Cambodia Culture & Community Development
– Duration: 1 month –
Mystical temples, untouched jungles, tantalising street food and the kindest of people, Cambodia is a vibrant cultural melting pot. During this 1 month programme you’ll experience traditional life in peaceful Camp Beng Mealea, on the edge of lush green paddy fields and at Camp Beng Pae, nestled in a forest wildlife reserve. You’ll help support these rural communities through sustainable projects that will improve living standards and opportunities for local people.
You’ll gain a deep understanding of the tragic recent history of Cambodia through visiting S21 prison and the killing fields as well as discovering its ancient past as you explore the magical temples of Angkor Wat.
If you’re looking to really immerse yourself in a new culture that is steeped in history, whilst making a measurable impact on the people and places you visit, this programme is perfect for you.
This programme is designed to impact the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:
the impact you will make
Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods (Beng Mealea)
Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Seasonal food shortages and lack of employment opportunities leave rural people very vulnerable to continued and increasing poverty. Our projects here focus on food sustainability initiatives such as building chicken houses and water pots and working on a jungle garden. You may also get involved in improving the infrastructure at the local school.
Housing and Sanitation (Beng Pae)
In the village surrounding Camp Beng Mealea, many people live below the poverty line and homes do not have basic facilities which are vital for health and sanitation. You’ll help to improve living conditions by building wells to provide water access to the village and constructing toilets for local families.
Camp Beng Mealea
This delightful rural camp is set on the outskirts of Teuk Lich village within Beng Mealea commune. Accommodation is in the form of traditional Khmer stilted longhouses positioned in the shade of large banana and papaya trees. The camp is surrounded by paddy fields and pretty amazing views on all sides. On a clear day you can see the impressive ridge line of the Kulen National Park from your longhouse. And if that isn’t enough, there is the ancient ruined temple of Beng Mealea to explore only a short walk away, as well as a large ornate pagoda where the Buddhist monks live. You’d be hard pushed to find a more authentic Cambodian experience!
Location: 75 km (1.5 hours drive) from Siem Reap International Airport
Accommodation style: Traditional longhouses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Composting toilets, cold water showers & wash basins
Power: Generator (06:00-07:00 & 18:00-22:00). British 3 pin power sockets
Social area: Chill out zone, camp fire, hammocks
Signature dish: Amok – Mild curry usually eaten with chicken or fish
Camp Beng Pae
Beng Pae is a lovely woodland retreat located in the village of Ta Lek and within the Beng Pae Wildlife Reserve. Surrounded on three sides by a very impressive pine forest, the camp is designed and built in the local hill tribe house style.
The camp is set at the edge of the village and so all your project sites are only a short walk away, allowing you to become a local in no time!
Location: 220 km (3 hours drive) from Siem Reap International Airport
Accommodation style: Traditional longhouses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Composting toilets, bucket showers & wash basins
Power: Generator (06:00-07:00 & 18:00-22:00). British 3 pin power socket
Social area: Chill out zone, camp fire, hammocks
Signature dish: Beef Loklak
Day to Day
Welcome to Cambodia
Arrive in Siem Reap, where you will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Cambodia team and transferred to your accommodation in the city. Here you will meet our Country Manager who will run an arrival briefing for you and your group before your welcome dinner.
Head to Camp Beng Mealea
You’ll be transferred to beautiful Beng Mealea where you will meet the team for an overview of what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new traditional longhouse home.
Sustainable livelihoods projects
Spend the next few days volunteering alongside the local community, helping to support sustainable livelihoods. Your work could include building a chicken house or water storage pot for a local family or improving infrastructure at the local school.
Welcome to Camp Beng Pae
Say your goodbyes to the community in Beng Mealea this morning as we head to our next home, the charming Camp Beng Pae, stopping at lake side restaurant for lunch on the way. You’ll be greeted by the Camp Manager who will give you a tour of the camp and brief you on the projects you’ll be getting involved in here.
Community development projects
You will spend the next few days working on local project initiatives such as building wells and constructing sanitation facilities for local families. You will also have plenty of time to spend with the local children and community.
Discover Cambodia’s past in Phnom Penh
Today we’ll hit the road and head to the bustling city of Phnom Penh. Enjoy a group dinner on your first night and spend the next day exploring the city and surrounding area. We will take you to visit the Royal Palace in the heart of the city. You will then visit the S21 museum and Killing Fields, Choeung Ek, an opportunity to learn about the Khmer Rouge regime – a significant legacy from Cambodia’s past.
Explore Siem Reap
Head to Siem Reap and take a visit to the nearby floating village on the Ton Le Sap Lake. There’s dinner in the city before the Cambodia Circus Show that evening – an awesome performance that brings to life Cambodia’s rich culture.
Ancient temples and Angkor Wat
Learn more about Cambodia’s ancient past as you explore the fascinating and iconic temples of Angkor Wat Temple and Ta Prohm (where Tomb Raider was filmed!).
Return to Camp Beng Mealea
After an action-packed few days in Cambodia’s cities, we’ll return to Beng Mealea today to continue with our project work.
Complete project work
Spend another few days working on the community projects before handing these back to the community and saying your final goodbyes to the locals.
Spend your final couple of days exploring the vibrant city of Siem Reap. There’s lots to do here, with plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy on the famous ‘pub street’ and bustling markets where you can pick up some souvenirs.
Say your final farewells before we transfer you back to the airport in time for your flight home.
Don’t forget… flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations. Please note, you must be over 18 years old at time of departure.