Maximum number of students: 36
Approximate cost: HK$12,000 to $12,800 dependent on student numbers.
Outside Provider or Organisation: Indago
Trip Leader: Ms. Maryanne McPhee
Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas if required. Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.
Indago service trips are all based on the same successful model, but each one is an incredibly unique trip in itself. These life-changing opportunities are particularly suited to older students, and provide the students, the teachers and the school a perfect chance to provide hope and empowerment to people in the chosen area, as well as serving a specific, clearly identified need in a remote region.
The Cambodia Service Trip is based out of Siem Reap, in the remote villages just outside the city, where the impact of tourism has not had a great effect on the economy and lives of the inhabitants. In the villages we work closely with a fantastic NGO called Husk, and the central focus of much of the service will be based around the school or health centre that we built together out of plastic bottles and waste. We will have the opportunity to help teach the English lessons in the school, and continue much needed building projects in the area.
The opportunity to improve the lives of others and enhance education experiences in impoverished areas is an incredible privilege, and is guaranteed to be a life-changing experience.
Arrival day- Welcome to Cambodia!
Depending on the arrival time in Siem Reap we check into our new home for the trip and have an introduction to the week ahead, including meeting the staff and learning some basic Khmer words and phrases. We then head out towards the temples for sunset. This is a wonderful way to start your Cambodian adventure, but we forego (for now) the tourist hot spots and enjoy a relaxed sunset at Banteay Kdei.
We appreciate the beauty of seeing the light change on the temple whilst interacting with local children. This is a wonderful small temple with tall trees and beautiful carvings. We then return to town for a Khmer style dinner at a special training restaurant supporting disadvantaged youths.
Days 2 to 4
Today we head into Kompheim Village for an introduction to the area which will be our home for the next few days. Firstly we meet the locals and learn a little about life in the village with a walk-and-talk tour.
We will undertake a 3-day service project with the local community. This will have been decided in advance after discussion between Indago, the travelling school, our local partners, and important people in the community.
Whilst Siem Reap town may seem to be flourishing to a tourist on a short stay, the province is in fact one of the three poorest in Cambodia, and therefore one of the poorest areas in the world. We work in the village of Kompheim and its surrounding villages. It lies just outside of Siem Reap town and is an area of extreme poverty.
A recurrent theme of individual projects will be:
- Leaving a tangible change. Many of our Cambodian trips are based around building important structures (such as health clinics and school classrooms) from plastic bottles and dry plastic waste from around the village. Groups may also be involved in painting, gardening, building or refurbishing projects which are necessary in the schools or the village as a whole. These would be under the supervision of an appropriately qualified adult to ensure that the standard is of a level which is suitable for long term benefit, but the students would very actively participate and become fully involved. We also often work directly with local type-1 poor families on home repairs or rebuilds.
- Teaching in the school. Our partners, HUSK, run several English language classes every week throughout the year in order to supplement the local students’ education and provide them with greater employment opportunities in later life. This is based out of the plastic bottle school. We will go into the school to teach English to the local students. We follow the curriculum that has been designed for the school, and working with the local staff develop teaching plans and practices to enable us to teach effective lessons.
- There is also opportunity during the week to play sport and games with the local students. This is a great way of breaking down barriers and an important part of the interaction.
The days are long and intense, and each student will throw themselves into the project. We are not here to watch from the sidelines, but to become actively involved in useful and life changing projects in the community. We work hard alongside our new friends in the village to provide service in the community and an experience that is enriching for all concerned. After dinner each night there will be time for group reflection, discussion and planning for the following day.
In the late afternoon of Day 2 we also get to see the stunning Ta Prohm Temple, made famous to a larger audience in the Tomb Raider movies. Ta Prohm is overrun with massive trees, their roots intertwined with the temple stones almost as if they are frozen in battle.
On our final day in the village we celebrate our time there with a special dinner,
which we share with the family we have been working with.
We start off the day with a cycling adventure. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with local villagers, so we start with a short refresher on the Khmer language. Once we have mastered some important words we set off on a bike ride. Along the way we will pass local barbers cutting hair in traditional barber shop chairs or basic wooden stools in wooden shanties, women frying food to sell, children practicing their skills fishing in the rivers and a host of other intriguing and fascinating sights. Cycling along red soil past stilted houses we stop for snacks and drinks, as well as visit and interact with the locals who are so enthusiastic to meet us and share their way of life with us. The bike ride brings us to a hidden temple in the forest where we stop for lunch and games, as well as a briefing from our guide.
In the afternoon we have a unique opportunity for an authentic Cambodian experience. The students take part in a circus skills workshop with local Cambodian artists. This is linked to an NGO working to awaken the arts in Cambodia, and is an absolute treat to be involved with. After a traditional Khmer dinner we then get to see the circus in action! On the way home we have chance to visit Siem Reap’s famous night market, where we can haggle for the perfect souvenir, or simply relax with a Khmer style foot massage.
Today we visit the staggering Angkor Wat. The jewel of the Khmer Empire was built over 900 years ago and is the largest religious monument ever built. A guided tour through the incredible complex will bring Angkor to life. Students will learn about how the incredible temple was constructed, the people who lived around it and the stories of the god and demons that adorn its walls. We also explore the amazing city of Angkor Thom. The city is surrounded by walls and five separate gates. We enter through the south gate guarded by angels and demons. Within the city is the amazing Bayon temple adorned with smiling faces, the Terrace of the Leper King and Elephant Terrace. We explore all of these sites allowing students to learn more about Cambodia’s fascinating history.
After lunch we take a completely different approach to learning about Angkor culture with the Angkor Great Race. This is conducted in Siem Reap and the surrounding villages. The race is run in a very similar fashion to the television series. Teams undertake challenges both physical and mental, whilst navigating their way around and learning about the incredible history and culture of the region on their way. This race is a memorable highlight of every trip!
We finish the trip in style with a group barbecue. This gives us an opportunity to reflect together on an amazing week!
We have an early start this morning, but nobody will want to miss the journey to a local rural village to give alms as saffron monks wander through the village. This daybreak Buddhist ritual dates back thousands of years and is incredibly important in Khmer culture. An alms gift of food and water is part of ancient belief system of making merit and honouring the deceased. We take part in the ceremony with appropriately prepared gifts.
Other activities today will depend on departure time.