- Time split between town and the beach
- Teach English and Art to orphans
- Provide sanitation facilities and pumping wells
Your time will be split between Cambodia’s hippest town, Siem Reap, the idyllic beaches at Sihanoukville and the rural paddy fields. Soak up jaw-dropping ancient culture, vibrant colours and the many flavours of Asia whilst contributing to life changing community and conservation projects, helping this beautiful country recover from a turbulent past.
In Siem Reap work with Cambodia’s orphans, build much needed wells and work with local monks helping to improve the quality of life for the local community.
You‘ll teach disadvantaged children and sometimes adults, giving them a much-needed ticket out of poverty.
In contrast experience the rustic charm of rural rice paddies outside Siem Reap where villagers still live in jungle-bound houses on stilts. Here you'll help reduce water bourne diseases and bring fresh water to the community.
In Sihanoukville you’ll work with beach kids at a drop-in arts project, helping them to create fantastic art and learn to express themselves in a safe and fun environment as well as supporting their education.
At weekends you’re free to travel and explore, the choice is endless: visit the famous temples of Angkor Watt, trek through ancient jungles or just kick back and relax with bottle of locally brewed ‘Angkor Beer’ on those fabulous palm-fringed beaches!
Enjoy these extra benefits only available if you stay 10 weeks (Jan, Apr, Sept)
We appreciate that many choose the six week option for financial or other reasons but would highly encourage leapers, if they can, to stay for the full ten weeks – most do.
We are also very flexible and allow people the choice to extend from six weeks to ten weeks either pre departure, when you know how your fundraising is going or once overseas. The flights booked through STA travel are deliberately flexible to allow you to change your plans.
- swap the heat of the city for the sea breeze and white sandy beaches of Sihanoukville. Fast becoming a rival to Thailand’s more famous backpacker haunts, be among the first to explore the sun-drenched South coast, fringed by tropical islands and barely a beach hut in sight.
- help street kids discover their artistic side, working on a painting project which funds their families and education.
- bring out the day-glow war paint at a full moon party!
- the opportunity to have another weekend exploring the capital Phnom Penh, delve into the ancient past at the National Museum and Royal Palace or struggle to make sense of the recent trauma at Tuol Sleng Museum and Killing Fields.
- spend more time with the orange-robed monks in Siem Reap.
- more time to experience the culture and understand the complexities of Cambodia’s troubled past
- maximise the value of the international flight, especially if you tag on some independent travel to Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
Generally activities on the projects will take place 5 days per week for 5 - 8 hours each day with weekends free but please remain flexible.
Siem Reap: A great place to stay and very social, lots of tourists visit the famous temples at Angkor Wat $20 for a day pass. It has excellent bars, clubs, internet cafes, banks, shops, markets cafes, karaoke bars, and restaurants. It is cheap to eat out a good meal costs about $3 and a beer $1, massage 1 hour $5.
Phonm Penh: The capital of Cambodia. Many cultural and historical attractions including: Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda (ticket $3), National Museum (ticket $3), the Killing Fields (ticket $2) and Toul Sleng Geoncide Museum (ticket $2). Phnom Penh has excellent bars, clubs, discos, internet cafes, banks, shops, markets, karaoke bars and restaurants. The meals costs about $3 and a beer $1, massage 1 hour $5.
Sihanoukville: Cambodia’s most famous beach resort, a beautiful fishing town on the white sandy shores of the Bay of Thailand. It’s on the South coast and accessible in just a few hours by road from Phonm Penh- so perfect for a weekend break. Enjoy the laid back atmosphere and spectacular scenery, swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling and scuba diving if you’re feeling adventurous.
Accommodation ranges from backpacker hostels at $2 per night, up to a luxury Island retreat costing thousands!
Exploring the floating village on Tonle Saap lake, trek through luscious rainforests, fishing, swimming, mountain biking and visiting museums.
- Donation to the project currently £80 and you choose how you want this spent. About £12 of this sum will automatically go to the orphanages as they rely on volunteer donations to feed the kids.
- Selection and briefing on all aspects of the scheme.
- 24 hour emergency back-up, management and support by UK team and in-country Placement Manager, with reliable communications and infrastructure.
- Safety and induction course on arrival.
- Airport pick up and transfer to and from the placement.
- Transport to and from the phases and to the project work each day.
- Food and accommodation throughout.
International flights, internal flights (if applicable), travel insurance, visas, medical expenses, (reclaimable through travel insurance), departure taxes $25, soft drinks/beer etc. Volunteers will be responsible for any independent/weekend travel expenses e.g. food and accommodation whilst away from the placement location and any excursions not listed above. We are happy to arrange flights through STA Travel who are well known for offering good value.
How you help
Communities and orphans around Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Phase 1: Community Projects (3 weeks) in Siem Reap
Mornings: Build a Pumping Well and a Functioning, Hygenic Toilet
Many of the communities in and around Siem Reap have limited access to water, and even then the water will be dirty from the lake. By building them a pumping well you will make the lives of an entire community significantly easier. Similarly, building a hygenic toilet will greatly reduce the risk of disease and illness in an area where they may struggle to get to a hospital quickly enough should someone fall ill. It's quite physically demanding work but hugely rewarding, particularly as you will be able to see the direct effect that your presence has had on the community.
Afternoons: Teaching Cambodian Orphans
Help teach English, art, dance, sport and handy crafts to children in one of the two COSO orphanages in Siem Reap. The classrooms there are very informal and run like kindergartens, with an emphasis on play and creative expression. Learning English provides children with the opportunity to break out of the poverty cycle and ensure themselves a bright future. Work as well with another NGO run by monks, the Life and Hope Association, teaching and visiting the poorest members of the local community and help to provide them with the necessary skills to better their lifestyles in any way possible.
Phase 2: Conservation and Community Projects (3 weeks) in Siem Reap
Mornings: Eco-Agriculture at Samrong Village
Work with farmers near the Angkor temple complex. It’s a picturesque Cambodian rural village, with people living in wooden houses on stilts and farming rice in the paddy fields, which surround the village. Assist the community in establishing basic facilities and trade skills, such as basket weaving and making incense sticks - new ideas are always welcome! Also help farmers with their daily activities in the fields, assisting them with improvements to their irrigation system.
Afternoons: Life and Hope Association (Wat Damnak Pagoda)
Work with the Life and Hope Association (LHA), an organisation run by Buddhist monks that focuses on education as a means of breaking the poverty cycle in the area. Help them to provide care and support as well as access to education for the poorest and most vulnerable in Cambodia. They have a variety of incredible projects that volunteers can get involved with from teaching to building and assisting with food programmes.
Phase 3: Community Projects (2 weeks) in Sihanoukville
All day: Cambodian Children's Painting Project
Beach and street kids are encouraged to stop by the centre (which has a completely open door policy), sit down and express themselves any way they want through painting, drawing and other creative outlets. As well as the art being a great way to interact with the children there is also a practical side to your efforts. Most of the regularly attending children no longer sell their bracelets and wares along the beach as the gallery lends them an opportunity to generate money to help support their families through the sale of their paintings. Paintings are sold for $4, $2 of which goes to the child’s family, and $2 goes into CCPP’s communal education fund which we use to offer all our children a chance to attend Khmer school, paying school fees and providing uniforms, bags, books and pens and any ongoing costs associated with attending full time.
Phase 4: Community and Conservation Projects (2 weeks) in Siem ReapA
All day: Teaching and Building
Once again help the monks with the LHA in various projects to help improve the quality of life of those in the area and providing them with the tools to better themselves and rise above the poverty line.
Cranes, monkeys, snakes, crocodiles, turtles, woodpeckers, kingfishers, and many more variety of birds.
From November to end of May it will be hot and tropical, 38 degrees in the sun and dry and between June and October - normally it rains in the afternoon and lasts for just a few hours but this is a lovely time of year to visit as it is very lush and green and sunny and warm in the mornings.
Transport to the projects is by tuk tuk or by mountain bike. You'll have your own bike, safety helmet and lock, which you can also use during the weekend.
You will be able to communicate with the project leader in English. In the communities most people do not speak English, but Socheat or the project coordinator will help to translate. It would be useful to learn some Khmer, basic language tuition will be given on arrival.
Donation To The Community
A donation of £80 per person is included in the cost of the scheme. We have agreed with the Project Leader that you can choose how, as a group or possible even individually, you want this to be spent ensuring you leave a lasting legacy. As mentioned above, £12 of this donation will automatically go to the Cambodia Orphan Fund, as the orphanages rely entirely on charitable donations to feed and the cloth kids in it’s care. Given the average monthly wage is approximately £30 per month the donations do actually go far and in the past Leapers have paid for a child’s school fees, bought materials to build medical clinics, houses and playground equipment.
Unfortunately prices have risen due to the weak pound against the US dollar. Please note that as we are paying the project host in US Dollars to cover all in-country costs, and the cost of the placement is set so far ahead, if there is a big change in the exchange rate then we reserve the right to increase the cost of the scheme, as per our Booking Conditions, but will absorb any minor fluctuations, and will give plenty of warning if we have to raise prices slightly.
Accommodation and Meals
In Siem Reap you will live in a comfortable houses with the other volunteers, the house is a short walk or cycle from the town centre and bars. In Sihanoukville the accommodation is a guesthouse. Rooms can sleep 2 to 3 volunteers with showers, western style lavatories and electricity.
Cambodian food is delicious and make sure you try the fish Amok! Breakfast is usually French bread or toast, omelette (ham or cheese) coffee or tea, fruit.
Lunch and dinner is typical Cambodia food: fried rice with vegetables or with chicken, fish, fried vegetables, soup and sometimes sandwiches for lunch.
There are masses of places to go out for dinner if you choose - including local food of rice, fish, chicken, pork and noodles, but also some great western food. Volunteers will have to wash their own clothes or you can pay to have it done.
It was very comforting to know that the they care about how things were going and would do everything in their power to help if ever there was a problem.
We felt and you proved that our son was in safe hands.
Rosie and Lara have had the most wonderful 10 weeks…they have been challenged physically and mentally. They have done a vast array of very different tasks and projects, all of which have been completely outside their previous experience and they have immersed themselves in Cambodian life. I know Rosie's outlook on life has broadened immensely and this experience I'm sure will have its impact when she takes future life decisions.
We are extremely grateful for everything you did after our daughter’s incident. The midnight telephone call from a distressed child on the other side of the world is the one every parent dreads and it would have been much much worse if your project leaders had not been there to support her and provide much needed security. We really can’t thank you enough.
I received my first phone call from Enzo this morning, he sounds so happy and said he is having an amazing time – camping out, eating well and hearing the lions roar at night etc! Today I thought back to the day I phoned Alice and had a long chat about what the holiday is all about. She was so enthusiastic about what she experienced and now my son is having a life time experience - a dream come true!!