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Overview

 Highlights


  • Discover the World Heritage listed Angkor Wat temple complex in the company of expert guides
  • Help the 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 harrowing genocide museums of the Pol Pot legacy in Phnom Penh, as well as S-21 and The Killing Fields
  • Learn about one of Australia's most important 'neighbours' and transfer that knowledge into your studies

This is a unique opportunity for young travellers to experience the highlights of Cambodia as well as to the assist important work of the Free the Bears Foundation. Your adventure begins in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where you'll learn a bit 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 the Free the Bears team with some of their daily tasks over two days. 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 enjoying world famous sunsets over the temples as well as visiting the Tonle Sap floating villages to see a floating school, farms, houses and many more curiosities. Our adventure also includes a tuk tuk tour of Siem Reap, a Khmer Cooking class, plus more.

Countries:

Start and Finishing Point:

Melbourne

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Addressing:


Welcome to the Kingdom of Wonder! Upon your arrival in Phnom Penh airport you will be welcomed by a World Youth Adventures representative holding a welcome sign in the arrivals hall, they will accompany you via a private coach transfer to the hotel for check in. There will be a trip briefing in the hotel foyer at a time indicated in your final documents. Enjoy a welcome dinner at Romdeng. Run by former street youth in training, Romdeng is set in a beautiful colonial building, serving a delicious variety of regional cuisines.

Meals:  D

After your breakfast, you will be transferred to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre to spend a day assisting the animal keepers at the 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. In the late afternoon, we will return to the hotel for refreshment before dinner at local restaurant. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel Distance and journey time: Phnom Penh – Tamao Mountain: 36km – 1 hour

Meals:  B,L,D

An early start today as we head out for another day of 'Keeper for A Day Program' at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. Today's Schedule (subject to change) 08.30 to 09.30 - Arrive at the centre and help keepers with morning cleaning at bear houses 09.40 to 10.30 - Food Preparation and enrichment making 10.30 to 11.00 - Put out enrichment at bears enclosure 11.00 to 12.00 - Lunch. 12.00 to 13.30 - Maintenance work - repairing bamboo fence along children home of the wild things (Children Play Area) 13.30 to 14.00 - Helping keepers with scarred feed 14.00/14.30 - Leave centre and return to Phnom Penh by approximately 15.30pm. After a relaxing break at our hotel we enjoy dinner at The Pizza Company. Overnight: Ohana Phnom Penh Palace Hotel Distance and Journey time: Phnom Penh – Tamao Mountain: 36km – 1 hour

Meals:  B,L,D

On today’s “Despair to Hope” tour, depart at 8:00 for a morning visit to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. This rural compound was used as an execution site and burial ground for some of the millions killed by the Khmer Rouge regime. Here you will learn about the atrocities and brutal killings that occurred at this site through an informative audio-headset tour complemented by the information provided by your local guide. The next stop is one of Phnom Penh’s most impoverished neighborhoods, and yet there are seeds of hope producing fruitful results. L'irresistible is more than just a factory producing fruit jams and flavored syrups, it is the living and working space for sixteen intellectually disabled Cambodians. Otherwise unable to function in society and from families who would struggle to care for them, these sixteen Cambodians have been given jobs and are taught life skills from a handful of caring Khmer and French staff and volunteers from Action Cambodge Handicap. The all-natural jams and simple syrups, which are made from local ingredients such as pumpkin and coconut, are truly delectable, and the warm welcome you’ll receive from the workers will be sure to brighten your day. (Note: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday only) A short distance away you will visit the organization where most of the workers and staff at L'irresistible started out: Pour un Sourire d’Enfant, meaning “For the smile of a Child”. This organization is helping to improve the lives of the residents of Stung Meanchey, one of the poorest neighborhoods of Phnom Penh. Here you will learn about the struggles of daily life in poor urban Cambodia and how history has impacted the present. Be inspired by the work being done at the centre through its education, vocational training, and job placement programs for street children. After learning about the school through an informative video, visit the souvenir shop and browse the items made by the parents of the centre’s students. Then enjoy lunch at Lotus Blanc, where you can support the training of these kids by being their guest. (Note: closed on weekends and public holidays). After lunch, pay a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21. Originally built as a school, the compound was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and used as its main detention and torture centre. Take a sobering tour of the site, learning about the prison’s history and hear the stories of the people held within its walls. In the late this afternoon, you will be greeted by a driver who will take you on a tour to the most remarkable sights of Phnom Penh in a Cyclo for 2hours, an original Phnom Penh means of transportation and a fun way to explore this lively city. Head to Wat Phnom temple, the founding place of the city on a small hilltop. Then continue along the Riverside park to Independence Monument, built in 1958 to Sybilles Cambodian Independence Day after winning back their independence from the French protectorate on the 9th of November 1953. End of today, enjoy an atmospheric sunset river cruise and watch how Phnom Penh’s popular riverfront comes to life in the early evening, with a coconut juice degustation on board. Overnight in Phnom Penh.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we travel to Siem Reap by private coach giving us opportunities to stop and walk around local villages. We may be lucky enough to witness the setting of cricket traps in the rice fields. This is a favourite way for locals catch crickets for food - another local culinary delicacy. On the way, stop in the town of Skuon to see their most famous specialty being sold: deep-fried tarantula! A favourite snack of many Cambodians, many buses and pick-ups 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. Upon arrival into Siem Reap, the group checks into the hotel and has some time to rest and relax. Tonight, enjoy a scenic dinner at Marum Restaurant, offering not only great food, but also building a new life for the disadvantaged youth in training there. Following dinner we enjoy an incredible performance of ‘Phare, the Cambodian Circus’. Starting at 8pm, professional artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will perform an inspiring show suitable for people of all ages. Set up in Battambang in 1994 by young returnee Cambodians from the refugee camps who learned about using art as a means of coping with trauma, PPS has played an influential role in promoting and developing Khmer culture over the years after the Khmer Rouge genocide. The hour long show mixes traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. Distance and Journey time: Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 314km – 5-6 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast, you’ll have a chance to learn some of the secrets of Cambodian cuisine at Kompheim Village Cooking Class (private lesson). 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. This afternoon, we do a Tuk Tuk (3 people per tuk tuk) transfer to orientation around Siem Reap. We continue to explore the rural charms of the Cambodian countryside. A rich tapestry woven with lush scenery, colorful, bustling villages, stilted houses, hidden temples and dusty back roads hedged with sugar palms await you. You will pass through the Village of Chreav on route to the Tonlé Sap Lake. Down meandering trails with flashes of effervescent green and rich red earth abound from the fields; the fragrant smell of lotus blossom from Buddhist shrines excites your senses. You will head out to Chong Kneas “floating village”. Take a boat and cruise through this floating settlement seeing a floating school, farms, houses and many more curiosities. Greeted by waves of the friendly locals, here you can glimpse Cambodia’s lakeside culture and traditional family lifestyle. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner at Por Cuisine. It is one of Siem Reap’s top fine dining establishments serving a delicious array of dishes on a truly unique atmosphere. It stands apart from the rest with its daily traditional Apsara dance performances from 19:30-20:30. After dinner, those who are interested can enjoy some shopping at a night market where you could purchase some gifts or souvenirs.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is a special day as we make our way out to the magnificent temples of Angkor! We will rise early to witness Angkor Wat at sunrise before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Following breakfast, we return to visit 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. We then visit a local pagoda within Angkor Wat and participate in a course on Buddhism to understand more about the life of Buddha, history of Buddhism and the different styles of Buddhism in Southeast Asia. From here, 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. Lunch will be arranged at Khmer Wooden House. This afternoon, find your way through the forest towards the ancient city of Angkor Thom, 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. Take some time in the shade of a sugar palm tree as you take in the expanse of the moat of Angkor Thom before you enter the city through the ancient South Gate, an impressive stone gate carved with Elephants and four giant faces. On each side of the entrance path a row of 54 gods or demons is holding the sacred Naga snake. Continue to Bayon Temple through meandering sandy trails that lead you through the dense jungle canopy. 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. Dinner is taken at The Blossom Café, a popular restaurant providing a wide range of familiar American dishes & cocktails in a modern space. Overnight: Sokha Roth Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, transfer to the trailhead and begin to hike through seemingly endless rice fields. Rising up from the flat countryside is the enormous Kulen Mountain (50km from Siem Reap), 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. Upon arrival, set off on a challenging trek to the forest that surrounds Preah Ang Thom, the largest community on the mountain. As you walk/drive to the village, your guide will talk to you about how this conservation initiative involves local villagers who maintain the trails. By including them in the tour development, locals are provided with an income and therefore an incentive to help stop deforestation and help protect the wildlife. After arriving and walking through the village, the trail heads into the forest with the canopy high above providing shade even in Cambodia’s hottest months. Hike along the cleared trails, while you keep your eyes open for the wildlife that inhabits the area – in addition to the flying squirrels and birds, rare Silver Langur monkeys were recently discovered in Kulen. After passing over a boulder passageway and through an active bat cave, you will stop for lunch along the banks of the Kulen River before heading back to Preah Ang Thom to visit Cambodia’s largest reclining Buddha, and if you still have energy, take in the beauty of the Kulen Waterfall. In the late this afternoon, return back to Siem Reap town. Enjoy dinner at HAVEN, a training restaurant for disadvantaged young adults who are forced to leave orphanages when they come of age. HAVEN provides vocational training in the restaurant and hospitality industries, teaching the young adults practical life skills and smoothing their transition from the institution to the real world. Serving flavourful Asian and Western foods allows guests to sample spectacular meals while supporting this notable cause. (Note: open Mon - Sat 11am-10pm; closed Wed 11am-5.30pm for student training). After dinner we have the opportunity to explore the night markets. Overnight in Siem Reap. *Due to bus 35s/45s cannot drive up Kulen Mountain so we will change to 02 x Bus 25s instead. *Trekking information: approx. 11km and spend time around 3-4 hours (go & back). *Note: We recommend wearing long trousers and using insect repellant for this pioneering but rewarding experience.

Meals:  B,L,D

The morning may be spent browsing the colourful markets of Siem Reap. Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departing flight.

Meals:  B

Early morning arrival into Melbourne, where trip concludes.

Meals:  Nil


Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Life On Land:  Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss


Learning outcomes for students

A World Youth Adventures' experience gives students the opportunity to become informed, engaged and active global citizens, through their active participation in:
• sustainable grass-roots community development projects that have them working collaboratively with members of the community;
• authentic interactions with new cultures, customs and traditions;
• activities that enable them to lead their peers and also contribute as a team member to a common objective;
• activities that take them outside of their comfort zone, to face mental and physical challenges;
• initiatives that teach them that their individual actions, collectively can make a difference, and that they have a role to play in making the world a better place


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • international airfares departing from Melbourne (subject to change)
  • airport transfers (day 1 & 9)
  • 8 nights in comfortable hotels on a twin share basis
  • private air conditioned vehicles
  • daily drinking water & cold towels
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual local guide in Cambodia with medical kit
  • donation to the Free The Bears - US$80 per person

  • 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

Grading

Adventure touring


Customise your program

We can fully customise a School Travel Program to suit your students' learning objectives and budget. Whether you require a Service Learning program, physical challenge, cultural immersion or certain curriculum targets - talk to one of our educational travel experts about the elements you need in your itinerary. We pride ourselves on developing unique itineraries to meet the learning requirements for schools.

World Youth Adventures is a division of one of the world's leading adventure travel companies, World Expeditions. We can develop itineraries in any destination that is offered by World Expeditions, which is to every continent on earth.

Use our simple Expedition Design Form to contact us with your requirements and an educational travel expert will be in touch to assist.


Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning
Programs

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.

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Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.


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