Explore Cambodia during your gap year

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: September 28, 2018

    Rich history, fascinating culture, and new friends: let this be your inspiration for an unforgettable gap year experience in The Kingdom of Cambodia.

    Give your gap year meaning by setting aside some time to participate in one of GVI’s volunteer programs. You’ll be guaranteed to make a real difference while learning essential skills, and experiencing all that this fantastic country has to offer.

    While working with local communities on a project with long-term development goals, you’ll be immersed in aspects of Cambodia unavailable along the tourist trail.

    You will not only learn about the country, its history, and its people, but you will discover more about yourself and what you are capable of. You will also gain interpersonal skills that will benefit the rest of your life and career.

    When visiting Cambodia on your gap year you will inevitably want to spend some time at the region’s important historical sites, to better understand the context and people of this diverse and fascinating country.

    Here are some of GVI’s top picks for what to do in Cambodia on your gap year.

    Discover the temple of Angkor Wat

    Photo: Juan Antonio Segal

    As the largest religious monument in the world, and Cambodia’s most-visited attraction, Angkor Wat temple is definitely not to be missed. This majestic structure has a gained a reputation for captivating and enthralling visitors. It’s no wonder that it appears on almost every gap year bucket list created.

    Learn about the complex and fascinating history of Buddhism in Cambodia. Take in the countries rich and beautiful culture, that runs closely alongside its religious history. This will aid you in better understanding the communities you will be volunteering in.

    Make sure to dedicate at least half a day to this immense temple, in order to give yourself enough time to explore, learn and understand.

    Traverse the Mekong River on the Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge


    Walk the 0,6 mile long, man-made bamboo bridge that crosses the Mekong River. This is the world’s longest bamboo bridge, and is definitely something to cross off your “to do” list when in Cambodia.

    The Ko Paen Bamboo Bridge gets washed away each year when the river rises during the rainy season. It must therefore be rebuilt from scratch annually.

    The attraction is an ideal way to experience an impressive feat of Cambodian craftsmanship first-hand.

    Explore Phnom Srey and Phnom Pros

    Photo: Paul Arps

    Located just 4,3 miles from GVI’s base in Kampong Cham, the pagoda of Phnom Pros is an ideal location to visit while volunteering in Cambodia.

    This historically significant pagoda has roots in Buddhism, and was once a place of rest and reflection.

    It is just the place to see the traditional Khmer architecture of Cambodia, dating from the Angkor period, with your own eyes.

    Continue to walk up the slope of the Phnom Srey mountain from the pagoda, which is situated less than a mile from the peek. You’ll be greeted by an incredible view of Kampong Cham.  

    Why not take a trip up this peek, and view GVI Cambodia’s base from above?

    Volunteer in Kampong Cham with GVI

    When planning your gap year in Cambodia, make sure to include one of GVI’s volunteering programs in Kampong Cham to make your experience truly meaningful.

    Volunteering with local communities transforms a gap year from a time of travel for personal pleasure, to one that creates a positive impact in the communities you visit, in order to be a responsible visitor.

    GVI’s main aim for programs in Cambodia is to empower the inhabitants of Kampong Cham with resources, improved infrastructure and educational opportunities.

    There are multiple opportunities to volunteer with GVI in Cambodia.  You could join a social development or teaching program, conduct women’s empowerment workshops, or help facilitate healthcare and wellbeing demonstrations.

    This is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Cambodian culture and support local communities and businesses at the same time: making sure that your gap year is as meaningful as it is exciting.

    Ready for the gap year experience of a lifetime in Cambodia? Talk to a member of the GVI team now and get started!

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.