Location: Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia
Duration: Minimum 1 week, maximum 6 months commitment
Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Placements start each Monday
Cost: £300 GBP per week - see Costs tab for further details
Includes: all food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation and all project related activities
Does not Include: flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations
- Conservation placement in Khmer temples working alongside local support staff.
- Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities.
- Opportunity to experience the Cambodian Conservation Sector and increase your skills
Cambodia is a country of incredible beauty and interesting history best known for its monumental temples and captivating nature. It was once known as the Khmer empire and later was a French protectorate for almost 100 years until 1953 when it gained its independence. The following years of political unrest, war and corruption have not broken the spirit of the Cambodian people who remain open, welcoming and positive.
This specifically designed project takes place in Banteay Chhmar which is a commune in the Thma Puok District of the Banteay Meanchey province in the northwestern part of Cambodia. The project aims to preserve Cambodia's history by taking care of the massive temple of Banteay Chhmar which is one of the least understood archeological complexes of the Angkor period. This massive temple and its shrines and reservoir attract many tourists and your efforts will contribute to preserve the temples so they can attract more tourists.
You will be working with a local team to assist in the conservation and preservation of the Banteay Chhmar temple and the surrounding nine smaller temples which are hidden in the forest and covered in small bushes and trees due to the lack of conservation from the local people and authorities.
With this authentic taste of Cambodian rural culture, you will gain a truly unforgettable and life-changing experience, through your accommodation, the food and the daily interaction with the locals.
Your week will start with an introduction to the Banteay Chhmar and the project. Afterwards you will explore the village and the neighboring temples. After lunch you can explore around the Banteay Chhmar and also visit a local scarf weaving center.
For the rest of the week you will work on the temple’s main conservation and preservation sites. You will be clearing the temples by cutting down the overgrown bushes, trees and grass in the area around them.
Other activities include cleaning up the temples, collecting trash, clearing stones, planting trees in the temple compound, making environment signs or educating students at a local school about the importance of protecting the temples.
Travel & Accommodation
Upon arrival you will be met at the airport by a project representative and taken to the project HQ.
You will stay in traditional riverside bungalows. Bedrooms are for one or two people on a single-gender basis. There are shared toilets and cold-water shower which is refreshing in the heat! There are open-plan riverside accommodations for more adventurous participants but bringing a mosquito net is a must for them.
Laundry facilities are limited, so you should expect to wash your clothes by hand during parts of your trip. All our visitors are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint; especially water, paper and electricity. You’ll be expected to clean up after yourself, and play your part in keeping the accommodation neat and organised.
All your meals are included during your stay; they’ll be traditional Cambodian food, including plenty of rice dishes. If you have any specific dietary requirements, please let us know before you arrive, and we’ll ensure there is plenty for you to eat.
- Minimum age 18.
- Passion and enthusiasm for working in conservation, lots of energy and creativity - and not scared to get your hands dirty!
- No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
- Minimum 1 week commitment - 30+ hours a week
- Necessary vaccinations, flight & visas.
- Full travel & medical insurance. Please see our info pages for more information and to get a quote.
Those looking to get off the beaten track should read our Top 5 Things to do in Cambodia. Sandwiched between the more touristy Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is a traveler’s hidden treasure. Explore ancient Buddhist temples and bustling outdoor markets, or simply relax with an all inclusive yoga retreat. Cambodia is waiting for you.
Some people only go to Cambodia to see the amazing temples scattered around the country. Step into these holy places and experience where the ancient monks once lived. Or explore modern ones where they still live today! The most famous one is Angkor Wat, which is close to Siem Reap. Angkor Wat ruins are approximately 900 years old, and are part of an entire park that you could get lost in for hours. Two more beautiful temples that we recommend in Siem Reap are Angkor Thom and Ba Yon Temple. There you will see colossal carvings of Bodhisattva’s, elephants and intricate demons and gods. Just make sure that you don’t walk into the wrong room with shoes on!
Visit The Killing Fields
You might not want to bring the kids here, but if you want to dive into Cambodia’s past you must see the Killing Fields. This memorial in Phnom Penh commemorates a very dark part of Cambodia’s history. These unfortunate mass graves were a product of the Cambodian Genocide in the 70’s. This happened during the reign of Khmer Rouge, who murdered close to two million people. The grave is a sight that you will never forget. This is a terribly tragic, yet intriguing, window to the Cambodian culture that tourists should pay homage to.
Go to a Cambodian Market
Asian outdoor markets are often quite the eye-opener to Western visitors. Fresh vegetables, living fish and souvenirs all in one bustling place. Shop like a local but still get souvenirs, and finish the experience with some homemade noodles. We recommend The Central Market and the Night Market in Phnom Penh. Any of the markets near Angkor Wat in Siem Reap are great. You can even sometimes find tours to take you to all of them if you can’t decide on only one!
Phnom Penh Royal Palace
This entire compound is a feast for the eyes. The stunning architecture replicates the Buddhist temples you'll see all around Asia. With glimmering golden towers contrasting white walls and expansive courtyards and walkways, you are sure to be in awe. Here you will get a full understanding of the grandeur of the royal Cambodian ancestors.
Do a Yoga Retreat
When your feet are tired from temple-hopping, finish your stay in with a relaxing yoga retreat. Cambodia has hundreds of affordable, secluded and spiritually gratifying yoga experiences. Wake up to the sound of gongs, chant your heart out and truly relax and experience real yoga. You can stay anywhere from a few days to a few months, and all yogi levels can find the right retreat for their needs.
£300 GBP per week
* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a 1 week deposit
Project Fee includes food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation, in-country support and project activities.
Private rooms are available for an additional £100 per week.
What's not included:
Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.