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Summer fun for Phnom Penh kids

Dragon Water Park on Koh Pich (Diamond Island) opened its doors three months ago. It boasts three giant water slides and pools suited to children of varied ages. Photograph: supplied

School is out (or, in some cases, almost out), summer is in and if you find your children somewhere in between, fret not, for there are plenty of activities in Phnom Penh to keep them on their toes.

“Summer is a great time for children to seek out activities that they wish to explore further or try out new ones that they may not have the opportunity to experience yet,” says Dan Hein, principal of Logos International School.

As your children enjoy a well-deserved break from school, we took on the arduous task of bringing you four fun things they can do during their vacation.

Open Book

Reading may be a chore for most students, but at the Open Book, an NGO looking to promote the pleasure of reading, children will forget that and have a great time listening to stories come alive.

Every Thursday from 4pm to 5pm, the reading room organises a storytelling session in which volunteers role-play the characters in a story as children gather around to listen.

“After every story, there will be some kind of activity for the children to work on,“ says Ralin Sok, a volunteer with Open Book. “We hope that through our efforts, children can have a fun time learning.”

Volunteers, mostly high school and university students, are always present to read stories to your children on request. If your child is up for it, he or she may even help to read to the younger ones.

Although the main audience are locals, the reading room also caters to readers of other nationalities with a range of books in languages including English, French and Japanese.

There are also puzzles and educational games to keep the young ones occupied while the adults peruse the books that line the shelves of its small library.

Located at #41 Street 240. Open daily from 10am to 5pm. Contact 012 876 623.

Dragon Water Park

With three giant water slides, including a 15-metre-high Big Dragon Slide, water toys and five pools suited for various age groups, the Dragon Water Park, on Diamond Island, is a new attraction that’s making a splash.

Dragon Water Park, which opened its doors three months ago, is one of two water theme parks in Phnom Penh, the other being the Phnom Penh Water Park.

With a standard fee of US$5 ($3 until the end of June), children can enjoy all-day access to the well-maintained, rust-free pools, which are equipped with water treatment filters. Parents can be assured that their children’s safety will be well taken care of, as there is a lifeguard assigned to each of the pools in the park.

“We thought people in Phnom Penh would like to have more fun in the city,” says Vanthou Chorn, marketing and public relations manager of the park.

“With our new facilities, I’m sure children and teenagers will have a wonderful time.”

Over the next month, Dragon Water Park will unveil more amenities, including snack bars, saunas and a bubble-jet machine.

Located on Koh Pich (Diamond Island). Open daily from 10:30am-8pm. Contact 023 45 54 023.

Sovanna Phum Khmer Puppetry Performance

Every child loves a good puppet performance, and probably more so for an art form threatened with dying out following the Khmer Rouge purge of artists and performers during the late ’70s.

“During the Khmer Rouge days, there was no art. Everything, from puppets to masks, was destroyed,” explains Mann Kosal, president of the Sovanna Phum Art Association. “It’s good for our children to know about our culture and how far we’ve come since then.”

Traditional Khmer shadow puppetry, which includes the Sbek Thom (large, non-jointed leather puppets) and Sbek Toch (smaller leather puppets with moveable limbs), was revived after the end of Pol Pot’s reign. It has since moved to a permanent performance space where puppet shows and exhibitions are held.

The art form is performed, together with contemporary dance and traditional music, at the Sovanna Phum Theatre every Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, with tickets priced at $3 for children and $5 for adults.

Located at #166 Street 99. Performances every Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. Contact 099 211 168.

Kambol Go-Karts

The traffic in Phnom Penh can get crazy at times, and if you and your children are looking for an escape, you will be glad to know that on the outskirts of the city, there is a go-kart track about five kilometres past the airport for you to unleash your adrenalin rush.

Beautifully located among the paddy fields, and with palm trees lining the 900-metre track, Kambol Go-karts offers an out-of-the-world experience with its 13 fun karts and 12 200cc race karts that can reach 60 kilometres an hour.

“Driving a go-kart shapes character. When you are driving, you learn to control your emotions and respect speed because of the dangers involved,” says Anthony Ding, the manager of Kambol Go-Karts.

Both beginners and experienced karters will enjoy the track. Twelve minutes of go-karting action is priced at $12.

Located at Kambol village, off National Highway 4. Open daily from 9am to 6pm. Contact 012 232 332.

To contact the reporter on this story: Calvin Yang at ppp.lifestyle@gmail.com

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