From ancient ruins to cascading waterfalls, Thailand and Cambodia deliver big when it comes to adventure travel with kids. You’ll love their gorgeous beaches and lush jungles, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit one-of-a-kind attractions, making these sister nations the ideal spot for a family vacation.
From working with elephants at a sanctuary, to visiting the Reclining Buddha, to witnessing breathtaking circus performances, there’s no end of adventure in Thailand and Cambodia.
The Patara Elephant Farm
Located near Chiang Mai in Thailand, the Patara Elephant Farm offers sanctuary to Asian elephants, providing a place for them to recover and heal. Its reproductive management program means a new generation of elephants have a chance to survive and thrive. In order to preserve and protect Asian elephants, the farm focuses on four goals:
A trip to Patara means a hands-on experience your whole family will remember. When you visit the farm, you and your kids get paired with an elephant for a day, a program known officially as the “Elephant Owner for a Day” experience. What does this day involve?
Once you’ve been assigned an elephant, you’ll gear up in the shirts and pants worn by elephant keepers or mahouts. The activities you’ll participate in include:
- feeding your elephant
- bathing it
- checking its vitals
- riding it
- learning how to communicate with it
In caring for your elephant, you and your family will gain a new appreciation for these gentle giants. You’ll come away with a deeper awareness of the plight of Asian elephants and a commitment to their preservation.
The Reclining Buddha
One of the most sacred sights in Cambodia remains the mountain of Phnom Kulen. It plays host to a variety of festivals year-round and offers a weekend pilgrimage spot.
History runs deep here. The 9th century king, Jayavarman II, proclaimed himself a god-king or devaraja at this place in 802 AD. Jayavarman would prove instrumental in forging the Khmer Empire when he declared independence from the kingdom called Java at Phnom Kulen.
Attractions include an impressive waterfall featured in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, hundreds of carvings engraved in the sandstone beds of the rivers, and a massive reclining Buddha statue. Created in the 16th century, the Buddha measures 26.25 feet (8 meters) tall making it a one-of-kind Cambodian treasure.
Phare, the Cambodian Circus
One of Cambodia’s most innovative social enterprises, Phare the Cambodian Circus features breathtaking performances that will engage your entire family. Drawn from Cambodian tales about history, folklore, and modern society, Phare performances entertain and inspire.
Founded in 1994, Phare was the brainchild of nine young Cambodian men returning from a refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Initially, they offered drawing classes to kids living on the streets. Eventually, these young performers opened a school offering a K-12 education and professional training in the visual arts, circus, music, theater, and dance. Today, the school boasts 1,200 students.
The circus opened in February 2016 and is based in Siem Reap. Nightly performances feature 330 performers. Phare artists remain driven by talent, dedication, energy, and passion, and this comes to life through the spectacle of their performances.
Adventure Travel with Kids
Interested in learning more about adventure travel with kids to Thailand and Cambodia? Check out our Thailand & Cambodia Family Adventure, a rich, kid-friendly way to visit some of the most extraordinary destinations in Asia.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for families just like yours.