It’s one of the least visited destinations in South East Asia but for many Stubborn Mule passengers (and, we confess, ourselves), that’s exactly what makes Cambodia so special, an ideal destination for a family holiday in February.
Unlike its neighbours, Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia still retains its ‘untouched’ quality, despite the destination boasting one of the world’s best known – and most impressive – monuments, Angkor Wat.
And, possibly because Cambodia remains an emerging destination, Angkor Wat (a big hit for Tomb Raider Fans) itself is less protected that other comparable world temples, allowing kids to scramble, climb on, play hide-and-seek amongst. (Swinging on the gigantic tree roots (lianas) and watching sunset is also ‘up there’ as a top thing to do).
The interior is green and lush, there are mountains to explore (and a fabulous eco-resort to stay in), the mighty Mekong to adventure along, endangered dolphins to spot and idyllic beaches to relax on.
And the friendliness! Whilst other, more popular countries can seem jaded by tourism, the Khmers are famed for their hospitality and smiles, which makes travelling with children a joy – everywhere you go, someone will want to chat, play with your kids, and generally make you feel less like a tourist, more like a friend (as hackneyed as that sounds).
Whilst Angor Wat, near Siem Reap, is the country’s most famous attraction for family holidays in February, there are plenty of other places to visit in Cambodia. Lonely Planet has a useful summary of Cambodian history if you like to delve into a country’s past or you can read more about Cambodia family holidays in our country overview but check out our top recommendations first!
Some of our top recommendations:
- Riding the Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia’s second city
- See millions of bats fly out of a cave at dusk
- Visit Kompong Phluk, a floating ‘stilt’ village on Tonle Sap lake
- Get back to nature, kayaking, river swimming, waterfalls in the Cardamom Mountains
- Stay on a tropical island (hammocks, snorkelling) near Sihanoukhville
- See the Irrawaddy dolphins near Kratie in the north of Cambodia
- Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, just outside of the captal, Phnomn Penh (we only recommend this for older children as its understandably harrowing but an important part in understanding the country’s past).
- Visit the ‘ghost city’ of Mount Bokor
- Relax in the colonial towns of Kep and Kampot
Standalone or multi-centre
As a relatively compact destination, Cambodia is an ideal standalone family holiday in February. However, if you’re not constrained by term time, we thoroughly recommend combining your trip with Thailand and/or a Vietnam.
Other top destinations for February Half Term
If you only have a week of school holidays, short to mid haul destinations are a perfect fit. Morocco is one of our favourites because it offers a dip into the exotic yet is just a four hour flight from London; Jordan, too, is just a five hour flight away with highlights including Petra, the Dead Sea and desert camp, whilst Oman, seven hours away, is fast becoming a big hit for family holidays in February.