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. Our focus changes to our service program as we travel to remote Kampong Speu and spend 2 days helping in the classrooms at the AIS funded Ang Duan Pis Village Centre. We say goodbye to our new friends and venture to one of the best wildlife facilities in South East Asia as we join the Free the Bears "keeper for a day" program. This is a wonderful opportunity to hands on provide lasting help to the local community on a social and conservation level.
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. 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 and depending on your arrival time we will head out to explore this rapidly developing city. We will travel the same way as the locals do, by Cyclo. Our first stop is Wat Phnom temple, the founding place of the city located on a small hilltop. We also look at the development happening in the city and how this is affecting the people and landscape. Late this afternoon we head to the riverside area of Phnom Penh to watch, and possibly join in, the various activities taking place, from exercise classes and Khmer dancing to the endless array of food stalls. Dinner this evening will be held at the renowned Foreign Correspondents’ Club located along the Riverside. The building is a colonial gem with great views of the confluence of the Upper Mekong, Lower Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. Overnight in Phnom Penh 3* hotel
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. Here we will take an IPOD tour for students to familiarize themselves with the events that took place here. In the evening we have time to reflect on the day and debrief. Tonight we have dinner at the FRIENDS restaurant, an NGO training restaurant teaching disadvantaged youth job training and providing them with an education. 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
This morning we will be met at our hotel by our guide and driver for the journey to the Ang Daun Pis Village Learning Centre in Kampong Speu province, This school was built using funds raised by AIS Elementary School students during 2013's read-a-thon. Through the school's community's donations, 280 Grade 7-9 students will now be able to study at the same time (instead of sharing one classroom in shifts). The hope is that more of them will now go on to sit their High School examinations, and potentially carry on further to university. The impact on this small community outside Phnom Penh cannot be under estimated. We will travel to Kampong Speu and spend the next 2 days assimilating in with the students in the classroom with the students.
Overnight hotel Kampong Speu
Today we will continue our service program at the Ang Daun Pia Village School. After classes are completed we say goodbye to our new friends and meet our guide and driver for the return journey to Phnom Penh. On arrival we have the opportunity to freshen up before heading out to dinner and then exploring the night markets located on the banks of the Mekong River.
Overnight 3* Phnom Penh Hotel
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 final farewell dinner.
Overnight Phnom Penh 3* hotel
After breakfast we travel to The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. Our visit will include lectures, presentations or discussions with court officials. The schedule will be tailored according to the interests of the your group. We join for the morning session before heading to the airport for our onward flight.
Per Person, Twin Share