While there are a plethora of activities for kids in Phnom Penh, quite a few of them have admission fees or other charges. But rest assured that even if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free activities for kids in Phnom Penh, from parks and playgrounds to storytime and picnics.
Parks and public outdoor spaces
Compared to other capital cities, Phnom Penh is noticeably lacking in public parks and green spaces in general, but if you know where to look there are some great parks and outdoor spaces in Cambodia’s capital city.
A stroll or bike ride along the riverside is a popular activity that doesn’t need to cost anything, however for some spare change there are plenty of vendors with popcorn, bubble blowers, cold drinks, and snacks, which can make for a lovely low-cost weekend or evening outing. Nearby, the Royal Palace is full of green lawns great for burning some energy, with the added fun of being surrounded by hundreds of pigeons. In the evening, it’s the perfect place for a picnic.
The lush green lawns and flat pathways of Memorial Park near Independence Monument have also been a long time favorite, especially for those pushing prams and strollers, as it’s difficult to find flat surfaces around town!
Other parks around town include Wat Phnom and Wat Botum, both of which have outdoor playgrounds. Wat Phnom is shaded and offers fresh air from the top of the hill, often with the scent of incense in the background. Entrance is free, but foreigners are generally charged $1 for entrance to the pagoda. The area has a rich history and there are often cheeky monkeys to be on the lookout for, making it a magical place to visit for all the family.
Wat Botum is less shaded but great for exercising, with well maintained gardens, smooth pathways, and a large playground. It’s also famous for its local vendors of (inexpensive) Khmer noodles and traditional curry.
The Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) has a lovely green space known as Choun Nath Garden that is open to the public, and is an ideal spot for enjoying a picnic or cool drink under the trees with the family.
Euro Park is popular for a family stroll and great for a photo opportunity. It’s located along National Road 1, two kilometers from Preah Monivong Bridge, in Chbar Ampeou, and designed to replicate European scenery.
Odom Community Garden is a free (temporary) public garden with swings, a dog enclosure and wet play areas, plenty of trees-lined and shaded areas, and a coffee shop. This prime-positioned land is earmarked for development, and has been set aside as a temporary community garden in the meantime. It remains undeveloped, so now is a good time to enjoy Odom Community Garden before it’s gone forever.
Coconut Park (next to the CIS roller dome) has free walking tracks and gardens to visit, as well as optional paid activities. You can find more details on our previous ‘activities for kids‘ posts.
In addition to Wat Phnom and Wat Botum Parks mentioned already, there are a few other free playgrounds worth mentioning.
TK Avenue in Tuol Kork has a free outdoor playground that is well maintained amongst a nice shopping area worth strolling around.
Urban Space Playground & Café has a lovely shaded outdoor playground, with regular free promotions including Free Play Tuesdays and free swim days, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for what’s coming up.
If you are looking for an indoor activity, Rhyme Time is a fun singing and socializing morning that is very popular with small children (and their parents!) Hosted by Jessica Van Ord at Monument Books on Norodom, (and via Zoom during Covid restrictions), it’s completely free, and held on Wednesdays at 9:30 to 10 a.m. and 10:30 to 11 a.m. Join the Phnom Penh Story Time group for more details.
Factory Phnom Penh was (as the name might suggest) once a factory, but has been repurposed as a cool shared space, with work stations, food and drink outlets, plenty of space for roaming around and checking out the action. Factory Phnom Penh often hosts free events, so be sure to follow their Facebook page for more information.
Make It is an arts and crafts store that occasionally hosts free activities for the little ones, both in-store and at pop-up locations around town. Follow their Facebook page for details.
As with most activities, details are subject to change depending on what’s happening with Covid restrictions, so be sure to check the websites for updates.
Please also have a look at my previous posts about Phnom Penh activities for kids: Swimming, playgrounds, and play spaces, Sports and active play, and Arts and crafts, music, and performing arts. Many of the activities listed are low-priced and can fit within a range of budgets.