Volunteer Abroad in Phnom Penh

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh was once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” and today it’s your oyster for volunteering projects. Even with its tumultuous past in the 1970s, Phnom Penh continues to rise from the ashes to revive its culture and status. Make no mistake — with its spiral temples, French colonial landmarks, celebratory festivals, and steamed pork buns, you’ll relish the sights and smells here. The city has its share of difficulties, but your contribution will be another step towards revival. Volunteer abroad in Phnom Penh to help improve the lives of the locals in this beautiful city!

How to Volunteer in Phnom Penh

When you volunteer abroad in Phnom Penh, you’ll gain hands-on experience that will make for an impressive resume (some volunteer programs even double as internship placements!). Not to mention you’ll be making a difference. Cambodia’s capital city offers a plethora opportunities in a variety of areas for volunteers from reforestation to construction to legal matters and more. 

Popular causes/projects in Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, poverty in Phnom Penh is prevalent with a high youth population, and healthcare and education are lacking. English teachers are in high demand, orphanages desperately need more assistance, and public health workshops need lecturers. Cambodia also suffers from high illiteracy rates and high HIV/AIDS cases, so you can also assist in fighting these problems.

Short term volunteer programs in Phnom Penh. If you’re short on time and looking to save money, many weekly, monthly, and summer programs are available, especially in social work. For those interested in summer programs, just an FYI: The climate in Phnom Penh is fairly hot and humid all year with the rainy season running from May to October. It’s recommended, however, for volunteers to stay long as possible to maximize their impact and for cultural immersion.

Long term volunteer projects in Phnom Penh. By staying longer than six months to a year or multiple years, you’ll get the most out of your Cambodian riels. With short-term programs you only see the culture on the surface, but by staying longer, you delve deep into learning about this country from a local’s perspective. You’ll also have more opportunities to travel to neighboring countries and practice the local language of Khmer.

Life in Phnom Penh for Volunteers

Most of your days will be filled with hard, rewarding work, but in your free time, you’ll discover unique surroundings and buzzing activities. You can stroll through French colonial villas, see the view from over 30,000 feet at Vattanac Capital Tower, and tour museums to learn about its history. Phnom Penh hosts several festivals throughout the year, from Chaul Chnam Thmey in April (a big water party celebrating the new year) to the Water Festival in November with colorful boat races and fireworks. 

You’ll also want to explore its architectural kaleidoscope from the ornate gilding of the Royal Palace, the gleaming silver floors of the Silver Pagoda, and the inviting terracotta structure of the National Museum of Cambodia. Browse the jewelry and clothing in Psar Thmei (Central Market), slurp noodle soup in one of its restaurants, and watch a traditional dance show in Cambodian Living Arts building.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Phnom Penh is not as dangerous as most think it is, but it’s important that you remain cautious. Take care to always keep your smartphone and bags with you at all times, as these types of robberies are common, especially with tourists being targets in most cases. Don’t stare at your smartphone when you’re walking around, as this is an easy way for it to get snatched. Also, don’t keep your valuables in hotel/guest house safes, as they can be open relatively easy. If you’re on a motorbike or tuk tuk, keep your belongings in between your legs. 

Scams are also very common — avoid beggars posing as monks in grey robes in the riverfront area, Psmar Thei, and Russian Market. Scammers will usually begin a conversation praising your clothing and asking you where you’re from, and they may even invite you to your house. If this happens, say that you’re leaving soon and that a chauffeur is waiting for you. Your program will have support staff to brief you (usually during orientation) on the best ways to avoid being a victim of robberies and scams.

With all that said, Cambodia’s charming palaces, fascinating history, friendly locals, and savory foods will make for a memorable international experience. Additionally, with a low cost of living, available homestay accommodations, and prevalent public transportation, you won’t be breaking the bank by volunteering here. By changing other people’s lives, they’ll change yours in the process as well by volunteering in Phnom Penh. 

Want more? Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Cambodia.

Read More

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Phnom Penh


 Find Volunteer Programs in Phnom Penh Now


This listing has been saved 954 times

World's #1 Affordable Volunteer Programs. Trusted By 80,000+

IVHQ is the world's most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization with the largest range of top-rated programs, available in 40+ destinations year-round! We place over 18,000 volunteers abroad annually and have over 10 years experience in providing safe, impactful and affordable volunteer abroad programs. With program fees starting from just USD 10 per day and the best safety re...


This listing has been saved 318 times

Volunteer Abroad & Make a REAL Difference - From US$175!

Find our Why More and More People are Choosing to Become a Love Volunteer! Love Volunteers is the most affordable way to volunteer and help local communities in developing countries! Why are we cheaper than other organisations? Firstly, we are just a handful of passionate people working hard to help volunteers and local communities around the world. We don't have huge overheads - no company ...


This listing has been saved 68 times

Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs | Starting USD200 only!

Volunteering Solutions provides volunteering opportunities in 20 different countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin/Central America. Our main aim is to provide affordable and meaningful volunteer abroad opportunities across all countries. Our programs include both short-term (two weeks) and long-term (up to six months) placements in every country, as well as our programs, are open throug...


This listing has been saved 1 time

NEW Volunteer Teaching In Cambodia

Cambodia is a country in South East Asia and is famed for its tropical beaches and a rich spiritual history. Our teaching volunteers in Cambodia get a chance to teach English in this idyllic setting, at the meeting of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. On this program, we join efforts with local partner organisations to assess the needs of the community before setting up any our projects. Volu...


This listing has been saved 7 times

Projects Abroad in Cambodia

Cambodia is a must visit destination in South East Asia and an excellent place to volunteer abroad. Projects are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, whether you are on a gap year, summer vacation, or career break. Projects Abroad is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's spirited and charming capital city, and in Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Wat temples. In...


This listing has been saved 3 times

South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail

Travel with us to the ancient Kingdoms of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, famously popular destinations for gap year travelers and it isn't hard to see why. The countries provide a world of unimaginable beauty offering the perfect setting for an adventure that will take you everywhere - from buzzing night bazaars full of jewel-bright lanterns, to pearl-white sand beaches an...


This listing has been saved 12 times

Work with Disabled Children in Phnom Penh

The perfect placement for physical therapy and special education professionals and students who would like to help children with disabilities. This center, operated by the Cambodian government, gives quality care to kids in need, but an extra set of hands is always welcome! The center houses both physically and mentally challenged children. Most live at the facility, but their are day students ...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Volunteer in Cambodia with PMGY from $360

Volunteer from two weeks to 24 weeks teaching English or taking care of children at an orphanage in Cambodia. Give that most precious commodity of all, your time, to children desperate to learn in this amazing, authentic, and traditional location. Volunteer in Cambodia with Plan My Gap Year, an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, trusted and afford...


This listing has been saved 31 times

2 Countries Tour - Thailand and Cambodia

Join our tour of Cambodia and Thailand. It provides 14 nights of travel and volunteering experience. Participants get a taste of volunteering, travel, elephants, Cambodia, Thailand, and more whilst fully supported and guided by experienced, English speaking project coordinators and guides. If you have ever considered volunteering abroad but aren't sure if you can do it alone, then this is defin...


Cambodia Phnom Penh Education Teaching English Volunteer Abroad Program A Broader View

Volunteering in Cambodia benefits both the volunteer and the students, and it will be an unforgettable experience. Teaching English and helping in a school will not only give the Cambodian people opportunities that they may not have normally, but it will also give the volunteer a taste of Cambodian culture and Cambodian life. To work in the industries in the town areas, English language and ...


Southeast Asia Explorer with Gapforce

Combine adventure travel and volunteering in this awesome 8-week journey to three of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful destinations: Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam! Take part in conservation and community-based projects, which are further enriched with traditional backpacking. Our Southeast Asia Explorer adventure is the perfect first-time trip if you are looking to set out on one of the world’s ...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Bear Rescue Project in Cambodia

Pod Volunteer offers volunteering opportunities in a Bear Rescue Project in Cambodia. Duties and responsibilities include preparing food and feeding the bears, cleaning the enclosures inside and outside, repairing and maintaining the enclosures, and making enrichment items for the bears, such as filling up hollow bamboo with honey or other treats, or making frozen fruit ice lollies. Other task...


This listing has been saved 101 times

Volunteer World: Best Volunteer Abroad Programs Worldwide

Looking to apply your talent and expertise to a good cause? Find a program that matches your interests and skills through Volunteer World! We are the largest volunteer abroad comparison platform around the globe, enabling you to seek and compare offers from major travel agencies as well as smaller grassroots NGOs and local specialists in more than 80 countries. All these with just one click! ...


This listing has been saved 97 times

Volunteering Abroad through GivingWay

GivingWay is a free and open platform through which worldwide travelers connect with local nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers in a simple and direct manner. With hundreds of volunteering opportunities in over 80 countries worldwide, GivingWay makes it easy for everyone to find just the right cause to support. Whether you want to teach English in Thailand, help out in a white lion san...


Pharmacy in Cambodia - Phnom Penh

Interns in Cambodia will come to understand that pharmacy as they know it is a relatively progressive idea here. You’ll encounter a range of unfamiliar medications and prescriptions, assist across a number of hospital dispensaries, and shadow doctors where you’ll gain insight into the medication plans of patients. While Cambodia might be resource-poor, it’s brimming with culture, history, and ...