Volunteer Abroad in Siem Reap

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Siem Reap

Siem Reap was once an important part of the early empire in Southeast Asia, home to one of the largest ancient cities in the world, the famous Angkor Wat. Cambodia as a whole has a young population that has witnessed several wars, rulers, and civil strife, giving the country an eerie, yet hopeful, feeling. However, because the country has a long way to go, in terms of development, from economics to education to health, more and more NGO’s and private organizations host volunteer programs in Siem Reap to help boost the country’s hope and support the future of a growing nation.

Volunteering in Siem Reap

Today, Siem Reap houses several organizations, mostly nongovernmental or private, that focus solely on community development. Most of these organizations provide numerous opportunities for foreign volunteers to get involved in local communities and help implement projects or contribute to long term programs. Depending on the skill set and interest of volunteers, they will have the choice to volunteer in the areas of education, health, construction, and environment-related projects, most prevalently. Regardless of the individual volunteer placement in Siem Reap, all of these organizations focus on sustainable solutions that can lead to local community members living better lives.

Education. The lack of sufficient access to proper education in Siem Reap has increased the need for teaching and education volunteers, and there for both local and international volunteer organizations provide quality programs in which international volunteers can contribute to education in Cambodia. Those who volunteer in Siem Reap will have the chance to provide quality education to local students of all ages, in a variety of subjects.

Building & Construction Projects. The newest and most popular way of volunteering in Siem Reap is working on building projects that help improve the living conditions of particularly needy communities. These projects include construction of houses, bathroom facilities, wells, and other community buildings.

Wildlife, Conservation, & Ecotourism. Many environmental threats in Cambodia put indigenous local wildlife at risk; therefore, many wildlife and ecotourism programs have come about to counter negative environmental factors and protect local species. The lush jungles and number of endangered animals outside of Siem Reap make it a great place for conservation volunteering abroad.

All individuals who volunteer in Siem reap should be very careful when choosing an organization and placement, because there are unfortunately many unregistered organizations that do not provide what they say they do, which should of course be avoided. To start with, volunteers should seek out locally (and potentially internationally) registered organizations, since these organizations will be regulated and meet basic requirements.

Life in Siem Reap

The close proximity of Angkor Wat has made the city of Siem Reap popular for travelers from around the world, so there are many hotels, spas, malls, bars, and cafés located throughout the city. Life in Siem Reap is sleepier than Phnom Penh, but the cost of living tends to be quite expensive in Siem Reap when compared to Phnom Penh. There is a popular night market, which spans an entire major street, which hosts bars, cafes, restaurants, and stalls squeezed into every possible corner. However, as a foreigner in Siem Reap, prices will be higher, until you learn to bargain with locals and know what the local price should be. Volunteers can also take time to visit art museums or watch an Apsara dance, Rosana Broadway, or the Cambodian Circus.

Volunteers can enjoy traveling to the outskirts of Siem Reap, as there are many places to see even beyond Angkor Wat. Just outside the city, volunteers can find rice paddies, smaller, rarely visited ancient ruins, and plenty of lush vegetation to explore. Travel outside of Siem Reap is made effortless by easy-to-hire taxis and tuktuks, the nation’s main form of transportation, which range in cost from $3 to $5. Alternatively, there are also motorbike and bicycles for rent in Siem Reap, in most guest houses and at travel agencies.

Costs & Affordability

Living in Siem Reap can be more expensive than living in other cities in Cambodia. But, it is definitely cheaper to volunteer abroad in Siem Reap than it is to live in most “affordable” cities in the Western world. Generally, prices are doubled for foreigners, so take time to learn the local prices to save yourself a couple of bucks and practice your bartering skills. An average meal in a cheap restaurant could cost around $3, but that can go up to $15 in a fancy restaurant. A liter bottle of water might cost around $0.05, and a local beer just the same.

Typically, volunteer programs in Siem Reap include accommodation, airport transfers, meals, and insurance. However, these options will vary from organization to organization, so you should check with your host organization before arrival (or even better before applying).

Accommodation & Visas

There are wide variety of accommodation options available for those who decide to volunteer in Siem Reap, but most organizations house volunteers in their own housing or office complex. If not, accommodation is typically arranged in nearby guesthouses, shared apartments, or, more frequently, homestays. Most guesthouses in Siem Reap provide discounts for long stay volunteers, or travelers, while a one bedroom apartment costs an average of $250 per month. However, volunteers will usually choose to live with other volunteers if residing in a shared apartment. A three bedroom apartment will cost around $450, for a fully furnished apartment with air conditioning.

Individuals who volunteer in Siem Reap can choose from a few different types of visas. For those volunteering in Siem reap for one month or less, a visa on arrival ($30) is the most practical option, and it is extendable for one additional month if needed. For more long term volunteering in Siem Reap, volunteers will need to acquire a business visa ($35), which allows foreigners to stay for 30 days, but it is renewable indefinitely. For easier visa processing before you volunteer abroad in Siem Reap, the best option is to apply for an e-visa online and simply present it at the immigration counter.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Language. Khmer, or Cambodian, is the national language of Cambodia. However, people living in Siem Reap frequently speak and understand English because of the high tourism rate in the city. On the other hand, not all Khmers speak English, so it is best if volunteers try to learn at least a little Khmer to better interact with more locals.

A City of Extremes. Poverty is blatantly visible through the streets of Siem Reap, and is starkly contrasted with posh luxury resorts. However, despite the economic gap, the quaint city of Siem Reap has its own kind of charm. It may take volunteers a little bit of time to warm up to the city, so patience and understanding is key.

Climate. Cambodia has two seasons, but Siem Reap is quite hotter than Phnom Penh and other provinces. Summer starts in late March and ends in late May. Expats tend to leave the city at this time of the year because of the heat, so volunteers who choose to volunteer in Siem Reap in the summer should come prepared. One of the benefits of volunteering in Siem Reap in the summer is the lower number of tourists that flock to the city, because of the sometimes hard to bear, relentless heat.

Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Cambodia.

Read More

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Siem Reap


 Find Volunteer Programs in Siem Reap Now


This listing has been saved 6 times

Affordable Childcare Volunteering in Cambodia

Cambodia has an incredibly high number of orphans comparative to the population. Many children have lost their parents due to HIV, while other parents cannot provide food, accommodation or education for their children. However, many orphans still have parents or relatives that may visit sometimes, but cannot financially be responsible for the child. Childcare work ranges from cooking, admini...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Teaching English in Cambodia

Education is important in breaking a seemingly endless cycle of poverty in Siem Reap, as well as in other impoverished areas across Cambodia. Sadly, though, access to quality education and English lessons from native-speaking teachers is often a luxury that not many children can afford. Government schools in the country are known to be corrupt and teachers only receive a meagre salary - all lea...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Cambodia Summer Volunteer Program and Adventure Travel 2018

For travelers visiting the country for the first time, this would be a joyride of experiences. And those who are revisiting the land can get to add some more memories to their Cambodia diaries. The country has so much to offer the visitors, that you might feel like putting a pause to time. Volunteering Solutions offers an affordable Summer Volunteering Program in Cambodia for 3 weeks. This w...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Classroom and Child Care Assistant Placements in Siem Reap

Use an experience in education and become a classroom and childcare assistant volunteer and work on rewarding educational placements in Cambodia's premier tourist destination, Siem Reap. Kaya Responsible Travel works with a wide range of worthwhile teaching and childcare initiatives in Siem Reap and its surrounding communities. The main focus of these placements is to help improve students' Eng...


This listing has been saved 298 times

Conservation, Community and Adventure Placements from $255

With more than 400 projects worldwide and with 25 years experience of providing ethical travel placements, Frontier can find you the perfect adventure whatever you want to achieve. We offer placements in more than 50 countries including Costa Rica, Madagascar, Fiji and loads more. Here are just some of the options available: Marine Conservation and Diving Travel to beach paradises, scuba...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Cambodian Teaching English Volunteering

Engage in volunteer English teaching in Cambodia. Participants get the chance to give back and gain a real sense of achievement, as they teach English to children from the slum areas surrounding the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. Government-operated schools provide a very poor level of education due to mismanagement and corruption. The small community school was set up to offer free...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Volunteer with Children in Cambodia

Be part of a pioneer humanitarian project in the villages of northwest Cambodia. Working in partnership with the Shinta Mani Foundation, we will set up a mobile dental clinic and provide first time dental care to needy children in a village outside Siem Reap in Northern Cambodia. Outside the clinic, volunteers have the chance to get to know the local village people and take in rural life in the...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Ethical volunteering in Cambodia from US$175 per week

The Globalteer Cambodia Community Project is located in the town of Siem Reap near the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. The program works with carefully selected independent partner projects in and around Siem Reap. The projects Globalteer works with provide free supplementary education programs, vocational training, access to free healthcare and nutrition. Globalteer al...


This listing has been saved 8 times

Southeast Asia - Carpe Diem Education Gap Year

Trek through remote villages and exchange stories with the hill tribe people of Northern Thailand. Get lost in the winding, ancient temples of Angkor Wat. Learn to standup paddleboard (SUP) on the waters of Kampot’s richly biodiverse mangrove forests. Let the warm hospitality of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam wash over you and experience first-hand what this intriguing part of the world has to...


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 89 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 2 times

Rediscovering Cambodia

Cambodia Rediscovered Cambodia is one of the most fascinating countries in Southeast Asia. Following years of war and genocide, Cambodia is now a very safe place to visit, and most importantly, extremely needy. The Angkor Wat temple complex is an enormous tourist draw and the city of Siem Reap is seeing more visitors than ever. Unfortunately, most Cambodians are not reaping the benefits of the...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Medical Work Experience Internship in Cambodia

Give back to the local rural community and at the same time gain valuable medical work experience in a variety of tasks at the Samraong hospital in Oddar Meanchey Province. Your programme will start with an introduction week where you’ll visit cultural sites in Siem Reap and learn about language and rich culture of Cambodia. The hospital you'll work at aims to offer affordable health trea...


This listing has been saved 1 time

The Cambodia Children's Project

Arrive in Cambodia’s bustling capital, Phnom Penh, and deep dive into history. Explore the motorcycle-choked streets and catch glimpses of busy marketplaces as you witness a new era of growth and change for this beautiful and special country that has seen its fair share of turbulence and unrest. After exploring Phnom Penh, you’ll continue to the countryside where you will help support the next ...


This listing has been saved 91 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...