Narrabri High School Cambodian Adventure

Narrabri High School Cambodian Adventure

Trip Highlights

  • Complete a Community Service Project at a small rural village outside of Phnom Penh with The Tabitha Foundation
  • Explore ancient temples, citadels and wats with expert guides
  • Explore Siem Reaps vibrant streets, markets & historical sites
  • Discover the World Heritage listed Angkor Wat temple complex and learn of its history
  • Assist with distributing food to a struggling village as part of the Ponheary Ly Foundation
  • Enjoy a unique performance from PHARE
  • Learn all about The Tonle Sap and the families that call this floating village home
  • Gain insight into the recent terrible history of the Pol Pot era
  • Receive blessings from monks

Trip Summary

Your Cambodian service learning journey begins in the peaceful riverside colonial town of Phnom Penh where you will learn about the very important yet confronting history of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. You will also continue a Narrabri High School tradition of assisting with constructing houses for underprivileged villages in Cambodia, in conjunction with the Tabitha Foundation. This service work will be meaningful to the local village, whilst also providing you with the opportunity for self development, growth and offer perspective. After completing your rewarding service learning, its onto beautiful Siem Reap, the gateway to one of the great wonders of the world - Angkor Wat! A full day of temple hopping included, plus spectacular photographic opportunities of the sunrise over this incredible complex will create memories that will last a life time! Getting off the beaten path to discover rural villages, provide meaningful assistance at your community projects, travel through floating villages and discover hidden temples, take part in trying amazing exotic street food, market shopping, hopping aboard cyclos and discovering Cambodian history - This itinerary has been designed to provide unique experiences and engage all involved with the local communities we travel through. This is a school excursion to get excited about!


After all the planning and preparation today is the day your adventure finally begins! Your flight today is with Singapore Airlines, departing from Sydney at 07:55. Please ensure you arrive with plenty of time to check in. We will be flying via Singapore, enroute to Phnom Penh, arriving at 17:40. Upon arrival at Phnom Penh Airport, you will be greeted by your World Youth Adventures Tour Leader and driver and taken directly to your hotel to check-in. After settling in, you will have a welcome meeting in the hotel foyer with your tour leader, providing a run down on the activities to follow this week. This will be followed by a welcome dinner at a local restaurant with the opportunity to sample tasty speciality dishes of the Khmer, accompanied by Apsara dancing.     Accommodation: Salita Hotel - Superior Room

Meals:  D

Your first full day in Cambodia begins with a visit to the Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre. Daughters of Cambodia exists to empower those trapped in the sex industry in Cambodia to walk free and start a new life, with healing, dignity, and the means to prosper. DOC offer opportunities to those trapped in sex-exploitation and trafficking to be employed in attractive and innovative social enterprises and to learn how to sustain their new life-styles in non-institutional settings. You will have a chance this morning to visit the visitor centre to learn more about this important initiative. We then make our way to the Russian market, to browse the colourful displays of stone carvings, jewellery, clothing, Cambodian Silk and various other souvenirs. This afternoon, visit the Royal Palace and the adjoining Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Emerald Buddha, named after the statue housed there, was created by King Norodom in 1892. The floor is comprised of more than 5,000 silver blocks, weighing a total of 6 tones. From here, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour of the historical French Quarter in a Cyclo, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. Next, head to Wat Phnom, a 15th century stupa. Wat Phnom, a small hill crowned by an active wat (pagoda) marks the legend of Phnom Penh City. Wat Phnom is the only hill in Phnom Penh and is the historical seat of Lady Penh and centre of Phnom Penh City. In the evening board a private boat cruise that will take you along the Tonlé Sap and Mekong rivers, enjoying a wonderful view of the riverfront and the Phnom Penh skyline. Tonights dinner will be at Romdeng Restaurant, which is a social restaurant providing work place training and support for the vulnerable and disadvantaged. The restaurant is supported by Friends-International, a social enterprise organisation saving lives and building futures for the most marginalized children & youth, their families and their communities in South East Asia and across the world. Accommodation: Salita Hotel - Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast today, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Tabitha Foundation Cambodia for an orientation briefing of the project work you will be completing over the next few days. After your briefing, you will then confront Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school which served as a Khmer Rouge torture centre. It's estimated that more than 20,000 people were held and tortured here. You will also head out to the Choeung Ek Memorial, where a stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields, the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant. Accommodation: Salita Hotel - Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, you begin your important community project, helping with the construction of houses in a poor rural village. As well as being able to make a real difference in the lives of the Cambodian poor, many volunteers often describe House Building with The Tabitha Foundation as the experience of a lifetime for them. You will not actually "build" houses; rather you "complete" houses by nailing on the walls and floors. Prior to the team's arrival, a Cambodian builder under contract to Tabitha (the "Contractor"), actually builds the foundations, frame and roof. The contractor (and the families) will guide and direct you. PURPOSES OF VOLUNTEER HOUSEBUILDING: - To provide an in depth and meaningful experience for students, teachers and all involved. The team members will experience not only the tourist attractions but will come to understand and befriend Cambodians - both the poorest and the middle class. - To educate students about poverty and the issues involved - it is an education in the causes of poverty, the results of poverty and solutions to poverty. - To give Cambodians the opportunity to teach foreigners the skills of house building - rather than being taught by the foreigners - develops a deep sense of pride. - The families chosen, represent the very poorest in their communities as well as being role models for their courage and faith in their own ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. PROCESSES OF SELECTING FAMILIES: Many families participating in the “Tabitha Savings and family partnership Program” are able to save enough money to buy land and the materials to build a house. However, some very poor families cannot save all the money required for land and a house – for example, widows, single mothers, landmine victims, children orphaned as a result of AIDS, etc. Community elders and Tabitha staff select the neediest families, who are to receive a house, from within the participant’s of the savings program in a community. Each family selected will contribute $25 USD towards the materials of their home – the team pays the rest. Families that are receiving a home must own the land where the house will be built. Accommodation: Salita Hotel - Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the rural village to continue your service learning community project. The impact of building houses for poor rural Cambodian families is life changing for all involved! Upon completion of your project you will be transferred back to your hotel to relax and freshen up, before travelling to dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodation: Salita Hotel - Superior Room

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we leave Phnom Penh behind and travel to Siem Reap by private coach, giving us opportunities to stop and walk around local villages along the way. We may be lucky enough to witness the setting of cricket traps in the rice fields. This is a favourite way for locals to catch crickets for food - another local culinary delicacy! On the way, stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous speciality being sold: deep-fried tarantula! A favourite snack of many Cambodians, many locals stop 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 stop for lunch in Kompong Thom before driving to Kompong Kleang, a village, build on stilts and boats, floating on top of the Tonle Sap Lake. For half of the year when the water level of the lake raises, the village is under water and people take their boats instead of their bikes. You will take one of the boats to explore the village and experience the locals’ life on the water. (Note: During the months Apr-Sep the water level may be too low for a visit by boat. However the village is still fascinating and can be visited by car. Quite dramatic to see how the stilted houses are exposed from the lake when water levels are low!) After arriving at Siem Reap and getting settled into your hotel, you will also have time to rest and relax. Dinner will be served at Marum features a winning mix of creative local cuisine and is named after the Moringa, or 'Tree of life' - very appropriate, as customers will be enjoying a fantastic dining experience that helps build a new life for the students in training there! Accommodation: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, you will experience traditional local life and visit a local community who benefit from a small numbers of tourists who visit their village. Funds from your tour go directly to the families providing the services, as well as a portion which is donated to the community fund. Witness and participate in the village’s daily life activities which vary according to the season. The day begins with a drive to the village of Chan Sar, about 40kms outside of Siem Reap. Along the way, stop at the headquarters of a local non-profit organisation that employs village women who specialise in the traditional craft of mat weaving. The mats are then sold in the markets, providing an income for the women. You’ll stop just outside the village and hop aboard an ox cart for a fun ride through the fields and to the home of a Khmer family who specialise in making brooms. Watch how they make brooms from natural materials and if you like, have a go at making one yourself! Then take a guided walking tour around the village where you have the opportunity to participate in fishing, farming or animal husbandry depending on the time of year. Enjoy a simple Khmer lunch followed by more activities or just spend time chatting with the locals. On the way back to Siem Reap, you'll stop at a Buddhist temple to receive a blessing from the monks. On the return to Siem Reap, we have the opportunity to visit 60 Road (local street food) for dinner - Cambodian style. A long road that is buzzing every night, lined with mats for hire, street food sellers and a small fun fair, it’s an evening picnic and barbecue haven – the perfect place to relax and spend quality time with friends. Plus, you usually won’t find any other tourists here as it is off the tourist map - this is exclusively local and any tourists present have probably had the pleasure of an invite from a Khmer friend. This is a truly off the beaten path experience! This evening, enjoy a special treat with a performance from PHARE. The Cambodian Circus has long been famous for their performances, and this NGO teaching streetkids to become circus artists is a regular at international circus conventions worldwide. Enjoy their interpretations of modern life and issues in Cambodian society. Accommodation: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Get ready for a full day of temple hopping! We begin the day very early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat – it surely is a memorable experience to see the first rays of sun slowly appear over the five iconic towers and will sure to be a highlight of your trip! Begin your visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai ‘tuk tuk’); the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. This city is surrounded by an 8 m high wall, drawing a perfect square. Enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. From here, continue to Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city. This 12th century masterpiece is a study in grandeur and is well-known for its 54 towers with enigmatic faces representing the 54 provinces of the Great Khmer Empire. 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. Continue to the most illustrious of them all, Ta Prohm, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes the ‘Tomb Raider Temple’ one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. We take a break for lunch at the Khmer Wooden House Restaurant. Later this afternoon visit the biggest religious temple in the world, the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple. 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 featured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. To finish the day, we enjoy watching a spectacular sunset from Angkor Wat before returning to the hotel. Tonight we enjoy dinner at the Pizza Company. After dinner, those who are interested can enjoy some shopping at the night markets where you could purchase some gifts, souvenirs or experience the local fish massage... Accommodation: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After a breakfast, visit the Ponheary Ly Foundation, for your Food Distribution Activity, helping support a village that struggles with food security. The Ponheary Ly Foundation provides breakfast at school each day, but providing food bundles for students to take home to their families improves attendance and performance greatly. The food you bring to these students will help to keep them nourished as well as their families. Later this afternoon, we visit the War Museum. This unique museum is the only War Museum in Cambodia and offers visitors a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It provides an opportunity to learn more about what actually occurred during Cambodia’s ‘war years’. Some of the displays and information can be confronting and there will be time to reflect and discuss one of recent history’s darkest chapters. Spend the rest of your time exploring Siem Reap’s colourful markets. Visit Artisans d’Angkor, 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. Discover how wood and stone carvings, lacquering, gilding, and silk paintings are created. In the evening, we will have a farewell dinner with a Traditional Apsara Dance Show in a local restaurant and an opportunity to sample specialty dishes of the Khmer. Accommodation: New Riverside Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning after breakfast, you’ll have a chance to learn some of the secrets of Cambodian cuisine at a cooking school. 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! You will then be transferred to the airport for your flight home, which departs with Singapore Airlines at 18:55. Upon being dropped at the airport all services finish, although the memories will last a lifetime!

Meals:  B,L

Your flight lands in Sydney today at 10:15. All services finish on arrival in Sydney.

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • Return economy class flights with Singapore Airlines from Sydney
  • 9 nights comfortable twin share hotel accommodation throughout with air conditioning
  • 9 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners. 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day.
  • Private air-conditioned coaches used for all airport transfers and group transport
  • Expert English speaking World Youth Adventures tour leader who will carry a group medical kit
  • All Sightseeing, activities and all entry fees as listed in the itinerary
  • Pre Departure Information kit and pre departure briefing to help you plan and prepare.

What's Not Included

  • Return transport from Narrabri to Sydney
  • The Tabitha Foundation Community Project Expenses. Please note that the budget for the community project is NOT included in the quote. Only transport to and from your hotel to the project site, plus lunches and bottled water is included from the Tabitha House. The materials to assist with the construction of the houses is to be fundraised. This is a separate amount separate from the trip.
  • Additional meals beyond what is listed in the Itinerary
  • Travel insurance (Compulsory - please ask us for a quote)
  • Cambodia visa fee (Compulsory - please obtain on arrival or prior to departure)
  • Tipping for crew and guides (approx US$30). This is not compulsory yet is customary in this part of the world
  • Donation (if any) to the Daughters of Cambodia
  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls, laundry and email
  • Group T-Shirt (with school name + trip name) - please request
  • Mineral water or drinks beyond that supplied


Duration:11 Days
Starting Point:Sydney. From 10 Participants
Finishing Point:Sydney
Activities:Adventure Touring
Grade:Adventure touring  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4367