Seymour College Stewart Cambodia Service Journey

Seymour Stewart

Day 2

Date: 19/09/2018

Location: Phnom Penh

Activity: Grand Palace, National Museum, S21 and Killing Fields

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Our lovely tour guides made the journey so much easier by telling us about their culture and what to expect. We visited one of the killing fields, S-21, the Palace and the National Museum. Walking through the killing fields was not easy, especially when pieces of clothing and bones of the victims were displayed. We had time to pay our respects and many students left floral offering.

Visiting S-21 was a heartbreaking, but necessary experience and brought home the tragic history of Cambodia. We had an opportuntiy to meet a survivor of S-21 and hear hus first hand experience. 

 


Seymour Stewart 3

Day 3

Date: 20/09/2018

Location: Phnom Tamao

Activity: Free the Bears Rehabilitation Centre

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

The Stewart group went to Free The Bears today. This amazing place is about an hour out of Phnom Phen. After learning about the sun and moon bears, we got to see them in their enclosures, and they were adorable, although it was sad to see some bears who had lost limbs in traps. These bears will need to stay in captivity as they have no prospect for release.
We were able to make Enrichment items for bears including a bamboo stick stuffed with morning glory (vegetable) and a dog ball stuffed with banana, guava, sweet potato with vegemite and peanut butter. We enjoyed a delicious, home-cooked lunch before seeing all other animals in enclosures such as elephants, tigers,  lions,  leopards, gibbons and naughty monkeys who stole a bamboo treat we made for the bears. All in all, it was a great day, and we had fun on the bus ride home with Pisa our amazing tour guide (and good singer)


 


Seymour Stewart 4

Day 4

Date: 21/09/2018

Location: Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Activity: Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Today we travelled to Siem Reap by bus with a stop at Skuon spider town! Quite a few girls took an interest in the tarantulas. We later stopped in a village for a lovely lunch. Once we arrived and checked in we travelled to the Angkor National Museum by tuktuk. We then visited a local market, before dinner and the amazing Phare circus. Overall a sensational day  with something for everyone.


 


Stewart 5

Day 5

Date: 11/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: Cycle around the temples of Angkor

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

 

This morning we all woke up and had breakfast, getting ready for our 8am start. We did a 30km bike ride from a village to the beautiful temples. We rode through many small villages overlooking the beautiful rice fields as well as seeing water buffalo and beautiful Cambodian views. We stopped for an authentic Cambodian lunch at Rom Chang Angkor restaurant. We then rode to the Banteay Srei temple which stands for woman temple, where we toured around all the ancient artefacts and got an understanding of ancient Khmer culture which focuses on Hindu religion.  We took a bus to to plant trees, with one tree planted between two people. We then went back to the hotel to have some down time, then pizza for dinner, which all the girls found delicious. After dinner it was off to the markets where the girls all practiced their bartering skills,  then a  much needed sleep for a big day tomorrow.

 


Seymour Stewart 6

Day 6

Date: 23/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap and surrounds

Activity: Cycling, remote temples of Angkor

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

 

Today the Stewart girls had an amazing day with the opportunity to visit some of the temples at Angkor. We started the day taking the bus to one of the forest on the outskirts of the Angkor complex to pick up our bikes. We rode along one of the outer walls next to the moat and had a wonderful view of a traditional Khmer wedding. After that we visited two temples which had astonishing carvings and bas reliefs. We had lunch at a local Khmer restaurant before we rode our bikes back to the Angkor complex. We visited a temple that was abandoned hundreds of years ago that had been destroyed and had been overtaken by nature. There were trees growing within the temple that around 400 years old. After that we had the unbelievable experience of visiting one of the wonders of the world, Angkor Wat. It was breathtaking to see a temple that is so iconic and is close to 1000 years old. All of the girls appreciated the bike rides and challenged themselves based on their previous experience with riding. After riding 32km and an awesome dinner at Nest, we arrived back to the hotel exhausted and ready for the 4am wake up tomorrow morning to see Angkor Watt at dawn.

 


Seymour Stewart 7

Day 7

Date: 24/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: Angkor sunrise, Tonle Sap Lake kayaking, Friends restaurant  

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

 

Today, our group left the hotel at 4:50am to see the sunrise over the main temple in Angkor Wat. We walked to a great spot that our guide had selected for us, directly in front of the magnificent temple. Cloud cover  meant the sunrise was not ideal but seeing the light appear was still pretty spectacular. After that, we travelled back to the hotel to have breakfast. The group then left the hotel at 8am to venture an hour away for kayaking along the Tonle Sap lake which was also a great experience. We kayaked through water villages and learnt how crucial it is for the houses to be above water to not get affected by the water levels in the wet season. We saw a village on stilts and a floating village. The village children were very excited to see us and it was interesting to learn about the villages and see how happy the people looked. After travelling to shore we had lunch back in Siem Reap then went back to the hotel for a swim to escape the heat. We are currently sitting at the Friends Restaurant and then heading to the night markets. It has been one of many great days!

 


Seymour Stewart 8

Day 8

Date: 25/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: Trek Kulen Mountain

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

 

Day 8 began with the Stewies checking out of the hotel and traveling by a bumpy bus for one and a half hours to begin our trek on Kulen Mountain.
We trekked over plains and into the lush greenery of the rainforest, where we all appreciated the beautiful scenery. We visited some of the most holy places in Cambodia - the “bat cave” (which funnily enough had bats in it); the reclining Buddha, which is the biggest Buddha statue made out of a single stone in Cambodia and finally the Kulen Waterfalls (where we were greeted by numerous very cute dogs but we didn’t pat them). As our activities came to a close, we made our way through the villages to the Bong Thom Homestay to stay the night. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and had fun learning some traditional dances. The teachers have declared Isabelle Colby and Grace Humphries winners of the Sherpa award for assistance to their fellow travellers. The teachers are also proud of the way in which every girl has completed the adventure challenges.

 


Seymour Build

Day 9

Date: 26/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: House Build

Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Enormously proud of our team today as we embarked upon the first day of the community building project. We had an early start and were busy at work by 8.00am. We were met by the local project manager who explained that the first task was to saw large planks of wood that would be used for the flooring. Neighbouring families provided the labour for the framework so it was a noisy, busy and energetic start to the day on site. As we started, the family who we are building for participated in a ceremony to bless the house and rid it of potential spirits. They buried a selection of local foods to pay respects to the god of the earth in accordance with local custom. Money is placed on the cement pillars that the house is built on to bring prosperity. Whilst this was going on, the girls lifted, marked out and sawed five metre planks of wood for their first task. Then the entire team pushed and pulled the framework of the house upright. It was a powerful moment.  During the day, the girls assembled scaffolding, hammered planks of wood to the framework, did some more sawing, had lunch with a local family and then made steps with a hammer and chisel. They will have many new skills by the end of the build should you need a new shed constructed in your back yard! They were so committed to providing the house for the family that they pushed through despite the heat and dust and are an inspiration to be with


Seymour College Stewart Cambodia Service Journey

Trip Highlights

  • Participate in Community Project building infrastructure for communities in need
  • Explore one of the great wonders of the world, Angkor Wat
  • Cycling around small village towns near Siem Reap
  • Witness local life at stilt village Kompong Kleang on Tonle Sap Lake
  • Trek in Kulen Mountains to gain incredible views
  • Kayak on the Tonle Sap River
  • Explore the tree lined streets of Phnom Penh
  • Join the Free the Bears "keeper for a day" program
  • Experience spectacular NGO Phare circus
  • Participate in cooking class
  • Receive private Monks blessing at Wat Botum
  • Dining at charity restaurant Friends
  • Join Preah Dak Village tree planting project

Trip Summary

Our adventure begins in the developing town of Phnom Penh. Once considered the most beautiful city in the Orient Phnom Penh is going through rapid change, we experience some of the cultural and historical highlights. We explore the same way the locals do, by cyclo, as we discover the local markets and main places of interest. We then join one of the best wildlife facilities in South East Asia as we join the Free the Bears "keeper for a day" program. We drive North to Siem Reap stopping at Skuon village famous for its local delicacies before we continue to the bustling town of Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor Wat. Here we explore the surrounds by bike, foot and kayak. We explore the main temples by cycling along the back roads along shady tree lined streets, away from the main crowds.We pay a visit to the Kompong Kleang village set on the Tonle Sap Lake to witness how life is lived on the water in villages built on stilts - homes, schools and hospitals purpose built to float on the water during the wet season. We embark on a trek through rural communities and wilderness terrain to the top of sacred Kulen Mountain, spending 1 night in a small Cambodian village at a traditional old teak building, a real highlight of your adventure. We then embark on a very important part of our journey, a Community Project helping build infrastructure for remote villages in need. For 3 days we work together with the local community to improve the facilities and help participate in the education program by day and then enjoy activities including cycling, trekking and kayaking in the afternoon. This is a wonderful opportunity to hands on provide lasting help to the local community.

Itinerary

After months of planning and preparation the wait is finally over! Please make your way to the airport for your day flight to Phnom Penh. On arrival you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel. After check in we will have a full group pre-trip briefing before heading out for our first taste of Cambodian cuisine at a local restaurant. Overnight 3* hotel Phnom Penh

Meals:  D

Next stop is a very sobering one as we visit Cambodia's bloody past. Whilst this is a very confronting visit it is important if we are to understand the countries recent history and how the people are looking positively towards the future. We visit the Tuol Sleng Museum, or the Museum of Genocide. Originally this building was a high school, until it became the Khmer Rouge’s main torture and interrogation centre. During this period it was known as ‘S-21’. We then stop for de-briefing and lunch at the local restaurant before proceeding to the Killing Fields, a stretch of countryside where over 10,000 people were executed. The remains of some of the people are stored in a memorial to remind people of the atrocities the Khmer Rouge inflicted on other Khmers. We will then head back into town and visit the National Museum, housing the worlds foremost collection of ancient Khmer artifacts. Late this evening we have time to reflect on the day and debrief. Overnight 3* hotel Phnom Penh

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast at our hotel we will head out for a very special day. We will drive to Phnom Tamao to the Free the Bears wildlife sanctuary to join their "keeper for a day program". This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get behind the scenes at one of the best wildlife centres in South East Asia as they join the Free the Bears education program. The facility, set up by Perth lady Mary Hutton, now houses over 100 Sun Bears over a 7 hectare area, rescued from poachers. We will help with the bear enrichment program. Late this afternoon we will return to Phnom Penh and enjoy a low key dinner.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we leave Phnom Penh for Siem Reap. A short distance outside of Phnom Penh we will stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous specialty being sold: deep-fried tarantula! A stop off on the Hamish and Andy gap year Asia program, this town is home to the favourite snack of many Cambodians. Many local buses stop here at the market to buy a bag of the “ch’ngain” (tasty) eight-legged creatures. The spiders are caught in the soft ground of the surrounding countryside and dug out of their burrows. We continue to Siem Reap. On arrival we will check into our hotel before heading to the Angkor National Museum. This interactive museum showcases artifacts from the Golden era of the Khmer empire. We will then refresh at our hotel before heading out to dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner we head to the famous Phare Cambodian circus. Despite being known around town as the Cambodian circus, it is anything but a traditional big top. A nonprofit school for the arts, Phare is a demonstration of the graduate students’ acrobatic abilities. Exceptionally talented players act out everything from Cambodian folklore to the very real history of the Khmer Rouge; a must see for anyone visiting Siem Reap. Overnight 3* Siem Reap Hotel

Meals:  B,D

This morning we enjoy waking to the sound of birds and local villages starting their working day, heading to the fields. After breakfast, we say goodbye to our hosts and cycle out to the “gem” of the Angkor area, the pretty temple of Banteay Srei. The “Citadel of Women” remains the best-preserved temple in Cambodia. It displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art and is noted for its truly remarkably fine bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei is unique in that it is constructed of pink sandstone, which is seen nowhere else in Angkor. Then we proceed to visit the temple of Banteay Samre, attributed to King Suryavarman II and maintaining the same style as the mother temple Angkor Wat (known as the small Angkor Wat). This temple is still very well preserved and houses the reliefs, depicting scenes from some of the lives of the most representative Hindu gods. This afternoon, return back to Siem Reap town. On the way we stop at Preah Dak Village for a Tree Planting Project. It gives the opportunity to offset the carbon of your holidays and help a local family to potentially generate some income. All equipment needed will be provided and the students need to discuss location and plant the trees themselves. After dinner we have the opportunity to explore the night markets. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Meals:  B,D

Today is a special day as we make our way out to the magnificent temples of Angkor and explore at handle bar level! You will have a full briefing with your guide as well as being sized up for your bike. Cycling is a wonderful way to explore the temple complex as it is relatively flat and we can travel along small shaded streets and avoid the queues as we enter the temples. The largest and most impressive of all the temples in Angkor is Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was built between 1112 and 1152 by King Suryavarman II and dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. It is the best preserved of all the temples. Its layout and its scale are simply breathtaking: the wall surrounding the enclosure measures 1,000 by 800 meters in length and the moat, said to represent the oceans of the world is 200 meters wide. We explore Ta Prohm, known as the temple filmed for the movie Tomb Raider which is still overgrown by jungle, trees and vines. We will have lunch near the complex and continue our exploration until we return to our hotel later that afternoon. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Cycling approx 30km **Appropriate attire must be work when visiting the temples of Angkor. Long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover the shoulders must be worn. Skirts, shorts above the knee, tank tops or other revealing clothing are not allowed to be worn within the temple grounds. Visitors are frequently turned away from the temples when wearing revealing clothing.

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast in our hotel we then head to the famous Tonle Sap Lake, South East Asia's largest fresh water lake. The lake swells to around 4 times its normal size during the wet season. We get to explore the lake and stilt villages at sea level by kayak. Our two seat inflatable kayaks are a great way to explore the lake as they can go where the noisy long tail motorboats can not. We paddle through sunken fields and floating forests to the stilt village of Kompong Klaeng. We enjoy lunch at this village town before leaving our kayak's and heading into the countryside through small villages to Boeng Mealea. Boeng Mealea was only recently made accessible to the public and is a temple that remains unrestored. kayaking approx 2 hours

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast we do a double check of our gear and equipment before we transfer to the trail head to begin our trek. We hike through seemingly endless rice fields and spectacular rural scenery. This is a great opportunity to see how people in the rural areas of Cambodia go about their lives on a daily basis. Rising up from the flat countryside is the enormous Kulen Mountain, and it slowly begins to dominate the view as the trail approaches. Kulen Mountain (Phnom Kulen) is an impressive sandstone plateau in this otherwise flat area. The mountain is considered the birthplace of the Khmer empire and a sacred place for the Khmer. We pass natural water springs where local Khmer people come to wash their face and head. They believe that this holy spring water will bring them happiness, luck and prosperity, moreover; the water is believed to cure any bad moods. Our trek takes us to the popular local hangout: the Kulen falls. Many Cambodians gather here on the weekends and national holidays to escape the heat and enjoy some time beneath the trees. We have the chance to swim here in this beautiful setting. Here we are met by our vehicles and transfer to the nearby Bong Thom village stay. Our accommodation is in a traditional Khmer village where our group will sleep in a large open air dormitory. The home stay is surrounded by orchards of exotic fruit trees that we can try. The home stay also offers free English lessons to children from the surrounding villages, each day and we will be able to join in and help with the lessons. Tonight, enjoy dinner with traditional music at the entrance. Today is a real highlight of our experience in Cambodia. Overnight in Bong Thom traditional hall Trek approx 15km, 6 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

The next 3 days is a special time for us as we join the local volunteer building Cambodia team. This is a real opportunity for us to hands on give something back to a remote community in need and to bring long term benefits to the centre. Our work here will be a mixture of labour and construction duties building houses, toilets and wells for the surrounding villages. Volunteer building is a small, Cambodian-run non-government organisation that facilitates building sturdy, wooden houses for Khmer people living without safe and secure shelter. The organisation is fully funded by volunteer fees. At the project site the students will be divided into sub groups to work on different components of the project. We will take the time to take a walk through the surrounding community whilst here gaining a better understanding of the people and their way of life. You should wear clothing you don't mind getting dirty. In addition the friendships which will form and foster closer relationships between your two countries and schools. We work each day until 3pm and have time to enjoy a range of activities including a cooking class at Komphien Village where you will get the opportunity to sample your hand made dishes and a visit the markets after. The project is set up alongside our Travel, Give, Grow concept offering unique experiences to help foster respect for the natural world as well as the diverse peoples and cultures that live in it. This style of travel helps develop confidence, resilience, tolerance, problem solving abilities, team work, fitness and key life skills. On the last night we will have a special farewell dinner and Aspara show.

Meals:  B,D

This morning we will have our last breakfast in Cambodia before heading out to visit Artisans d’Angkor. This brand was established in 1992 in order to support Cambodian arts and crafts, and to help young people find work in their local villages by continuing the practice of traditional arts. We will discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created. Depending on time we may stop at the Old Market for some last minute shopping before heading enjoying lunch. We will be met at the hotel after lunch for our transfer to the airport for check in to our flight back to Adelaide.

Meals:  B,L

Arrive Adelaide

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 11 dinners
  • 10 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night village stay,
  • return economy class flights from Adelaide including all international taxes
  • airport transfers throughout
  • private air conditioned vehicle transfers
  • daily allocated drinking water, cold towels and snacks
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual guide, assistant guide on cycling and treking days
  • medical kit
  • Free the Bears "keeper for a day" program
  • 3 Seymour College teachers traveling with each group
  • Phare NGO circus entry
  • Support vehicle for cycling days

What's Not Included

  • meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • visa fees: Cambodia
  • any optional tours, sightseeing and entry fees not listed in the itinerary
  • tips and gratuities
  • expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs and laundry
  • Project materials - a house costs US$2900 to build, a Toilet cost $295 to build and Clean water well cost $200 to build. USD$600 donation to Free the Bears

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:13 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Starting Point:Adelaide
Finishing Point:Adelaide
Activities:Community Project
Cycling
Trekking
Kayaking
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5037