Posted: October 23, 2018
Original photo: Paulo Philippidis
Monks draped in orange riding in tuk-tuks, men, women, and children piled on motorcycles, colorful markets wafting with the smells of street food at all hours of the day: these are just some of the sights you will encounter in your visit to Cambodia.
When you become a volunteer with GVI in Cambodia, not only will you participate in a sustainable project, with an award-winning organization, but you can experience the culture and traditions of the country in a way that few tourists do.
If you choose to work with women or children in the capital city of Phnom Penh, you can spend your free time walking along the Tonle Sap riverside, and enjoying the nightlife vibrating in a wide variety of pubs. These are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Perhaps you will join a project in Kampong Cham and enjoy a quieter lifestyle in rural Cambodia. Here you can watch houseboats floating on the Mekong river: the life-blood of countless Cambodians.
For those interested in exploring the famed temples of Cambodia, there is no shortage of these. Both small and large, famous and obscure pagodas and “wats” (Cambodian places of worship) are dotted throughout the country.
The most well-known temple is Angkor Wat, and no visit to Cambodia is complete without visiting this vast wonder located in the small resort town of Siem Riep.
Delight in the intriguing mix of French colonial and traditional Chinese architecture in this famed tourist destination.
Both American dollars and the Cambodian Riel are used throughout the country. When exchanging money at the bank, all paper money must be pristine (i.e. new, clean money with no rips or wrinkles).
When visiting temples, wear modest clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Remember, you will be expected to remove your shoes before entering most pagodas in Cambodia. Do not point your feet toward any statues of Buddha as this is considered disrespectful.
During your time in Cambodia, you may see monks in their traditional orange garb. Keep in mind that it is forbidden for monks to touch or be touched by women.
Keep calm, even when frustrated! It is inappropriate to display anger overtly.
Cambodians speak Khmer, and while most people in the service industry in Phnom Penh speak some English, it may not be spoken widely in rural areas. But a smile is welcome in any setting.
Finally, respect towards Cambodian customs and traditions will help build bridges, both when volunteering in a project and when visiting important historical and religious sites.
Ready to experience the Kingdom of Cambodia for yourself? Speak to a member of our team, and learn more about how you can travel while making an impact.
By Zaytoen Domingo