M.G.G.S Cambodia Half Marathon and Service Journey 2019

M.G.G.S Cambodia Half Marathon and Service Journey 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Participate in the Angkor Half Marathon for Hagar
  • 2 day Immersion program at Liger Learning Centre
  • Explore one of the great wonders of the world, Angkor Wat
  • Cycling around small village towns near Siem Reap
  • Experience authentic Cambodian life at Bong Thom homestay
  • Explore the cultural and historical highlights of Phnom Penh

Itinerary

After months of planning and preparation the wait is finally over. Please make your way to Melbourne Airport for your Singapore Airlines flight to Siem Reap. On arrival at Siem Reap we will be met and transferred to our hotel, after check-in we will have a trip briefing with our Cambodian local leader. We then head out to explore this fascinating town. We travel by ‘remork’ (similar to the Thai tuk tuk) on an orientation tour visiting Siem Reap’s colourful markets and landmarks. We continue to the edge of town to Siem Reap’s famous “60 Road”. Many Cambodian’s come here for dinner, Cambodian style. It is a long road lined with street food sellers and a small fun fair where locals spend the evening, enjoying the vast range of Khmer food on offer. They bring rugs or hire picnic mats and sit in groups, enjoying the occasion. We enjoy the atmosphere before we depart for Marum Restaurant, a delightful wooden house with a spacious garden featuring a winning mix of creative local cuisine. Your visit is not only a great dining experience, but it also helps to build a new life for the students in training here. Part of the Tree Alliance group of training restaurants, they provide opportunities in the hospitality industry for local street kids and disadvantaged youths. Overnight: Angkor Paradise Hotel- Siem Reap

Meals:  L,D

We enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Ankor Wat and have breakfast before we cycle through the jungles of Angkor Wat, seeing the race route while enjoying the sights. We will have a back-up bus for those who require it and we will be mindful of tomorrow’s half-marathon. We begin with a visit to Ta Prohm Temple (a setting in one of the Tomb Raider's films). Built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries, Ta Prohm Temple has largely been left as it was found, overgrown by jungle, trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most picturesque and memorable of the Angkor temples. From Ta Prohm we cycle through hidden passages to the Angkor Thom ruins. This was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire under the reign of Jayavarman VII. We enter via the ancient East Gate through an eight metre high wall that forms a perfect square around the ancient city ruins. On each side of the entrance path, there is a row of fifty-four stone-carved gods and demons. We also visit Bayon Temple with its fifty-four towers representing the fifty-four provinces of the Great Khmer Empire, as well as the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, both known for their intricate bas-reliefs. We finish with the famous Angkor Wat, the most significant of all the sites and displayed on Cambodia's national flag, as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people. Overnight: Angkor Paradise Hotel- Siem Reap ** Cycling distance is up to 40km, but the back-up bus enables us to vary the riding distance.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast we will drive to the 21Km Marathon Race (6:00am start), arriving about 5:45am. The start and finish lines are in the temple complex, in front of the Angkor Wat Temple. After the conclusion of the race, and after the presentations, we will return to Siem Reap town for a sports massage to help recovery and relax and return to our hotel to celebrate. This afternoon is free to lie by the pool and relax. You are free to choose your own restaurant tonight, and enjoy your favourite foods. *Note: All timings and race schedules are subject to change Overnight: Angkor Paradise Hotel- Siem Reap

Meals:  B

Today you can sleep in, swim or relax at the hotel. We enjoy a recovery day today with no activities planned until a visit to the incredible PHARE, the Cambodian Circus, performed by artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS). Established in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show combines music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion to tell a story about Cambodian lives and society. Overnight: Angkor Paradise Hotel- Siem Reap

Meals:  B

After breakfast today, we cycle through the countryside to the traditional village of Wat Tabeng. Set in never-ending rice fields the village is among the most scenic in Cambodia. Your guide will take you to the local pagoda and to explore the village and surrounding farms. The activities of the village will be explained by the guide, who will translate your questions and answers with the locals. We continue cycling to the beautifully detailed temple of Banteay Srei and, as earlier, along the way there are opportunities to stop and see how the locals live. We can stop to take photos and to say “hello’ and learn about their daily lives. Rice paper is produced in this region, and we will get the chance to taste palm sugar, a popular local seasonal product. We have lunch at a local restaurant before exploring the temple. Banteay Srei, the “Citadel of the Women” is the best preserved temple in Cambodia and displays the finest examples of classical Khmer art. It’s pink sandstone construction is unique in Angkor. We will be reminded of Cambodia’s modern history during our visit to the Landmine Museum. Mr. Aki Ra, the museum’s founder, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime and is now working to decommission land mines. The museum also serves as a home for landmine amputee children from the streets of Phnom Penh who Aki Ra has assisted. We continue cycling to reach our overnight village accommodation at the Bong Thom Homestay, multishare style accommodation in the Cambodian countryside. Tonight we will experience rural hospitality with an excellent meal and the chance to join in traditional dances. Overnight: Bong Thom Homestay. Multi share room with mattress and mosquito net. **Cycling distance is potentially up to 55 kms, but activities will slow us down and actual distance ridden will vary according to opportunities along the way.

Meals:  B,L,D

We will have an early breakfast this morning before we transfer to the airport for our 50 minute flight to Phnom Penh. On arrival we will be welcomed by our local guide and transfer to the Ligar Learning Centre, a school for Cambodian children working on real world problems in the region with local govt etc and MGGS is forming a partnership with this school. Meet students and tour the facility which is a 21st century school with Liger Learning Center providing high-potential, economically disadvantaged students with a world-class learning experience – empowering them to become leaders of tomorrow. Currently, there is one Liger Learning Center, operated by The Liger Charitable Foundation, a US registered non-profit. Through project-based learning and a focus on entrepreneurship and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh prepares students to drive Cambodia’s future social and economic development. The Liger Charitable Foundation is creating a model, informed by global awareness and rooted in local culture, to ensure that promising, economically disadvantaged students have the capacity, drive, and network to lead their country’s future. Tonight we will stay with our hosts at Liger Learning Centre. Overnight: Liger Learning Centre

Meals:  B

Today the group will have a full immersion program at the Liger Learning Centre. Overnight: Liger Learning Centre

Meals:  Nil

This morning we will be picked up at the Liger Learning Centre by our private vehicle as we start to explore Cambodia's more recent history. Whilst this is a confronting visit, it is important if we are to understand the country's recent history and how the people are looking positively towards the future. We start with a visit to 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 proceed 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 as a reminder of the atrocities the Khmer Rouge inflicted on other Khmers. We will take a tour for students to familiarize themselves with the events that took place here. These sites are moving and important, but how Cambodia has put this behind them and worked together for the future is the big story. We will go back to town for lunch and have some time to relax, reflect and debrief. Later that afternoon, we will embark on a cruise along the Mekong River on our private boat and visit the night markets. Overnight: Ohana Hotel- Phnom Penh

Meals:  L,D

This morning we continue our exploration of Phnom Penh. The city is going through a period of rapid development at the moment and we look at the impact this is having on a social and conservation level. We will take a 2 hour Cyclo trip to key cultural and historic landmarks, to explore the rich past of ornate Khmer-style temples and the grand colonial buildings. We stop to visit Wat Phnom, a small hill where we get a wonderful view over the city before continuing to the colourful markets of Phnom Penh. Next, we visit the National Museum and Royal Palace. We will have a delicious Khmer lunch at Friends restaurant, a charity restaurant housed in a restored colonial building where former street children are provided with education and vocational training. We will then spend the rest of the day visit the Russian Market, considered the best market for jewelry, clothes and Cambodian silk souvenirs and some free leisure time before our transfer to the Phnom Penh International airport for our flight back to Australia. **Note: To see the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phom Penh, visitors are required to wear appropriate clothes. Guests wearing short pants (above knee level) and sleeveless tops will not be allowed in.

Meals:  B,L

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • International and Domestic Airfares as per itinerary
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners
  • 5 nights comfortable hotels/lodge in twin room
  • 1 night at homestay (shared facilities) and 2 nights at Liger Learning Centre
  • All transfers and transportation during the trip by air conditioned coach
  • Local English speaking group leader throughout
  • All entrance fees for activities described in program
  • Back up bus and truck to carry bikes on cycling days, cycle rental and helmet
  • Snacks and fruit during cycling days
  • Participation fees for Half Marathon
  • Monk Blessing Ceremony
  • Village life experience program
  • Mineral water on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing
  • Staff members from MGGS traveling with group

What's Not Included

  • Any donations to local school or any other organisation
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Visa fees: Cambodia
  • Personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Early check in or late check out
  • Optional excursions and activities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips and gratuities

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:10 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Starting Point:Melbourne
Finishing Point:Melbourne
Activities:Half Marathon
Cycling
Grade:Moderate to Challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5618