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Swingin’ times at Jungle Junction

Leap about on the trampoline before moving to the bouncy castle. Swing along the monkey rings and fly down the slide. Hit up the candy bar, and have a shot in the ball pool. Stuff your face with Power Puff Girls’ Pasta Bake, or a Ben 10 Burger and serenade your mates in the karaoke room.

Then if you’re not totally wiped out, cap it off with popcorn and a movie.

Welcome to Jungle Junction, the creation of Clayton Venis, a New Zealander who’s been living in Temple Town for just four months.

His family entertainment venue was built in 14 weeks, and has just opened its doors on High School Road.

“I wanted to be involved in the hospitality industry,  but there’s like 250 guesthouses and 500 bars and I didn’t want to compete with that,” says Clayton, who, as a builder by trade, has worked as a project manager in England and the Middle East.

“I thought I’d put Jungle Junction in as something unique,  and with the right marketing I think it’s going to be pretty successful.”

Clayton had toyed with the idea for a family bar and restaurant for some time and when he arrived in Siem Reap, he realised it was the place to do it.

“Because I had kids, there was nothing really to do. Kids Plaza is okay, and Angkor Trade Centre is not a nice place for adults to hang out. But there’s no place where the whole family can go for an afternoon. The parents can wine and dine, meet friends and relax, while the kids are running free and the staff are taking care of them. That’s my whole concept.”

Clayton has reached his something-for-everyone ambition with ease.

Out in the garden is a climbing frame with slides, plus a trampoline and bouncy castle, along with a sandpit for toddlers.

Inside is a “Naughty Castle” packed with tunnels, bridges, obstacles, swings and a ball pen. Upstairs is the family karaoke-room complete with disco ball. But the pinnacle of this slice of kid-paradise is the bespoke no-adults-allowed cinema, lined with seats no one this side of double figures could fit in.

The cinema has after-school showings every day, with four movies a day at weekends, including a 10am viewing. 

“For the parents with hangovers,” Clayton jokes.

As for the grown-ups, Jungle Junctions menu is far from the chicken nuggets and chips we’ve come to expect from family restaurants. Along with Asian favourites, there are pasta and pizzas, Italian meat plates and a variety of salads.

Plus some signature dishes Venis is rather proud of, namely, the cordon bleu, surf and turf, tempura.

And then there’s the Junction Burger.

“It’s a monster,” Venis exclaims, “200g of meat, bacon, egg, cheese, pineapple. When it comes on the plate, wooah. The steak we use is lean, and the burger’s got garlic, wholegrain mustard, oregano and spring onions.”

Gone are the play-centre plastic chairs too. Comfy, family seating is in straw huts in the garden, or upstairs over looking the goings on.

Along with the main courses are all manner of mouth-watering desserts and a full bar menu.

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