Mooroolbark College Year 12 Cambodia Community Service Adventure

Mooroolbark College Year 12 Cambodia Community Service Adventure

Trip Highlights

  • Participate in Community Project restoring an educational facility
  • Explore one of the great wonders of the world, Angkor Wat
  • Cycling around small village towns near Siem Reap
  • Witness local life at stilt village Kompong Kleang on Tonle Sap Lake
  • Trek Kulen Mountains to gain incredible views
  • Experience authentic Cambodian life at Bong Thom homestay
  • Explore the tree lined streets of Phnom Penh
  • Chill out on the white sandy beaches of Sihanoukville
  • Enjoy a boat trip with snorkling to the stunning Koh Takiev and Koh Tres islands

Trip Summary

Our adventure begins in the bustling town of Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor Wat, we explore the surrounds by bike and foot. We then embark on a very important part of our journey, a Community Project helping restore and renovate the TREAK VILLAGE COMMUNITY CENTRE near Siem Reap. For 3 days we work together with the local community to improve the facilities and help participate in the education program. This is a wonderful opportunity to hands on provide lasting help to the local community. We pay a visit to the Kompong Kleang village set on the Tonle Sap Lake to witness how life is lived on the water in villages built on stilts - homes, schools and hospitals purpose built to float on the water during the wet season. We embark on a trek to the top of sacred Kulen Mountain and spend the night in a small Cambodian village at a traditional home stay, a real highlight of your adventure. Our adventure then travels through remote villages to Cambodia's capitol, the lovely tree lined streets of Phnom Penh. We explore the same way the locals do, by cyclo, as we discover the local markets and main places of interest. We then head South to the beach resort town of Sihanoukville. Here we have 3 days to laze on the white sandy beaches and visit remote Koh Trakiev and Ko Tres Islands. An incredible way to unwind after school whilst helping a local community in need!

Itinerary

After months of planning and talking about this great adventure the opportunity has now arrived to get out and explore the mystical land of Cambodia. Please make your way to the airport for your Thai Airways flight to Siem Reap. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. We have 8 rooms available for a shower and to freshen up for an hour before we head out on a orientation tour of the town. We then head out to a local restaurant for lunch (at your own expense) before exploring the stunning rural scenery the way locals do, by tuk tuk! This is an excellent opportunity to see how the people of this once sleepy village town live. We can observe life in the Khmer stilt villages from the banks of the river as the local fisherman count their catch and prepare it for the markets. We then return back to Siem Reap and walk back to the hotel from the entertainment district. Tonight we have a low key welcome dinner at a great little local restaurant. Here you can try some tasty specialty dishes of the Khmer. Overnight City River Hotel Siem Reap Hotel

Meals:  D

The next 3 days is a special time for us as we visit the site of our Community Project for the first time. This is a real opportunity for us to hands on give something back to a remote community in need and bring long term benefits to the centre. Our work here will be a mixture of labour and construction duties around the new school building along with helping in the classrooms with the current school program. Each lunchtime we will return to Siem Reap for lunch and to relax at the hotel before returning to the Treak Community Centre for the afternoons activities. At the project site the students will be divided into sub groups to work on different components of the project. We will take the time to take a walk through the surrounding community whilst here gaining a better understanding of the people and their way of life. You should wear clothing you don't mind getting dirty or paint on. The people from the local village and school will be very receptive to your visit and the improvements that you are making that will bring long term benefits to the entire village. The difference which this work will make can not be underestimated. In addition the friendships which will have formed, it will foster closer relationships between your two countries and schools. The project is set up alongside our Travel, Give, Grow concept offering unique experiences to help foster respect for the natural world as well as the diverse peoples and cultures that live in it. This style of travel helps develop confidence, resilience, tolerance, problem solving abilities, team work, fitness and key life skills. We will return to our hotel late in the afternoon to refresh before heading out to dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Siem Reap Hotel ***PLEASE NOTE lunch is not included in the trip cost each day, we will organise a group to head to the supermarket to purchase foods so we can make our own lunched each day, dinner on day 3 and is at your own expense.

Meals:  B,D

This morning we will plan to head out around 8am. We have a good days cycling planned into the surrounding rural area. We pass through villages, schools and through rice fields and stop at small temples enroute. We then join our vehicle and drive to Banteay Srei Temple, which is known for its pink sandstone and deep, intricate carvings. The carvings here, many in 3D format, are said to be so delicate that only a lady could have carved them. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant Khmer wooden house near Srah Srang before jumping into tuk tuk's and heading to the magnificent Ta Prohm. Angkor is full of magical highlights, and possibly one of the most enjoyable is Ta Prohm temple where the Tomb Raider movies were set and filmed. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle. This makes Ta Prohm one of the most memorable of the Angkor temples. Photo opportunities abound around every corner. We will have time to explore and relax and take our surroundings in before heading back to Siem Reap. Tonight we will enjoy an Aspara dinner cultural show. Overnight Sieam Reap Hotel

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. We return to the temples after breakfast and make our way around by local tuk tuk. The largest and most impressive of all the temples in Angkor is Angor Wat. Angkor Wat was built between 1112 and 1152 by King Suryavarman II and dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. It is the best preserved of all the temples. Its layout and its scale are simply breathtaking: the wall surrounding the enclosure measures 1,000 by 800 meters in length and the moat, said to represent the oceans of the world is 200 meters wide. We will have lunch near the complex and continue our exploration until we return to our hotel later that afternoon. Overnight Siem Reap Hotel

Meals:  B

After breakfast, we will take a drive to the Kulen Mountain Range, approximately 60 km away 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 festival. There is a small wat at the summit of the mountain, which houses a large Buddha carved into the sandstone boulder upon which it is built. Once we arrive we continue by foot along hidden trails leading to the village. Overnight Bong Thom homestay Once we are back from the jungle you can visit the Waterfall and take a refreshing bath in its pool. We then head to the fantastic Bong Thom home stay to spend the night. Our accommodation is in a traditional Khmer village Teak house where our group will sleep in a large open air dormitory. The home stay is surrounded by orchards of exotic fruit trees. The home stay also offer free English lessons to children from the surrounding villages each night and we will be able to join in and help with the lessons. Overnight Bong Thom homestay

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will have an early breakfast before we will check out of our hotel and start our journey around 7:30 towards Phnom Penh. This is a wonderful sprawling jungle temple covering over one square kilometer. The temple has been overrun by the jungle and left this way and gives you an impression of how the first explorers must have felt once they discovered this temple in the jungle. This is a real Indiana Jones type moment as we explore the narrow corridors and open courtyards among the sprawling jungle. We enter from the less crowded West gate. We continue to visit Kompong Kleang, a village build on stilts and boats floating on top of the Tonle Sap Lake. This is a different world as the local people live on and off this huge river. We will take one of the boats to explore the village and experience the locals life on the water. We will make a stop and have the opportunity to explore by foot before stopping at one of the local houses for lunch. In the afternoon we continue to Kampong Thom where we will spend the night. Overnight in Kampong Thom

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we have time to lie in and relax and enjoy the hotel and pool before we leave the tourist trails behind today and depart the village town of Kampong Thom. We head into the rural surrounds and visit some small villages in the area. 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! The more game can try this new culinary experience. We continue our drive to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. On arrival we will check into our hotel and have free time before we join a boat cruise on Mekong river to view the cities night lights. After the cruise is free to enjoy dinner. Overnight Asia Tune Hotel Phnom Penh

Meals:  B,L

Today we will head out and enjoy a morning visiting key sites of the city. Phnom Penh is regarded by many as the most beautiful of all French built cities in IndoChina. Its location is also important as it sits where the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers converge. Its rich historical past can be traced to the Khmer and French influence evident in the ornate Khmer-style temples and the grand colonial buildings. Today we will explore the most interesting and stunning sites of the city with a twist. We will travel the same way as the locals do, by Cyclo! This is an exciting way to explore as we wind through the traffic in a nice slow pace by pedal power. We start by riding along the river side to Wat Phnom, a 15th century stupa. The ride is great as we can witness people going about their normal daily lives and we see how important the river is to the people. Traveling by cyclo we can stop frequently and meet the people and explore little markets and shops along the way. Wat Phnom, a small hill crowned by an active wat (pagoda) marks the legend of Phnom Penh City, we also get a wonderful view from the top! 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 restuaraunt "Friends" (lunch cost not included) before we then will 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 to remind people of the atrocities the Khmer Rouge inflicted on other Khmers. Here we will take a 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. Overnight Asia Tune Hotel Phnom Penh

Meals:  B

After breakfast, we board our private vehicle and travel down to the beach resort town of Sihanoukville. We will get our bearings whilst we have lunch at Friends training restaurant. Friends is an NGO that has been working with vulnerable children, youth, their families and their communities. We will hear a little bit about the concept over lunch. (lunch at own expense) The rest of the day is free to laze on the beach and explore. Tonight we have a meal organised and included at the Coolabah Restaurant. This restaurant was last years Mooroolbark College groups home away from home. Overnight Holiday Villa Nataya Resort Sihanoukville.

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast at our hotel we will be picked up by our private boat charter and head out to visit some beautiful islands off the coast of Cambodia. The boat trip takes around 1 hour as we leave the mainland behind and visit these secluded Islands. Beautiful white sandy beaches await us and we can spend the day snorkeling, swimming or just relaxing under a palm tree. We will visit Koh Takiev, Koh Tres and Koh Chaloh Islands during the course of the day. Late afternoon we rejoin the boat for our trip back to Sihanoukville** Overnight Holiday Villa Nataya Resort Sihanoukville.

Meals:  B,L

Today is totally free to rest on the beach, the hotel pool or for exploring the nearby Ream National Park. The Park offers walking tours of the mountains, safari tours and visits to the waterfalls. You may just opt to lie on the beach and eat seafood from the seaside vendors. Overnight Holiday Villa Nataya Resort Sihanoukville.

Meals:  B

This morning we drive back to Phnom Penh and board our flight to Melbourne via Bangkok.

Meals:  B

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 7 dinners
  • 12 nights comfortable hotels/lodge, 1 night homestay
  • return economy class flights from Melbourne including all international taxes
  • airport transfers throughout
  • private air conditioned vehicle transfers
  • daily drinking water, cold towels and snacks
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual guide
  • medical kit
  • Remote Island Boat trip including snorkling
  • Mooroolbark College teachers traveling with group

What's Not Included

  • meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • visa fees: Cambodia
  • personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • any optional tours, sightseeing and entry fees not listed in the itinerary
  • tips and gratuities
  • expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs and laundry
  • Cost of Project approximately $2,500 to be fundraised before travel

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:15 Days
Countries:Cambodia
Starting Point:Melbourne
Finishing Point:Melbourne
Activities:Community Project
Schoolies
Cycling
Grade:Introductory to Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5364