Seymour College Bruce Cambodia Service Journey

Seymour College Bruce 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 then embark on a very important part of our journey, a Community Project helping build infrastructure for remote villages in need. 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. 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.


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. SQ278 ADELAIDE TO SINGAPORE DEP 09:10 ARR 15:10 connecting with MI608 SINGAPORE TO PHNOM PENH DEP 16:35 ARR 17:30 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 Natinal Museum, housing the worlds foremost collection of ancient Khmer artifacts. Late this evening we have time to reflect on the day and debrief. Tonight we have dinner at the Friends restaurant, a training restaurant for disadvantaged youth. The restaurant provides education and job training to street children. The visit helps support the training of these kids by being their guest. Depending on availability we hope to have the manager of the restaurant and some of the workers speak with our group about their experience. 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 have an orientation tour of Siem reap 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

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

We will rise early to witness the majestic Angkor Wat at sunrise before returning to the hotel for breakfast. 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. Tonight we enjoy dinner at Marum, a restaurant featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine, named after the tree of life. The restaurant is a fantastic dining experience that helps build a new life for the students in training. kayaking approx 2 hours

Meals:  B,L,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. At the top of Phnom Kulen, we can find the 1000 of LINGAS carved under the river. We continue up to visit the grand Buddha before we turn and start trekking downhill, through thick forest. 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

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. Later this afternoon we have the opportunity to relax and dinner will be arranged at The Pizza Company tonight. After dinner we have the opportunity to explore the night markets. Overnight in Siem Reap.

Meals:  B,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 the first day until 12 and then enjoy a variety of activities. The second and third day we work until 3pm and have time to 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.

Meals:  B,D

This morning is time for a trip debrief, reflection and time at leisure for any last minute shopping and to get ready for our departure after 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. MI615 SIEM REAP TO SINGAPORE DEP 16:10 ARR 19:15 SQ279 SINGAPORE TO ADELAIDE DEP 23:10 ARR 07:30 (30 SEP 18)

Meals:  B,L

Arrive Adelaide 07:30

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
  • additional drinking water can be purchased at supermarket
Seymour Bruce

Day 2

Date: 19/09/2018

Location: Phnom Penh

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

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:


Today the Bruce group went to four different sites. We started our day at the Royal Palace, where our guide explained the architectural features of the elaborate buildings, including the throne room and the silver pagoda. Our next stop was the National Museum, where we saw religious statues collected from temples around the country, many over 1700 years old. After a lovely lunch, we learned about the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge regime by visiting two key historical sites. The first was S21, a former high school that was turned into a prison and interrogation center. Then we visited the Killing Fields site at Choeung Ek, where thousands of people lost their lives. A particularly moving moment was when our guide described how his family lost his grandfather in the genocide. It was a sobering day at times, but very memorable. 


Seymour Bruce 3

Day 3

Date: 20/09/2018

Location: Phnom Tamao

Activity: Free the Bears Rehabilitation Centre

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Today all the Bruce and Stewart girls left the hotel bright and early to visit the Free the Bears Sanctuary, an hour and a bit out of the city. When we first arrived, we were debriefed about the history of the park, before we split up and began to tour the different bear areas. The sanctuary houses two different types of bears: the Moon Bear and the Sun Bear, and it’s safe to say we all fell in love with every bear we laid eyes on. After fawning over the adorable bears, we were given either a bamboo stick or a plastic ball, in which we stuffed food in. I was fortunate enough to throw my ball over the fence to the Moon Bears, along with some other girls, and we laughed as the clever creatures extracted their treats and ate them. Following this was lunch, where we devoured delicious Cambodian delicacies. Afterwards, we all hopped on buses to survey the rest of the park. There were cheeky gibbons, majestic leopards, tigers, otters and we even managed to spot some wild bush pigs. The last activity of the day was shopping, in which we all bought T-Shirts and merchandise for ourselves and our families. But as we travelled home, we stopped by the road for a scrumptious surprise: frogs! The Bruce girls were lucky enough to have a nibble of the local delicacy, frogs legs stuffed with lemongrass and other herbs. Surprisingly, everybody enjoyed the taste and everybody had a try. As we arrived back to the hotel, everyone dashed off to one of the two pools. Those who swam in the rooftop pool were treated to a stunning sunset overlooking the city skyline. Tonight, we ate dinner at the Banana Tree Restaurant, which was typically amazing, much like everywhere we’ve eaten thus far. After an action packed day today we are moving into Siem Reap tomorrow. I think that all the girls who went to the Free the Bears Sanctuary thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and our hearts and camera rolls are full!

-Eliza Montgomery


Seymour Bruce 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 all drove from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. On the way we stopped off in tarantula town, where the girls had an opportunity to taste some fried spiders and crickets. We stopped off for lunch as well, which was really delicious, and then we arrived shortly after at our beautiful new hotel. We then headed off again in Tok Tok’s on a city tour and visited the Khmer Museum where we looked at ancient artefacts and sculptures. After this we continued on in our Tok Tok’s to the street markets, where we had our first glance at Cambodian street markets. After doing some exercise in a local park, we headed off to dinner, where we ate a delicious meal before going to the circus. Featured in the circus were acrobats who have been given the opportunity to train for free, as they have come from low socio-economic backgrounds. The circus was amazing and the acrobats were incredibly talented. Overall we had a fantastic day, and we are all looking forward to more great experiences in the days to come!  -Reghan McGinlay



Seymour Bruce 5

Day 5

Date: 22/09/2018

Location: Angkor Wat

Activity: Cycle the temples of Angkor

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Today was a day full of bike riding adventures for the Bruce girls. Cycling on top of a 900 year old wall, and through forest greenery. In total riding around 30km. Visiting the beautiful temples of Angkor Wat and the gorgeous features that behold it. Many experimenting with the different camera angles that could form the appearance of interacting with the features of the temple walls. Visiting the very place where part of tomb raider was filmed. Many left with sore muscles after the ride but the most enormous smiles that overcharge it from the amazing day we have had. Experiencing a chance to find a good bargain at the market which everyone was very successful with, and being even more excited to go back again. - Sarah Fleming and Rosalie Batt


Seymour Bruce 6

Day 6

Date: 23/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap and Tonle Sap

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:


The Bruce girls started their day at 5am to witness the beautiful sunrise over Angkor Wat. After breakfast the group travelled to the Tonle Sap Lake where we caught a large boat to collect our kayaks. We paddled through the incredible stilt  and a floating villages for an hour before heading to lunch. We enjoyed a homely western lunch and then traveled to the Beong Melea temple. The temple was not restored which was different to the other temples we had seen, but gave us an appreciation for how difficult they would be to restore. We finished the day with a refreshing swim and dinner at Friends. 


Seymour Bruce 7

Day 7

Date: 24/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: Trek Kulen Mountain 

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Bruce’s day today was full of eventful and eye opening experiences. We began the day with a long bus ride to a hiking track. Along the way we stopped to buy some red bananas from the side of the road, here we met some wonderful people with lifestyles and backgrounds extremely different to our own. Upon our arrival to the track, we snacked and then set out on our journey. All together we hiked for around 3 hours and travelled 15km. During our hike we saw many beautiful sites such as; a bat cave which housed a Buddhist shrine, stone sculptures built in the 12th century and wild Cambodian jungle. After lunch we headed back to the bus and began our drive to the overnight stay. We stopped to see a river and met two little boys who were amazing soccer players . We had a kick around with them and then proceeded on our journey. We completed our day with a delicious dinner and magical dance with music provided by a live band. -Annie Huggett


Seymour Bruce 8

Day 8

Date: 25/09/2018

Location: Sieam Reap

Activity: Cycling remote temples

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:


Today we visited beautiful temple of Banteay Srei. We then went on a 33km bike ride, which included a stop to plant fruit trees in order to support the local community. In the evening, we enjoyed a pizza dinner, followed by time in the night market. 


Seymour Bruce 9

Day 9

Date: 26/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: House Build

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:


Today the Year 10 girls traveled in a bus for about 30 km to a village outside of Siem Reap, where, for the next three days, we will be working together with members of the local community building a house for a poor family. We met the family at the beginning of the day and proceeded with much hammering, sewing, and building activity. By the end of the day, we had the frame assembled and had nailed in the floor. The year 11s spend the day with another community, Treak Village, making bricks out of recycled materials, for them to use in building.


Seymour Bruce 10

Day 10

Date: 27/09/2018

Location: Siem Reap

Activity: Treak Village

Destination Leader / Teacher comments:

Today the year 10 girls continued their build, while the year 11 girls arrived back at the Treak village, for our second day. Firstly, we spent 4 hours making both small and large bricks out of recyclable plastic. After lunch we were allocated class rooms to visit, where we taught the Cambodian children English and they taught us their language, Khmer. We all thoroughly enjoyed this experience as it was fun and rewarding. It was one if the best days of my life! - Annabel Dibbens



Duration:13 Days
Starting Point:Adelaide
Finishing Point:Adelaide
Activities:Community Project
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4964