program Volunteer Cambodia: Village Immersion Program
5 out of 5 based on 301 user ratings.
Asian Adventure volunteering

This is an extraordinary opportunity for the more adventurous traveller to experience the diverse range of cultures in some of the most stunning natural landscapes in East Asia.

It combines the very best of international volunteer programs with an adventure holiday like no other. You will spend two weeks on a tropical island immersed with the local community involved in a marine ecological conservation program on some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Then three weeks are split between the village immersion program and at the Elephant Sanctuary.

You will obtain your scuba certification with Master scuba diving instructors who have been PADI qualified to the highest SCUBA diving level. All scuba diving equipment is supplied. Once you have been trained to Open Water Level you can then use your scuba diving skills to work underwater, developing the artificial coral reef, monitoring local marine-life populations, assisting in reef restoration, conservation clean ups and a sea-horse monitoring program.


You will spend two weeks working in a village while living in Siem Reap. You may be surprised and moved by how quickly you are welcomed into the village community by the warm hearted and generous hearted villagers. Your volunteer work program will involve assisting the villagers building new houses and making repairs to the homes of the poorest and most disadvantaged. You will develop close friendships with the local people as you spend each day working side by side with them.

Between your two weeks in the village you will spend one week at an Elephant Sanctuary where you will be assisting in the rehabilitation of rescued elephants and helping to re-establish the jungle environment in which they have been released. It is a really heart warming experience and a great part of your Asian Adventure.

Arrival Day Departure Day Status
19-Nov-17 23-Dec-17 Vacancies
17-Dec-17 20-Jan-18 Vacancies
13-May-18 16-Jun-18 Vacancies
27-May-18 30-Jun-18 Vacancies
10-Jun-18 14-Jul-18 Vacancies
24-Jun-18 28-Jul-18 Vacancies

 

 

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Sunday - Arrival Day

Your team leader will be waiting for you outside the arrivals area of Phnom Penh airport. They will be holding an ROV sign and wearing an ROV shirt, so you can’t miss them! Once you are settled into your accommodation, you will have free time.

Optional activities in Phnom Penh:

  • Explore the several markets around the city.
  • Visit the palace.
  • See the pagodas and temples.
  • Enjoy a foot or back massage for as cheap as $5!
  • Meals Included: Lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 2: Monday - Transport to the Island

This is a full travel day. Volunteers will take a bus to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh, approximately a 4-5 hour journey. After lunch in Sihanoukville, everyone will get on a boat that takes us to the island, Koh Rong. This boat journey is approximately 3 hours. If you know you suffer from motion sickness, please bring any required medications. Once we arrive on the island, volunteers will get a tour of the village, meet their dive instructors and local people, get settled into their accommodation, and enjoy dinner.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Beach Bungalow.

Days 3-6: Tuesday-Friday - Project Work/PADI Training

The volunteers will be split into groups and alternate working on land projects or studying to achieve their PADI certification.

Land projects include but are not limited to constructing new houses or school buildings, painting, mixing concrete, working on the water catchment, beach and village clean up, sanding and coating coral pods, and preparing the concrete feet for pod deployment.

In the evenings there are optional activities such as bon-fires and card games as well as free time if you prefer that.

Optional activities while on the island:

  • Relax at sunset rock.
  • Walk to coconut beach for a swim with bioluminescent plankton!
  • Play games or cards at the Inn.
  • Play billiards.
  • Enjoy a game of volleyball.
  • Spend time with the local children.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Beach Bungalow.

Day 7-8: Saturday-Sunday - Explore the Island

Volunteers have free time over the weekend. Team leaders will often organize a trip to the tourist side of the island over the weekend. Volunteers who already have a PADI certification can also organize recreational dives. There is an optional island "hopping" cruise.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Beach Bungalow.

Days 9-12: Monday-Thursday - Project Work/PADI Training

The volunteers will be split into groups and alternate working on land projects or studying and doing in water training to achieve their PADI certification. Once certified, we have a small ceremony to acknowledge to acknowledge the achievement.

Land projects include but are not limited to constructing new houses or school buildings, painting, mixing concrete, working on the water catchment, beach and village clean up, sanding and coating coral pods, and preparing the concrete feet for pod deployment.

In the evenings, volunteers will have free time.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Beach Bungalow.

Day 13: Friday - Transport back to Phnom Penh

Volunteers will leave the island early. We will take a boat to Sihanoukville then bus to Phnom Penh. Your team leader will likely organize a fun night out for your last night all together in Phnom Penh.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 14: Saturday - Cultural Immersion Activity Day

Today you will be involved in a range of activities including learning about the dark recent history of Cambodia including the Khmer Rouge, visiting the Killing Fields and exploring the notorious jail and torture chamber used by the Khmer Rouge. Dinner will be a "street food" experience at a local market.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 15: Sunday - Transport to Siem Reap

After breakfast, volunteers will get on a bus to Siem Reap. This bus ride is approximately 5-6 hours. Once you arrive, your team leader will meet you at the bus station and bring you back to your accommodation. Once you are settled into your accommodation, you will have free time.

Optional activities in Siem Reap:

  • Explore the several markets around the city.
  • Relax by the pool.
  • See the pagodas and temples.
  • Enjoy a foot or back massage for as little as $5!
  • Experience the excitement of Pub Street.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 16-19: Monday-Thursday - Project Work with Cambodian Elephants

Monday morning we travel approximately three hours to the Sanctuary which is home to elephants that have been rescued from the illegal forestry or the tourism industry. There are also rescued monkey and dogs. Volunteers will participate in several projects including planting trees and food for the animals living on the sanctuary, weeding the fields, cutting sugar cane, building a firebreak, constructing houses for the rangers, building dams to create baths for the elephants, and joining them for a cool down in these baths!

Your team leader will arrange for your group to visit a local school on one of these days to work alongside the local teachers and play with the children. Every evening, the volunteers will prepare and feed the elephants dinner.

After the volunteers eat dinner, there will be a short documentary shown either about the sanctuary or the plight of these elephants rescued from the illegal logging industry.Volunteers have free time after the documentary.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Bungalow.

Day 20: Friday - Siem Reap

Today is your last morning wake-up to the sounds of the elephants and monkeys at the Sanctuary. After lunch we depart for Siem Reap.

Friday evening we go to the local carnival in Siem Reap

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 21: Saturday - Khmer Circus

Today those who have taken the optional activity will travel to Kulen Mountain where we can swim under the waterfall and view the footprint of the giant Buddha. Lunch is provided at Kulen Mountain.

After lunch all volunteers will travel to the ROV Community School. To complete the day we are all going to the amazing acrobatic circus.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 22: Sunday - Angkor Wat

All volunteers will have a guided tour of Angkor Wat, beginning at sunrise. The Ankor Wat temples are the largest religious structures in the world. We visit many temples including Ta Prohm which is the temple you can see in the movie Tomb Raider.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 23-26: Monday-Thursday - Project Work at the Sanctuary

This morning we depart for the Thailand elephant sanctuary. We will arrive at the Thai border at around 1.30pm. We have lunch before we cross the border. We arrive at the sanctuary at between 5-6.00pm and are welcomed by the villagers and blessed by the village monk.

There are 18 elephants which includes three baby elephants at this sanctuary. We are helping the villagers develop an alternative to the now illegal use of elephants to perform tricks and give rides in public venues.

Activities include harvesting food and feeding the elephants, walking them throught the forest to the river, washing and swimming with them and enjoying a sunrise feeding session.

  • VISA for Thailand – Australian, Canadian, US and NZ citizens do not pay a fee to enter Thailand. Other nationalities will need to check the specific requirements with their own government. If there is an additional visa fee you will responsible for paying this.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Bungalow.

Day 27: Friday - Transport back to Siem Reap

Today we repeat our journey, in reverse, of last Monday as we travel back to Siem Reap.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 28: Saturday - Cooking Class and Free Day

Today is our cooking class day and you will be guided through the preparation of traditional Cambodian food as we prepared a four course feast.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 29: Sunday - Walking tour of Siem Reap

Today we visit the day and night markets as well as visit a number of pagodas. There will also be a blessing ceremony with local monks. This is your opportunity to become acquainted with Siem Reap.

This afternoon we enjoy a massage and meet the volunteers you will be working with at the village school.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 30-32: Monday-Wednesday - Project Work at the Local Schools

These are full working days at the local schools. We are building classrooms, water catchments and sanitary facilities so your tasks include mixing concrete, laying bricks, painting, or sawing and hammering as we complete our projects.

Of an evening there will be language classes, a chance to attend the "lady boy" dance show, exploring the night market and sampling the street food.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 33: Thursday - Tonle Sap

All volunteers will go to Tonle Sap to see the floating villages and floating forest (from November to February).

After the tour, volunteers will have free time.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 34: Friday - Final Day at the School

Volunteers will spend their final day finishing their outlined projects. After work, there will be a goodbye ceremony with the children and teachers where people are welcome to say a few words, hand out donations, or just play and relax with the children after a long week of hard work!

Tonight we have a cocktail/mocktail evening with the other ROV volunteers to celebrate our achievements.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Day 35: Saturday - Departure Day

You will be dropped off at the airport with ample time before your flight. Please be ready and waiting in the lobby with your luggage at the time allocated by your team leader.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast and lunch.

What’s Included:

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner each day(with slight changes on arrival and departure days).
  • All drinking water.
  • All accommodation.
  • All on ground transport.
  • All program activities unless specified as optional.
  • Building project materials.

Accommodation:

Nights one, twelve, thirteen and fourteen: You will be staying at a hotel in Phnom Penh city, which is close to restaurants, markets and shops. Volunteers will be separated in rooms by gender, in twin or triple share rooms. All linen, pillows, towels provided. Rooms have own private bathrooms, and doors with locks. Hotel comes with unlimited drinking water. Venue also has 24-hour security and wifi availability.

Nights two to ten: You will be staying in beach bungalows. These rustic accommodations come with bed, linen and mosquito nets. You will really be embracing island life – complete with bucket showers.

Nights fifteen, twenty, twenty one, twenty two and twenty seven to thirty four: You will be staying at a hotel in the center of Siem Reap city, which is close to restaurants, markets and shops. Volunteers will be separated in rooms by gender, in twin or triple share rooms. All linen, pillows, towels provided. Rooms have own private bathrooms, and doors with locks. Hotel comes with unlimited drinking water and snacks. Venue also has 24 hour security and wifi availability.

Nights sixteen to nineteen: Bungalow accommodation on site at the Elephant Sanctuary. Volunteers in triple share accommodation separated by gender. Bungalows include bedding and mosquito nets. Towels are not provided.

Nights twenty three to twenty six: You will be staying at in home stays with selected families. Volunteers will be separated in rooms by gender, in twin or triple share rooms. All linen, pillows, towels provided. Rooms have own private bathrooms, and doors with locks.

Itineraries are subject to change. While we make every effort to ensure the itinerary is completed as it is described we operate in third world countries where transport, infrastructure and promised delivery dates can be unreliable.

Extension Description
Volunteer Cambodia: Elephant Sanctuary - 7 Days
Make a real difference working with elephants that have been rescued from horrible conditions in the illegal logging industry.
Volunteer Cambodia: Village Development - 7 Days
Volunteering in rural communities you will help rebuild houses and schools that are falling down around the villagers.
Volunteer Cambodia: Village Immersion - 14 Days
You will be building homes for poor families, classrooms for impoverished schools and teaching and playing sport with the children.
Volunteer Cambodia: Scuba Diving & Community Immersion - 14 Days
In addition to marine conservation, our volunteers help with teaching and building projects in the community.
Volunteer Cambodia: Village Development and Elephant Program - 14 Days
This international volunteer project is the perfect combination of wildlife conservation and community development.
Teaching: Cambodia - Siem Reap - 28 Days
On this volunteer program you will have the opportunity to run educational classes alongside local teachers.
Cambodian Island Scuba Diving & Elephant Program - 28 Days
On this 28 day adventure you will be surrounded by happy people, majestic wildlife and live on a tropical island.
Asian Volunteering Adventure - 35 Days
This is an opportunity for the adventurous traveller to experience diverse cultures in some of the most stunning landscapes in Asia.

Arrival and Departure

Arrival Airport: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH), Cambodia
Departure Airport: Siem Reap International Airport (REP), Cambodia

Arrival Day: Is the first day of your program
Departure Day: is the final day of your program.

Airport Collection Times: 8am -12am (Midnight) on arrival & departure day.

  • Generally all our programs start on Sunday and finish on Saturday.
  • If you are doing an extension after the program please check the relevant Arrival & Departure tab on the program page to confirm your departure airport. If you are unsure email us at admin@rovolunteers.com to confirm.
  • If your flight is delayed and you are landing after the arrival date we can still collect you but a private collection fee will apply.
  • If you have purchased an extra day before or after your program a private collection will be arranged for you. This is included in the fee for the extra day.
  • If you are arriving early or departing late and have not organised an extra day on program with us you will be responsible for your own transfer & accomodation.

 

 

Insurance

Travel insurance is strongly recommended. It is recommended to purchase travel insurance as soon as you've been accepted for your program or at least by the time you pay your Progress Payment or book your flights. When you volunteer abroad it is important to ensure that your policy includes emergency medical evacuation as well as program and flight cancellation. The World Nomads policy available below is one of the few policies that covers volunteering activities.

We suggest that you check the policy you intend to purchase and make sure it has at least the following benefits;

  • Overseas medical costs
  • Emergency medical transport and repatriation
  • Cancellation costs
  • Trip interruption costs

Visas

The information below was correct at the time of writing, however visa requirements can change overnight. You must ensure that the details below are still relevant to your situation as it is ultimately your responsibility to organize a visa for your program.

A Cambodian Tourist Visa is required for everyone when entering Cambodia. The Visa is approximately $40USD and can be purchased by US, Canadian, UK, Australian and NZ citizens when you land. There are some restrictions on other nationalities, so please confirm information with the embassy / consulate of the country you will be visiting prior to departure.

If you need to arrange a tourist visa prior to travelling, we can assist you with documentation. Please send our admin team and email at admin@rovolunteers.com.

Organising your Tourist Visa into Cambodia is a really simple process, and you will need the following:

  • Current passport
  • Extra passport photo (doesn’t need to be the same as in your passport) – they can also take one there if you forget for a couple of dollars USD
  • Approximately $40USD
  • Completed visa form – you do this on arrival, or are sometimes given this on the flight dependant on airline

You then take the above to the visa counter for processing which generally takes ten minutes. They will then give you back your passport with the tourist visa in it, and you then collect your bags, clear customs, and make your way to meet your Team Leader.

  • VISA for Thailand – Australian, Canadian, US and NZ citizens do not pay a fee to enter Thailand. Other nationalities will need to check the specific requirements with their own government. If there is an additional visa fee you will responsible for paying this.
  • When returning from Thailand to Cambodia we will pay the cost of the Cambodian re-entry visa, however you will need to have with you another passport photo to enable the new Cambodian visa to be issued.

Before you go…

Check:
  • If you are arriving early - you have purchased an extra night add on and sent an email to admin@rovolunteers.com to confirm, otherwise we will assume you are making your own way to the accommodation on the first day of the program.
  • If you have any long layovers, you may wish to do some research on the airport, check out the following site: http://www.sleepinginairports.net
Pack:
  • We recommend bringing a wifi enabled device in case of delays or issues so you can send and receive email. Also, carry a charging cable and a mini-power pack to recharge the device. (If you are delayed you may spend a lot of time on the phone to insurers and loved ones).
  • Put any medicines and valuables in your carry on luggage so you still have them if your luggage is delayed/lost in transit.
  • Don't forget to bring some warm clothes, toiletries and entertainment in your carry on luggage!
  • Make sure you have appropriate clothing for the climate you are arriving into - look through the get ready information, and also check some weather reports before you leave.
  • If you want to, bring along some donations for the community you will be visiting
  • For some travel packing tips, check out: http://www.marieclaire.com/travel/a17001/packing-tips-tricks-travel
Day of departure:
Arrival…
  • If you are arriving on the first day of program, a team leader wearing a ROV T-Shirt will be waiting at the airport from 8am - Midnight.
  • If you are arriving a day early, the team leader will pick you up at the time specified on your ROV program.
  • If you are delayed and unable to contact us, you should make your way to the accommodation listed in your pre departure email.

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  • you land at the right airport on the right day!
  • you have a reliable airline,
  • you have a reliable booking agency,
  • not paying too much for your tickets.

I’ll look for flights that have…
  • minimum stops and shorter connections,
  • that use single carriers to avoid delayed/missed flights and lost luggage issues.
Sometimes it is cheaper to land a day early or leave a day late. I arrange it all including any extra accommodation.
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  • I confirm your return trip to the airport on departure day.
I’ll find the flights that work for you!

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* Cheaper flights with alternative airlines may be available. However, sometimes you may end up paying much more with hidden costs and extras :( we avoid this and help to make the travel element of your ROV experience hassle free :)

PADI FORMS

If you are diving on program you will need to bring the completed PADI forms. These forms can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page.

When filling out your PADI Medical Statement, if answering YES to certain questions, the form will need to be signed by your doctor. If you already have the PADI Advanced Open Water certification you are not required to bring these forms - unless you have answered yes to any of the medical questions.

If you have a PADI qualification please remember to take your diving card to show the instructor as they will need to see this.

Furthering Qualifications on program

If you have your PADI open water qualification you will have the opportunity to work towards your Advanced Open Water Certificate. If you want to advance your qualifications you must bring your PADI qualification with you.

Diving qualifications are arranged well before you arrive on program as course work needs to be purchased in advance. If you want to further your qualifications on program you MUST send us a copy of your diving license for verification by our dive masters no later than 6 weeks before your trip commences. Licenses sent through after this time will not be taken into consideration.

If we haven’t heard from you by 6 weeks prior to the program commencing, we will assume that you have no diving qualifications and will be working towards your Open Water license on program.


Download your Diving Medical Statement
Download your PADI Liability Form
Download your PADI Standard Safe Diving
The 35 day Asian Adventure volunteer program

I enjoyed the variety of experiences that we got to participate in as well as the freedom of movement that we had on our free time. At times the work charge was a bit under the amount that I expected to be doing, but all in all the projects went forward pretty well. Amongst the most memorable moments of the program I would say the the village development experience in Cambodia is on the top of the list. Getting to really exchange and interact with local people was a central experience. The visit of Angkor Wat and the work with the elephants as well.

Helene, Canada.