program Volunteer Cambodia: Village Immersion Program
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cambodian village and elephant program volunteers

Essential Cambodia and Elephants

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Warm air and smiling faces, temple incense and robed monks on the evening tuk-tuk ride to your hostel, these will be your first impressions of Siem Reap located beside the alluring temples and World Heritage listed ruins of Angkor Wat. Savor these moments, you will never forget them!

This is an international volunteering experience like no other. And working as a volunteer at the elephant sanctuary is where you can make a real difference! You will be working with elephants that have been rescued from horrible conditions in the illegal logging industry.

There is no more joyous way to wake up, in your bungalow and hear elephants trumpeting in the morning. You walk with them, harvest their food, prepare it and feed them. You will also have the chance to do volunteer work with the local anti-logging patrol and the temple monks. The monks will bless orange cloth for you to tie around the trees. The cloth is sacred and the loggers are reluctant to cut trees that have been blessed by the monks.

Your international volunteer experience does not have to end there. There are other animals such as monkeys, gibbons, and homeless dogs that you will also be caring for. In the afternoon you can relax in the hammocks or play volleyball with the locals living on the sanctuary.

During the first week, you are in a Cambodian village where you work with the locals, building and repairing houses and classrooms. This is not like a tourist holiday in Cambodia. You will be working with and getting to know the locals. You’ll visit a local carnival with Ferris wheel and roller coaster, if you’re brave! You will prepare lunch in village homes, and eat it with the community, work at the village school, play sport and help improve the children’s vital English skills.

Your nights are spent in local restaurants, enjoying a well-earned massage or even watching a “lady boy” show! You will enjoy language classes and a history lesson on the Khmer people, watch Aspara dancing and discover the joy of Cambodian “happy” pants and the unquenchable friendliness of the Cambodian people.

Your time in Cambodia wouldn’t be complete without exploring the ancient complex of Angkor Wat and surrounding temples and having the option to be blessed by a Cambodian monk.

Working alongside parents, teachers, kids, grandparents, welcomed with open arms in the local community you will find more happiness than you ever imagined.

International volunteering in Cambodia, it's an experience like no other!

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Sunday - Arrival Day

Your team leader will be waiting for you outside the arrivals area of Siem Reap airport. They will be holding an ROV sign and wearing an ROV shirt, so you can’t miss them! If you get in before noon, enjoy a guided walking tour around Siem Reap. 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 cheap as $5!
  • Experience the excitement of Pub Street.
  • Meals Included: Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.

Days 2-5: Monday to Thursday - Project Work at the Local Schools

After an early breakfast all volunteers depart for the ROV Community School by tuk-tuk. It’s always a fun and exciting trip. After an introduction to the teachers and community leaders you will be introduced to a variety of building and maintenance projects at the school. These may include building play equipment, classrooms etc.

Lunch is provided by the local community. It is cooked by the locals and the volunteers assist in preparation. What a great way to learn how to cook authentic Khmer cuisine!

After lunch everyone gets back to their building projects until school finishes at which time the school children usually have their outdoor activities for PE or cultural activities. This is a great time for volunteers to assist with games and Apsara dance classes.

Every evening you will be accompanied to a local restaurant for dinner. As with all Khmer restaurants there is a range of exciting dishes and you can select whatever you wish from the menu.

Following dinner volunteers will have a range of awesome cultural activities to keep them busy! Some activities include visiting the bat caves, watching an acrobatic circus, getting a massage whilst enjoying a fabulous lady boy show and so much more!

Please refer the the Activity Pack within the Add-On section in your profile.

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

Day 6: Friday - Final Day at the Schools

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!

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

Day 7: Saturday - Free Day or Angkor Wat & Jungle Waterfall

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.

A trip to the sacred mountain and waterfall where you'll see the giant sleeping Buddha statue and Buddha's footprint on top of the mountain. Then you'll head to the massive jungle waterfall where you'll spend the rest of your day cooling down, swimming and relaxing before heading back to Siem Reap.

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 8: Sunday - Transport to Elephant Sanctuary

    After breakfast, the volunteers 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 team leader will arrange large group activities for everyone to enjoy at night.
    • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    • Accommodation: Bungalow.

Days 9 - 12: Monday - Thursday - Project Work at the Sanctuary

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!

Your 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 13: Friday - Final Day at the Sanctuary

Volunteers will complete their project work in the morning. 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 14: 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:

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


Week one: 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.

Week two: Bungalow accommodation on site at the Elephant Sanctuary. Volunteers in triple share accommodation separated by gender. Bungalows include bedding and mosquito nets.

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.

Download Full Itinerary
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Arrival and Departure

Arrival Airport: Siem Reap International Airport (REP), 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 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 & accommodation.




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


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

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…

  • If you are arriving early - you have purchased an extra night add on and sent an email to 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:
  • 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:
Day of departure:
  • 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 :)

This project includes a Tax Deductible component for US & Australian citizens.

For US tax-paying citizens:
Reach Out Volunteers Charity LLC is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit. You can claim up to $1000.00 USD as a tax deductible charitable contribution for attending this program.

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.

The taxable receipt will be sent when a payment is made towards your final contribution payment for your project.  

For Australian tax-paying citizens:
Reach Out Volunteers Charity Ltd is a registered Australian Charity and non-profit. You can claim up to A$1,150 as a tax deductible charitable contribution for attending this program.

The taxable receipt will be sent when a payment is made towards your final contribution payment for your project.  

The 14 day Cambodian Village and Elephant volunteer program

I would strongly recommend ROV for many reasons. You get to work for the community, but you also get to visit the main touristic attractions. This way, you can really make the most of your trip. I also appreciate the fact that the organization makes sure that everyone involved in the program is treated well, from the staff of the restaurants we are having dinner at to the tuk-tuk drivers that are taking care of our transportation.

Kynsia, Canada.