variation for your kids so it will be easy for them to conquer. Aside from being a popular hiking spot, the Mondulkiri Province in Cambodia is also known as home to the largest population of elephants in the country. You’d be really popular with your kids if you take them hiking along this trail and you spot some of the elephants!
And speaking of elephants, a great side trip idea while you are on this hike is to visit the Mondulkiri Project. This is one of many elephant sanctuaries in the area that is open to the public. This is a great learning and interactive experience for your kids, especially the younger ones. You will get a first-hand look at the rescued elephants and the efforts being made in the sanctuary to restore them to health and to protect their natural habitat. Show your support for this cause by paying them a visit! If you weren’t lucky enough to spot wild elephants on the trail, visiting the sanctuary will guarantee that your kids can interact with them.
6. Kulen Mountain
Another historically popular region in Cambodia for hiking is the Kulen Mountain. This one is located on the northwest portion of Cambodia. Many hikers find this trail attractive because there are varied hiking trails to be explored. For this reason, the hiking difficulty can range from easy to hard depending on which trail you choose to embark on. With that said, it is worth mentioning that proper research and planning should be done when you intend to bring your kids along for the hiking adventure. It is important that you choose the right trail as the difficulty level can vary significantly.
It is also a breathtaking hiking region filled with tropical wilderness jungle, a rare collection of flora and fauna species, and stunning waterfalls. Feasting your eyes on these natural beauties are sure to make your hike rewarding. As for your kids, they will be thrilled to encounter flora and fauna species that can only be seen in this side of the world.
Virachey National Park (Image by Gala Tourist)
7. Virachey National Park
Another hiking trail located within a national park is the Virachey National Park. Choosing to hike within a national park brings a two-in-one adventure for the entire family. You will be able to explore the sights and attractions within the national park, plus you get to explore its many walking trails and routes. Make sure to allot one full day for this adventure because you will be keen to explore some more even after you have completed the trail.
This easy hiking trail can take several days to complete, but you can explore a small portion of it when you visit the national park. This area is known as one of the largest protected areas in Cambodia. That should be enough to pique your curiosity to go! The entire park has never been fully explored, even for experienced trekkers – that’s how big it is! This is a great destination to take your kids to as you can stumble upon undiscovered trails and easy walking routes filled with rare mammals. Keep your eyes peeled at all times as you might be in for a rare encounter.
To make your hike seamless and to ensure the safety of your kids, you can also sign up for the ecotourism program organized within the park. They offer hiking tours within the park grounds to ensure a safe and informative hike. All you have to do is sign up at the eco-tourism information center.
Don’t be intimated by the challenge of hiking with kids. You’d be surprised to find out how they are willing to rough it up on the Cambodian jungle. Kids are naturally curious so they can use that to their advantage as far as wanting to explore each trail. As long as you have done your research beforehand and know what to expect with each trail, you should have no problem convincing them to join you in this trekking adventure. As these hiking trails offer great views, you probably won’t have a hard time convincing them to come with you!