Ten Ways To Enhance Volunteering In Cambodia

by Polly Dean

While Cambodia is still rebuilding itself from its painful past, tourism is thriving. There are numerous attractions, sites, and experiences for every traveler. Here are 10 interesting and valuable places to go while volunteering abroad in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A must-do while volunteering abroad in Cambodia - visiting the remarkable Angkor Wat

10. Siem Reap

This is one of Cambodia’s fastest-growing cities and serves as a gateway to another famed site in Cambodia: the Angkor temples. Due to the high tourism flow to the temples, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a mecca of charming boutiques, unique restaurants, and hotels for every budget.

9. Sihanoukville

Also known as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville is another popular tourist destination. Locals and tourists alike love its white sandy beaches and lush tropical island areas. Sihanoukville is a perfect place to kick back and relax and enjoy Cambodia’s warm temperatures.

8. Riverfront Park

Located in Phnom Penh, Riverfront Park is a wonderful place for a tourist or volunteer in Cambodia who’s wanting to mix in and get a taste of local culture. Hotels and market carts line the walkway, selling touristy items and local fare. Many types of restaurants dot the walkway as well, giving the most adventurous and not so adventurous all options for dining.

7. Hands ‘N Feet Spa

All over Asia, massage parlors line streets and walkways. Massage is a valued form of relaxation all over the country, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Hands ‘N Feet Spa, located in Phnom Penh just near the National Museum, offers pampering packages to quick shoulder and neck massages. Prices can range from $4 to $15 for a spa service, and is worth every penny.

Cambodia ruins

6. Sugar & Spice Cafe/Visitors Center

Also located right near the National Museum in Phnom Penh is the Sugar and Spice Cafe. It sits atop a visitors’ center, and is filled with homemade goods made by Cambodian women rescued from human trafficking and exploitative situations. The cafe offers fresh unique fare, a full coffee shop menu, and decadent shakes and smoothies. One will want to spend all afternoon here, and can feel good knowing their money is supporting a good cause.

5. Russian Market

The Russian market can pop out of nowhere while sightseeing in Phnom Penh, and while you are in it, don’t get lost. There are aisles of every sort of item one could possibly need. It is separated into sections, and navigating can be somewhat difficult with a language barrier — but once you are lost you might find what you need. Bartering is welcome and encouraged.

4. Jars of Clay

This is a quaint little coffee shop and cafe situated right in the heart of the Russian Market. With balcony seating on the top floor, it provides guests with a beautiful panoramic view of the marketplace.

3. Angkor Wat

Featured on the Cambodian flag, this is the most popular attraction in the country. Angkor Wat is one of the most ancient sites on Earth and is the world’s largest religious monument. It is a huge temple complex featuring the remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century A.D. Guests come from all over the world to marvel at its ornate carvings and the ancient construction techniques that still hold up today.

Angkor Wat ruins

2. Central Market

A must-see stop in the capital city of Phnom Penh is the Central Market. The market is in the shape of a dome with 4 extending arms with vast hallways containing rows and rows of goods and vendors. Anything one could wish to obtain could be found at Central Market.

1.Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

While visiting or volunteering abroad in Cambodia, make this highly recommended stop. The museum, dedicated to those killed in the Cambodian genocide, is held in the site of a former high school-turned-security prison. This was only one of at least 150 execution centers that operated during the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. As many as 20,000 prisoners were killed here. While the museum tells a grim story, it gives a true idea of what Khmer people are recovering from, and is a testament to their amazing resilience.

This is a country full of attractions and sites all over, enough to keep any volunteer in Cambodia busy for quite some time.

These are just 10 of the many interesting, history-filled places one can visit in Cambodia. An adventure and a story is always waiting around the corner here.