The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award: Residential Project in Cambodia 2019

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award: Residential Project in Cambodia 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Complete your Residential Project and experience the highlights of Cambodia
  • Help out at Free The Bears and get a behind the scenes look at the Rescue Centre
  • Explore the vibrant streets and historical sites of Siem Reap
  • Attend a 'hands on' Cambodian Cooking Class and sample the results
  • Visit the genocide museums of the Pol Pot legacy in Phnom Penh, as well as S-21 and The Killing Fields
  • Explore the amazing Angkor Wat complex and much more

Trip Summary

Your adventure begins in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where you'll learn about Cambodia’s recent dark history. You'll travel to the Phnom Tamao Zoological Gardens and Wildlife Rescue Centre, located just an hour's drive from Phnom Penh, to assist Free The Bears team with some of their daily tasks. You'll next travel by road to Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor Wat, where you'll experience this extraordinary complex. We explore the world famous temples of Angkor, built when the Khmer civilisation was at its height a thousand years ago. We explore various temples including Angkor Wat, Ta Promh, Bayon and enjoy world famous sunsets over the temples as well as visiting the Tonle Sap floating villages to see a floating school, farms and houses. Your adventure culminates with 5 full days of service with Happy Days Charity, in a community located on the outskirts of Siem Reap. The Happy Days Cambodian Village School is a charity formed in 2011 to support a rural village school in north west Cambodia, located a short distance from Siem Reap and Angkor Wat Temples. During your stay you will assist with -

> Supporting the teaching staff at the three schools, assisting with English, Mathematics, Craft, Sport classes

> Participate in Apsara dance and song classes at the school

> Interacting with the Siem Reap Scholarship Students to improve their grasp of English language

> Visits to families in the village to assist with their day to day activities

> Assist at the Pre-School Food Program at Sre Vibolker school with food preparation and serving of the 200 students

> Assist with developing a new library system at the school

This adventure fulfills The Duke of Ed Residential Project. To learn more about this section of The Duke of Ed please visit


Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia! You will be met by your local guide at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Phnom Penh town. After getting settled into the hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby where a trip briefing. Overnight: Cardamom Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Meals:  Nil

After your breakfast at the hotel, you will be greeted by a group of cyclo drivers who will take your group on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a cyclo (2 hours). First, we head to the Royal Palace, dating back to 1866. The palace houses the Silver Pagoda, named for the over 5000 heavy silver tiles that cover its floors. Its original name is Wat Prakeo, meaning Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In this temple you will view a collection of Buddhas in gold, silver, crystal, and bronze. Continue to visit the National Museum, built in traditional Khmer style. It houses the world's foremost collection of ancient Khmer artistic, archaeological, and religious artifacts from the 4th to the 13th centuries. Over 5,000 pieces are on display, constituting the repository of the Kingdom's cultural wealth. We scale the steps up this small hill to see Wat Phnom Temple, the birthplace of Phnom Penh. This afternoon we gain an insight into Cambodia’s recent dark history on a visit to the remarkable Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, housed in the former school that was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture center named ‘S-21’. Also visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. A grim, but important visit that will allow you to dig below the surface and understand Cambodia better. Overnight: Cardamom Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Meals:  B

After your breakfast, you will be transferred to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre to spend a day assisting the animal keepers at Free The Bears sanctuary which is Cambodia’s premier zoological park and rehabilitation centre. Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) is very large and houses many species of animals. Volunteers will be working with our groups of rescued Sun bears and Moon bears. The centre currently has over 120 bears in 24 large outdoor enclosures covering about 8 hectares. The enclosures are very natural and have large rocky outcrops, native fauna, climbing frames and platforms, pools and other enrichment’s. It is a safe and happy home to bears that have been rescued from a range of different situations, including poachers, the black market, the bile farm industry and businesses using them for entertainment, trades which often leave behind very young orphaned cubs. Today's Schedule (subject to change) 09.30 to 10.00 - Arrive at the centre and have introduction and welcome. 10.00 to 11.00 - Guided tour around the bear sanctuary and introduction to the bears. 11.00 to 12.00 - Preparing bear enrichment. 12.00 to 13.00 - Lunch arranged at Phnom Tamao 13.00 to 15.00 - Tour of other animals at the centre. 15.00 to 15.30 - Helping keepers put out enrichment, feeding bears etc. 15.30/16.00 - Leave centre and return to Phnom Penh by approximately 5.30pm. Distance and journey time: Phnom Penh – Tamao Mountain: 36km – 1 hour Overnight: Cardamom Hotel in Phnom Penh.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we drive in our private vehicle overland to Siem Reap (duration 5-6 hours), the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. En route, stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous specialty being sold, deep-fried tarantula, a favourite snack of many Cambodians. After a short stop we continue to Siem Reap. \Welcome to Siem Reap, the charming gateway to the famed Temples of Angkor. Head to the hotel for check in. Settle in and enjoy some time at leisure and perhaps cool down in the swimming pool. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel in Siem Reap.

Meals:  B

After your early breakfast, we explore Angkor Wat. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat is constructed following the model of the temple mountain symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken around thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is figured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. From here, continue to visit Ta Prohm Temple, unlike most other Angkor temples, has been left just it was when rediscovered: a photogenic and atmospheric maze of trees growing out of temple ruins amidst jungle surroundings, making it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors. Later this afternoon, travelling to join Angkor Zipline Eco-Canopy Tours inside the UNESCO World Heritage designated Angkor Archeological Park. The full course (15 different zip) takes about 2 hours and offers Cambodia’s only world-class Zipline eco-tour experience. It includes a safety briefing and all equipment. There is a max of 9 people in each group plus 2 safety sky rangers. A full course spends time 2.5 to 3 hours, and the program is not suitable for children below 100cm in height or weighing more than 125kgs. Tonight, those who are interested can enjoy some shopping at a night market to purchase some gifts or souvenirs. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel in Siem Reap. Note: Appropriate attire when visiting Angkor temples is long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing are not allowed within the temple grounds. Visitors can and are frequently turned away from temples when wearing revealing clothing.

Meals:  B

This morning, you’ll have a chance to learn some of the secrets of Cambodian Cuisine at Kompheim/Treak Village Cooking Class (Private arrangement by Beyond Unique Escapes). There will be a demonstration to introduce you to some local ingredients and techniques and you’ll also have the chance to prepare your own dishes. There’s plenty of incentive to pay attention - afterwards, you get to dine on the results! After lunch we depart on an interesting boat trip on the Tonlé Sap Lake, where you will have the opportunity to learn about life on the lake. Tonlé Sap is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake with its size varying greatly depending on the season, as it is swelling to about four times its size during the wet season. Board a local boat and visit the village of Kampong Kleang, where only few tourists venture. Embark on a boat ride through the village where the fisherman and their families live in stilted houses among the petrified mangrove forests and waterways. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel in Siem Reap.

Meals:  B,L

Each morning you'll enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then drive by private vehicle to the Happy Days Village. You will take a boxed lunch from the hotel with you as well as an ample supply of water. The type of volunteer work you do each day will vary depending on the needs of the schools and community. It may involve supporting the teaching staff at the three schools, assisting with english, mathematics, craft and sport classes, interacting with the Siem Reap Scholarship Students to improve their grasp of English language, visiting families in the village to assist with their day to day activities including helping with the rice harvest, assisting at the Pre-School Food Program at Sre Vibolker school with food preparation and serving of the 200 students and assisting with developing a new library system at the school. Please dress appropriately when in the community, long pants (covering the knee) and shirts that cover shoulders. Avoid skirts, small shorts, tank tops, and other items of revealing clothing.

Meals:  B,L

Following breakfast at the hotel, check out and take the transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departing flight. Trip concludes.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches (5 boxed lunches for service days)
  • airport transfers (day 1 & 12)
  • 11 nights in comfortable hotels on a twin share basis
  • private air conditioned vehicles
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual local guide in Cambodia with medical kit
  • western leader in Cambodia
  • donation to Happy Days - $400 per person

What's Not Included

  • meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • visa fees
  • personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs and laundry
  • tips and gratuities
  • international airfares from Sydney to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to Sydney


Duration:12 Days
Starting Point:Phnom Penh
Activities:Adventure Touring
Service Learning
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5291