program Volunteer Cambodia: Village Immersion Program
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cambodian scuba diving and elephant sanctuary volunteering

Marine Conservation & Elephant Experience

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On this 28 day adventure you will be surrounded by happy people, majestic wildlife and live on a tropical island while experiencing everything Cambodia has to offer! After arriving in Phnom Penh and spending the first night in Cambodia’s capital you will rise early the next morning and travel to the tropical island where you will be spending the next two weeks. You will sleep in accommodation above the pier. Your days will be spent surrounded by white sand, palm trees and sunshine.

Here you will be taught to dive (if you don’t already have your PADI qualification) and will help build an underwater artificial coral reef to incubate marine life.

Once you have placed the coral pods you can explore the artificial reef and see how it is helping re-establish the marine environment. You’ll explore different coral reefs and may even see the seahorses, parrotfish, sea cucumbers, barracuda and so much more!

In the afternoons you will experience island life, resting in hammocks, playing volleyball with the locals or getting involved in building and teaching projects to advance the community.

In the second 2 weeks you will wake to the sounds of elephants trumpeting in the distance. Here you will be helping rehabilitate elephants that have been rescued from horrible conditions in the illegal logging industry.


You can help by planting and harvesting food, walking the elephants through the jungle, and bathing the elephants.

The elephants are not the only animals that have been rescued. Because of Reach Out Volunteers efforts we are caring for abandoned dogs, and injured wildlife including monkeys and gibbons.

You will also work at a community school, playing games with the children and teaching them new skills.

Over you weekend you will have the option of staying out at the refuge or travelling into Siem Reap and experiencing the magnificent Angkor Wat temples, night markets while taking a time-out to unwind with a massage.

Get ready for a once in a lifetime experience, because that is what this program is all about!

Arrival Day Departure Day Status
19-Nov-17 16-Dec-17 Vacancies
03-Dec-17 30-Dec-17 FULL
17-Dec-17 13-Jan-18 FULL
31-Dec-17 27-Jan-18 Vacancies
13-May-18 19-Jun-18 Vacancies
27-May-18 23-Jun-18 Vacancies
10-Jun-18 07-Jul-18 Vacancies
24-Jun-18 21-Jul-18 Vacancies

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Sunday - Arrival Day

Your ROV Project 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.

We strongly recommend arriving a day early for this program as transport leaves early Monday morning for the Island. If you have any delays in your flights you may require private transport to the Island. If you are delayed then we will still be there for you but there will be extra costs for you that are not insignificant. A wise move is to arrive on the Saturday and avoid any worry about flight delays. You can arrange an extra night’s accommodation, private airport collection and meals and accommodation all included from the Add On section.

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: Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 2: Monday - Transport to the Island

After an early start you will travel south through rural Cambodia to Sihanoukville with a few comfort stops on the way. It is a 4-5 hour journey. We have lunch in Sihanoukville then we bus to the port where everyone gets on the boat that takes us to the island, Koh Rong. This boat journey is approximately 3 hours. 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. ROV Project 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.

For anyone who has purchased the Activity Package a Saturday afternoon island hopping cruise is included.

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

Days 9-11: Monday-Wednesday - 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 12: Thursday - Transport back to Phnom Penh

Volunteers will leave the island early. We will take a boat to Sihanoukville then bus to Phnom Penh. Your ROV Project Leader will likely organize a fun night out for your night in Phnom Penh.

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

Day 13: Friday - Free Day or Cultural Immersion Add-On Day

Those who have not purchased the Activity Package you will have a free day to explore Phnom Penh.

If you have purchased the Cultural Immersion Add On then 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.

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

Day 14: Saturday - A day in Phnom Penh

A day to enjoy this vibrant capital city that still retains some of the old French colonial influence, though it is rapidly disappearing under the bustle of redevelopment. You can enjoy the markets or simply stroll along the boulevard beside the Mekong river.

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

Day 15: Sunday - Transport to Siem Reap

After breakfast, volunteers will board a bus to Siem Reap. This trip is approximately 5-6 hours. Once you arrive, your ROV Project 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.

Day 16: Monday - Travel to Sanctuary

After breakfast, you will be transported to the elephant sanctuary - approximately a 2.5-hour trip.

Once we arrive, enjoy a tour of the elephant sanctuary and get settled in your bungalows.

Before dinner, volunteers will prepare food for and feed the elephants.

In the evening, volunteers have free time. Optional activities include:

  • Play cards.
  • Play games.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Read a book

Your ROV Project Leader will arrange large group activities for everyone to enjoy at night.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Accommodation: Bungalow.
  • Days 17-19: Tuesday-Thursday - Project Work with Cambodian Elephants

    You will participate in several projects including planting trees and food for the animals and people living on the sanctuary, weeding the fields, cutting sugar cane, building a firebreak, constructing houses for the rangers and building dams to create baths for the elephants. Elephants are not the only animals at the sanctuary, you will also prepare food for the monkeys and gibbons that have been rescued too!

    YYour ROV Project 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 - Final Day at the Sanctuary

    After a final feeding and time to say goodbye to the elephants, the volunteers will be transported back to Siem Reap.

    The remainder of the day is a free day to enjoy exploring Siem Reap.

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

    Day 21: Saturday - Free Day or Angkor Wat & Acrobatic Circus

    After a relaxing sleep-in volunteers who taken the Activity Pack will have the following activities:

    A guided tour of Angkor Wat. It is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site since 1992 and is the largest religious monument on the planet.

    In the evening you will experience a traditional Cambodian Circus, where you will be amazed by the performers and will even get the opportunity to go on stage and meet the performers.

    For those who don’t purchase the Activity Pack you will have a free day to explore Siem Reap

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

Day 22: Sunday - Free Day or Kulan Mountain

After a relaxing sleep-in volunteers who taken the Activity Pack will have the following activities;

Kulan Mountain – Here you will swim under a massive waterfall in the middle of the Cambodian jungle, see the sleeping Buddha statue and the giant Buddha footprint.

In the evening, volunteers have free time.

For those who don’t purchase the Activity Pack you will have a free day to explore Siem Reap

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

Day 23: Monday - Transport to Elephant Sanctyuary

After breakfast, the volunteers will be transported to the Thailand elephant sanctuary. This will include a border crossing. It is a free to cross the Border into Thailand for many nationalities including passport holders from Australia, Canada, USA, The UK and New Zealand. You will arrive at approximately 5pm and lunch will be provided enroute.

Once we arrive at the sanctuary, volunteers will meet the host families they will be staying with for the week.There will be 2-4 volunteers per host family.

In the evening, you will be welcomed into the community through a welcoming ceremony before having dinner.

  • For more information on visas, click the visa tab.
  • Optional activities include:

    • Play cards.
    • Play games.
    • Watch a movie.
    • Read a book

    Your ROV Project Leader will arrange large group activities for everyone to enjoy at night.

    • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Accommodation: Host Family.

    Days 24-26: Tuesday-Thursday - Caring for the elephants

    Today you get to meet all the elephants! We currently work with 18 different elephants including 3 baby elephants. We are working with this community to show that there is an alternative to the elephant riding industry. Volunteers will have the opportunity to walk the elephants to the lake and bathe with the elephants, plant and cut sugar cane for the elephants and will learn about each elephant. In the evening you will learn about the Thai culture, experience cooking classes, Thai language classes, visiting the local farmers market, and have the opportunity to be blessed by the local monks.

    Your ROV Project Leader will also 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.

    Depending on the weather, your ROV Project Leader may also take you to the lake, where you can relax one afternoon on a houseboat, watching the sun set over the water.

    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: Host Family.

    Day 27: Friday - Final Day at the Sanctuary

    Volunteers will wake up early to experience a sunrise with the elephants trumpeting their morning greetings to one another. After saying our goodbyes to the elephants, we will make our way back across the Border into Cambodia. We will arrive in Siem Reap that evening to have our last dinner as a group.

    The remainder of the day is free to enjoy exploring Siem Reap.

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

    Day 28: 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 ROV Project Leader.

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

    What’s Included:

    • All meals as specified above.
    • All drinking water.
    • All accommodation.
    • All on ground transport.
    • Building project materials.
    • ROV Project Leader

    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: 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 -12pm (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 an 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.

    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.

    Download our Travel Advice Checklist

    Do you want reassurance that…

    • 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.
    • I call you and together we book your flights during the call.
    • I locate appropriate travel insurance for you to purchase.
    • I confirm your airport collection on arrival.
    • I confirm your return trip to the airport on departure day.
    I’ll find the flights that work for you!

    You can select the Flight Booking Service from the available Add-Ons once you have created a Profile with us. Don’t have a Profile? Click on the Apply Now button above and create one now.

    * 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

    This project is Tax Deductible for US and citizens.


    For US tax-paying citizens:
    We are a registered 501(c)3 non-profit. On this program you can claim up to US$4,149.00 as a contribution to our non-profit.

    For this project as you are required to fly to your project location to undertake your volunteer service, you may also be eligible to claim the cost of your return flight to the project. If your airfare includes travel before or after your project you may not be able to claim your flights. You should seek your own tax advice on this.

    Your taxable receipt will be sent upon completing your final contribution payment for your project.  


    For Australian tax-paying citizens:

    On all of our projects we work with local community leaders to help those that need it most. Our  volunteers make a significant contribution to bettering the lives of children, families and wildlife.

    Whilst many of our projects are tax deductible, as a non-profit there are strict regulations that we must follow.

    Due to the nature of this project and the benefit components involved, it does not qualify for tax deductibility in Australia.


    What is a benefit component?

    A benefit component is a benefit that you receive as a consequence of your contribution to a charity.

    Due to the nature of this project, there may be periods where you are not directly volunteering or you are receiving a benefit above the acceptable limits.


    The 28 day Cambodian Scuba Diving and Elephant volunteer program

    I enjoyed getting to scuba dive everyday, and actually doing work with the marine environment. Working with the kids and playing with them was fun as well. They are a lot more playful than the children back home.

    Brittany, Canada.