YEW Chung International School of Shanghai: Cambodia Service Learning Adventure 2019

YEW Chung International School of Shanghai: Cambodia Service Learning Adventure 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Complete a 4 day service learning project building three houses for local families in need
  • Explore the ancient temples, citadels and wats of Angkor with expert guides to assist your understanding
  • Take a traditional Khmer cooking class
  • Complete a high ropes course and fly through the jungle Zip Lining
  • Shop at the night markets in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh
  • Visit the floating villages on the Tonle Sap
  • Learn about Cambodia's recent dark history during visits to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
  • Visit the tropical island of Koh Tonsai ( Rabbit Island ) and partake in water activities

Trip Summary

This comprehensive itinerary features Cambodia's best known attraction, Angkor Wat, the sights of Phnom Penh, a meaningful service learning project that will build a new house for three marginalised families on the outskirts of Siem Reap, plus much more.

A visit to Cambodia is a truly unique and rewarding experience. There is a rich and proud culture and impressive natural scenery and the spirit and warmth of the people make this an exceptional destination to visit.

The journey begings in Siem Reap, the spiritual heart of Cambodia. The symmetrically perfect Angkor Wat, is just one of a collection of elaborate individual temple sites that are spread over an area of 200 square kms, nominating them as one of the richest in the archaeological world. Team work is called on as you support your friends as the entire group embarks on an exhilarating zip lining in the jungle. A hands on cooking demonstration starts with a walk through the market purchasing fresh ingredients before preparing a traditional Cambodian meal which you savour. In addition to these activities you will enjoy visits to the Tonle Sap floating villages, silkworm farms and more.

Working under the guidance from expert trades people, the YEW Chung International School of Shanghai students will build three new homes in a marginalized community on the outskirts of Siem Reap. Working along side members of the community and qualified trades people you will work on tasks such as sanding, measuring, chiselling, sawing wooden posts, load carrying, basic carpentry. The immediate and long term benefit that the families will derive from your work will be immediately evident.

We then travel to the capital city of Phnom Penh, with its wide boulevards and idyllic waterfront location at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, where we explore the cultural and historical highlights of the city. We visit the Royal Palace, the bustling Russian markets and the powerful Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

The journey culminates in the coastal provinces of Kampot and Kep where we have time to relax and reflect on the incredible experiences we have enjoyed in Cambodia.


Our service learning adventures can be undertaken by anyone with a reasonable level of health and fitness. For the community project part of your trip you will not require a certain level of strength or physical ability, just an enthusiastic and positive attitude. A project manager will direct and distribute the workloads among participants on a daily basis. There is no pressure to exert yourself physically beyond your limits during the project but you should be prepared to give 6-7 hours of physical labour each day.

Sample Itinerary

After all your preparations and anticipation, the day is finally here when you set off for Cambodia on a life-changing service learning adventure. Please arrive at the airport three hours prior to the scheduled departure. Your flight departs Shanghai at TBC and arrives in Siem Reap at TBC. On arrival into Siem Reap you will be met at the airport by your English speaking guide and transferred to our centrally located hotel aboard a modern coach equipped with seat belts. For the duration of the visit the group will be allocated an English speaking guide and a private vehicle which will provide all your transportation. After getting settled into the hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby where a trip briefing will be held and spend the rest of your day free at leisure. Tonight, we enjoy a welcome dinner at Por Cuisine for Khmer fusion fine dining. This restaurant has its very own daily traditional Apsara dance performance from 19:30-20:30. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  D

After breakfast, we take a guided tour of Angkor Wat, easily the most famous and best-preserved of all temples within the Angkor complex. It is a massive three-tiered structure crowned by five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters from ground level. The centrepiece of any visit to the temples around Siem Reap, Angkor offers many iconic sights for amazing pictures. After lunch, we experience Angkor Zipline Eco-Canopy Tours is located 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. The program is not suitable for children below 100cm in height. Maximum weight is 125kg. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel 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,L,D

After breakfast, we drive to the Kulen Mountain Range, approximately 60kms from Siem Reap. Phnom Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia, and is a popular place of pilgrimage during weekends and festivals. We follow the trail into the natural jungle setting while seeing big rocks, which might be the hidden remains of the Khmer Empire. A small Wat at the summit of the mountain houses a large reclining Buddha carved into the very sandstone boulder on which the structure is built. Arriving at the top, you will move on by foot on trails leading to the area's villages hidden. Enjoy the natural jungle setting while exploring the hidden remains of the Khmer Empire, such as life size elephant statues of Srai Damrei. Prepare to be amazed by the life-size Elephant Statue, which represents the mountain’s guardian, and the smaller statues of lions, a cow and a frog. Seeing these ancient carvings in the middle of the jungle is a truly unique experience and a poignant reminder of the strength of the early Khmer Empire. More stone carvings lie just around the corner at Damrei Khrap. Back from the jungle, you can visit a waterfall and take a refreshing dip in its pool. Later this afternoon, return back to Siem Reap town and refresh your body before dinner. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel Trekking distance: approx. 11 km

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we learn some of the secrets of Cambodian Cuisine at the Kompheim Village Cooking Demonstration, which begins with an introduction to some local ingredients and techniques and then we prepare our own dishes. There’s plenty of incentive to pay attention because you will enjoy dining on the results of your efforts. After lunch, take a short drive to Mechrey floating village. Take a boat and cruise through this floating settlement, seeing a floating school, farms, houses and many more curiosities. Greeted by the waves of the friendly locals, here you can glimpse Cambodia’s lakeside culture and traditional family lifestyle. On the way back, stop visit Silk Farm to learn about how they produce Khmer silk by traditional methods. After dinner, we have the opportunity to head to the Night Markets where you can purchase gifts and souvenirs. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast at the hotel, the real purpose of this trip will commence when we drive to the community where we’ll be building 3 houses. Upon arrival a thorough briefing will take place as will a safety talk and you will be introduced to the trained builders and laborers who will be assisting you. You will then be divided into sub groups to work on different components of the project. You will rotate through tasks throughout the day. Wear old clothing and suitable shoes and bring some sturdy work gloves from home. Project works: - Measuring, chiselling, sawing wooden posts - Preparing stairs - Measuring and cutting wall panels - Measuring and cutting wall supports Due to strict safety precautions 25 people is the maximum number of people on each site. It is important that you remain hydrated and regular breaks will be taken to keep energy levels high. The afternoons are hot and so we limit our service work to the cooler mornings, returning to the hotel in the afternoons to freshen up and take a swim to cool off. After dinner, enjoy the Cambodian Circus has long been famous for their performances, and this NGO teaching street-kids to become circus artists is a regular at international circus conventions worldwide. Enjoy their interpretations of modern life and issues in Cambodian society. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast at the hotel we continue to the project site to work from 7am - 12pm. After lunch, we visit Ta Prohm Temple by TuK Tuks (3 people per tuk tuk), 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.We also visit the ancient city of Angkor Thom, surrounded by an 8m high wall. Angkor Thom was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. Continue to Bayon Temple in the exact centre of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur, its exterior gallery walls featuring extensive, superb bas-reliefs, particularly the East and South Galleries. The Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King are also must-visits as they are both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast at the hotel we continue to the project site to work from 7am - 12pm. We have lunch and return to the hotel to cool down in the swimming pool, the remainder of the afternoon is for rest. After dinner, we head to the Night Markets for some gift and souvenir shopping. Overnight: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

We return to the project site to apply the finishing touches. The positive impact that your hard work will have on the recipients of the new homes cannot be underestimated. In addition the friendships which will have formed will foster closer relationships between your two countries and schools. We partake in a handover celebration and the unveiling of a plaque with lots of speeches, photos, shaking of hands and we bid farewell to our friends. We set off in the private coaches for Phnom Penh ( 5-6 hours drive ). En route, stop in the town of Skuon to see a speciality being sold, deep-fried tarantula, a favourite snack of many Cambodians. After a short stop continue to Phnom Penh and check in at the hotel. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at the hotel we will be greeted by a number of Cyclo drivers who will take us on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo (2hours). Cyclos are an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. First we head to the Royal Palace. This palace dates back to 1866 and 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. 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. After learning about some of Cambodia’s tragic past it is time to put a smile back on your face and experience modern Khmer life. End the day with a delicious dinner at The Pizza Company. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel Note: To see the Royal palace and silver pagoda in Phnom Penh, visitors are required to wear appropriate clothes. Guests wearing short pans (above knee level) and sleeveless tops are not permitted.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we transfer to the Cambodian coast, to the riverside town of Kampot 3hour drive). This charming town with magnificent surroundings is still dominated by French colonial architecture and the countryside in this province is particularly scenic. We explore the laid-back town on a walking tour and absorb the pleasant atmosphere and we visit a pepper farm. Kampot is known for its premium quality pepper that used to be essential for French chefs in the 1960s. We also visit a cave decorated with a Buddhist statue from which you have great views over the province. This afternoon we drive the short distance (1hour drive) to Kep. Cambodia’s prestigious beach resort of the 1960s is now awakening to its former glory. A fascinating mix of a small calm beach, reminders of the past and a beautiful National Park on its door step make Kep and interesting and very relaxing place. We check into our resort and enjoy the afternoon at leisure to relax and reflect on the journey to date. Overnight in Kep.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning, embark on a short boat trip (25 mins) to the pretty island Koh Tonsai, also known as Rabbit Island. Spend the morning at leisure exploring the island and relaxing on the island’s beautiful tropical beach. A seafood barbecue lunch will be prepared on the island. Mid-afternoon, return to Kep and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Kep.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we transfer back to Phnom Peng International Airport (3 hour drive). The flight details from Phnom Penh to Shanghai are TBC.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 11 dinners and filtered water and 2 cold towels per person per day, snacks and fruits during community project days
  • Shared accommodation in twin room - 07 nights in Siem Reap, 02 nights in Phnom Penh and 02 nights in Kep
  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (depending on group size) > 11-16pax: coaches of 35 seats > 17-35pax: coaches of 45 seats. Note: 7-16pax: coaches of 24 seats (on the day visiting Kulen Mountain roads do not allow for bigger buses of 35-45 seats)
  • 2 expert English speaking tour leaders in Cambodia who will carry a group medical kit
  • 2 hours of Cyclo tour in Phnom Penh
  • Flight of The Gibbon Zip Lining Angkor package
  • Angkor Zipline full course
  • Private boat tour on Tonle Sap Lake at Mechrey floating village
  • Private cooking class
  • Costs associated with the service learning project. A group donation of USD$9000 has been included in the trip price to cover the costs associated with building 3 houses, such as the purchase of all materials and equipment for the project, the costs associated with transporting the materials to the work site as well as the wages of a local skilled trades people to oversee the project work.
  • Economy seats with China Eastern Airways from Shanghai to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to Shanghai (taxes included)

What's Not Included

  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls laundry and email
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance ( compulsory )
  • Tips - approx. USD$50.00 (not compulsory)


Duration:12 Days
Starting Point:From Shanghai
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5249