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WHY we need you in Cambodia
WHAT does Cultural Week Involve?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: CULTURAL ORIENTATION WEEK
LOCATION: SIEM REAP & SAMRAONG
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: VOLUNTEER HOUSE (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: ONE WEEK
MIN AGE: 16+
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
Enjoy a week to check out the backpackers hotspot of Siem Reap with vibrant night life and world famous temples. You will have maximum interaction possible with Cambodian people, who will be keen to show you around and welcome you to their home.
This culture week is designed to ease participants into the Cambodian culture and pace of life. You will get to know your new town and your fellow volunteers to help build your confidence in dealing with the locals to get the best out of your experience. Please check schedule in the dropdown section.
Siem Reap is a backpacker friendly town, situated very close to the famous temple Angkor Wat. Theres plenty of nightlife and things to do such as temples, floating markets and exploring the pretty town.
Samraong is a rural village, located North of Siem Reap and right on the border with Thailand. The city of Siem Reap is about 120 km away from Samraong, currently about 4 hours by car, depending on the condition of the road. During raining season the trip may take considerably longer. The rural location allows greater cultural immersion and to really live like a local and gain a deeper travel experience.
- To become familiarised with the local surroundings and your new home for the next few weeks
- To explore some of the local sights and cultural heritage
- To learn more about the ‘do’s and dont’s’ and to learn the local language
Food & Accommodation
You will stay in a dedicated volunteer guest house, with max 4 p/room. Every room has its own Western style toilet and shower. The accommodation is basic, but clean & comfortable with local staff sure to go out of their way to ensure you’re happy! Wifi is included in public areas . There are no safety deposit boxes however the rooms are lockable. There is a private bathroom per room. Bed linen is provided, however volunteers should bring their own towel. Mosquito nets and fans included but no air con.
There are bikes available, which you can use to explore the area during your free time! There are ATMs in Samraong, as well as a bank. There are numerous local shops where you can get all the basics you might need during your stay. Depending on the location of your accommodation, these may be accessible within a 10 – 15 minute bike ride or walk.
*For participants desiring more comfort and/or privacy, families, couples, and more mature participants, we recommend upgrading to a comfort room, which also has air con. These rooms have more amenities and may be in a different location than the standard rooms, which means that it may be noticeably quieter.
During your stay the meals will be typical Cambodian style, which includes plenty of rice and noodle dishes. On a few occasions there may be meat, but generally speaking there is no western food served. Vegetarian options are available. 3 meals will be provided on weekdays, and 2 meals on weekends (usually breakfast and dinner).
- Airport Pickup
- Local Transportation
- 1 Day Orientation
- 24/7 In-Country Support
- Project Materials & Equipment
- Pre-departure Expert Advice
- Preperation Tools & Checklists
- Certificate of Completion
If you want to gain a head start on your projects and feel comfortable in your new surroundings, before you begin, this week is a fantastic way to do just that! It gives you time to adjust before your project begins, to explore the local area and to learn more about the culture and customs. This can greatly help you to communicate with the locals on your projects.
- 3 meals p/day & 2 p/day at weekends
- Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
- Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
- 1 day orientation
- Daily transportation to project
- In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
- Fundraising support
- University course credits (where applicable)
- Certificate of Completion
- Travel Insurance
- Tours, Souvenirs & spending money
Programs begin every Monday, and volunteers are required to arrive the day prior, for orientation before the project. Your accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.
A free airport pickup is included when arriving to Siem Reap International Airport (REP). You must arrive between 06:00 – 16:00 on Sunday.
If arriving outside the pickup times on Sunday, you can book a private transfer for US$50.
If arriving on Saturday, you will need to pay US$50 for an extra night’s accommodation, or arrange your own accommodation for the night.
If arriving during the week, or on Saturday outside of the pickup times, we charge US$50 for any extra night’s accommodation before your program, and another US$50 fee for a private transfer.
Alternatively, if arriving early you could wait at the arrival’s terminal for the pickup time, book accommodation at the airport and meet us during the pickup times or make your own way to the project (we will advise on how to do this).
From the airport to Samraong, it takes 2 hours by taxi, and from the airport to our local centre in Siem Reap around 15-20 minutes by tuk tuk.
Sunday – Arrive Siem Reap, transfer to hostel included (located 10 min from downtown Siem Reap)
Monday – Siem Reap
- An excursion to Wat Thmey, a small pagoda
- A visit to the Museum of War, dedicated to the Civil War and guided by ex-soldiers
- Exploring Artisant D’Angkor, a craft shop that brings ancient Khmer arts and crafts back to life
- A visit to the central market, the old market, and the Lucky Mall (super market)
- An evening at Pub Street and the night market, the liveliest area of Siem Reap
Tuesday – Siem Reap
- Excursion to a silk farm and West Baray, a popular place for swimming
- A visit to the souvenir shop and a Khmer massage salon
- Relax at the swimming pool
Wednesday – Samraong
- Depart for Samraong
- Introduction to the projects
- Walk around and discover the local rural Cambodian village
Thursday – Samraong
- A visit a rural school built from scratch over the years by previous participants
- A tour around Samraong and visits to the surrounding local villages
- Cambodian language lessons
- Cambodian culture lessons
- Cambodian cooking lessons
Friday – Samraong
- An excursion to the local temple: assist the monks with the temple chores, discussion and Q&A about Buddhism with a local monk
- Free afternoon to relax
Saturday/Sunday – Free time
***This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.***
Here are a few things to do in Cambodia…
You can’t make a trip to Cambodia without visiting Angkor Wat. This is a stunning temple. Head there for sunrise to get the reflection over the water. Angkor Wat can easily be reached from the friendly backpacker town of Siem Reap.
Koh Tonsay or ‘rabbit island’ is situated a 33 boat ride from the town of Kep. This small paradise island has no wifi, only a handful of cafes and that’s about it! All the accommodation are simple wooden beach bungalows, which just adds to the simple way of living. This is a great chance to get away from the crowds, enjoy the sunset over the ocean and to really and truly relax.
S21 Prison & Killing Fields
The Khmer Rouge era was a tragic and horrific few years in Cambodia’s past, where millions of people were killed or sent away to work at various camps. Visit the S21 prison, where people were held as prisoners. This is quite a saddening visit but one that allows a better insight and understanding into exactly what happened during this time. The killing fields are situated just out from the capital. Again, a sad but very humbling visit.
This beachside town is popular with backpackers, for its lovely beaches and great nightlife. The best beaches are found off from the mainland, where there are plenty of island-hopping tours.
The main town closest to Angkor Wat, this is very backpacker friendly, with plenty of cheap places to stay of you want to visit on a weekend. There are many bars, clubs and entertainment in the evenings. During the day you can visit the nearby temples, floating markets, get a fish pedicure in town or a relaxing massage.
There are plenty of hiking and trekking trails available in Cambodia. There’s lush jungle, gorgeous waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. You can head into the Cardamon mountains, Mondulkiri province or head to natural waterfalls on the outskirts of Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.
This countryside town is known for it’s colonial buildings and artsy vibes. While still quite rural, the town has lots of cafes and western places to eat, as well as markets of all kinds. Head out into the country and check out the bamboo train. This used to be a very basic wooden panel which you sat on to ride through the countryside. It has now been updated with proper seats but still a fun and unique thing to do!
*No special requirements needed for this program
Although the Kingdom of Cambodia is rich in natural resources, decades of war and internal conflict have left it one of the world’s poorest countries. The average salary in Cambodia is less than US$1.50 a day, and around a third of people live below the national poverty line. Poor living conditions are particularly prevalent in rural parts, where access to safe drinking water is barely above half. Human traffickers exploit the vulnerable with heart-breaking cruelty.
Cambodia’s poor people number almost 4.8 million, and 90 per cent of them are in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Two thirds of the Cambodia’s 1.6 million rural households face seasonal food shortages each year. Rice alone accounts for as much as 33 per cent of household expenditures. Rural people are constantly looking for work or other income-generating activities, which are mainly temporary and poorly paid..
Involvement Volunteers programs in Cambodia enable you to experience Cambodia as a local, participating in their daily activities while offering yourself in the benefit of those less fortunate. All the projects are grass rooted; working with local people for local people. Within all the projects we value the education factor and the intercultural exchange very highly delivering an educational experience for volunteers.
Cambodia is warm and tropical throughout the year, with a wet and dry season and temperatures ranging from 21 to 35 °C.
December to Febuary are considered the best months to visit, due to the cooler climate (although still warm).
March to June is very hot, sometimes over 40 degrees but it’s usually dry.
June to September is hot, humid and monsoon season. The positive of travelling in this season is that everything is so grean, prices are cheaper and there are less tourists.
October and November also have showers but the weather is slightly cooler. Showers are usually predictable and happen for short bursts in the afternoons.
Cambodia has a rich culture, with around 97% of the population following the Buddhist religion. They have many great temples, including the most famous one, Angkor Wat, which is a must visit. Cambodian people have a great respect for their elders and put an importance on having a strong family unit. They are very kind, a little shy but very friendly and will be eager to learn about your culture back home. Cambodia also has a dark past and you will see many reminders of the Khmer Rouge era where millions of innocent people were captured and killed. Despite this, Cambodia nowadays has a relaxed, friendly and welcoming vibe, with lots of arts and culture.
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