Volunteer Abroad in Cambodia

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Cambodia

Cambodia is home to over 15 million people and the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat. Wat’s more impressive than that? A lot, apparently. This Southeast Asian nation also boasts ornate temples, beaches, and deliciously spicy noodles. Cambodia has been getting back on its feet ever since the Khmer Rouge takeover in the 1970’s, so it now offers many volunteer opportunities in education, NGO work, and microfinance projects. Those who choose to volunteer in Cambodia will learn the country’s tumultuous past and find out how it has shaped the present, while getting to know locals who will no doubt impart their wisdom about overcoming the toughest challenges in life.


Cambodia’s geographic diversity means volunteer placement locations range from large cities to rural areas. Regardless of location, Cambodia is brimming with possibilities to lend a helping hand (or two) while exploring old temples, large tree roots, and timeless towns.

Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital and former hub of both French colonialists and the Khmer Empire. When they aren’t busy volunteering, volunteers can take a stroll along the city’s riverfront and visit the Silver Pagoda or the National Museum, which houses artifacts from all over the country. Better yet, grab a mini buddha souvenir at the Russian Market, then spend a sombre afternoon exploring the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Things have cheered up since the Khmer Empire, so the Killing Fields have turned into a peaceful place that holds a special memorial every May. Don’t forget to finish up every day of volunteering in Phnom Penh with some sticky rice and a glass of fresh coconut milk!

Siem Reap is the entrance town to the famous Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument and a World Heritage Site. Check out the colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter and the Old Market. Don’t miss the Landmine museum, which holds a collection of mines, mortars, and weaponry; a true blast from the past that boasts a much fancier version of minesweeper for some intense interaction. Wrap up your visit at a traditional Apsara dance performance, or if you prefer the outdoors, stop by the Prek Toal bird sanctuary nearby. 

Rabbit Island is a little paradise located just two miles off the country's southern coast, in the Gulf of Thailand. Back in the day, the island was a rehabilitation center for convicted criminals, who were in turn used to defend the island. Now, volunteers and travelers alike enjoy the island’s white sand beaches, and researchers and ecologists flock here to study the plants and animals found in the surrounding coral reefs.

Volunteer Programs in Cambodia

There are many opportunities to volunteer in Cambodia. Flex those volunteering muscles through business development, advocacy work, and teaching options in this gem of Southeast Asia. Generally, if you plan to learn as much Khmer (the local language) as possible, stick with smaller sites, as urban areas will tempt you to speak English because you’ll be more likely to run into English-speaking tourists. 

While Cambodia is still rebuilding its education systems, volunteers are needed to teach specialty trades and skills. Therefore, Cambodia is in need of English teaching volunteers. Teaching English can be a great way to volunteer in Cambodia and make a sustainable impact. With tourism rising in Cambodia, business leaders seek bilingual staff and volunteers to teach adults, teenagers, and even preschoolers. Teaching opportunities range from part-time to full-time, and from classes and groups to individual instruction or live-in settings.

Business development is booming in Cambodia, so volunteers well versed in marketing, social media, and finance are extremely helpful for local businesses. Not to mention, microfinance companies are taking off with great success throughout Cambodia, allowing low-income applicants to start small businesses. Volunteers willing to mentor, finance, and play a role in community and economic development are invaluable to locals

Human trafficking is a very prevalent human rights issue throughout Asia, and can be seen in the form of sex trafficking in Cambodia. Therefore, volunteers are needed in rehabilitation settings with women, men, and children rescued from forced bondage and other volatile situations.

Costs & Affordability

Once you land in Cambodia, it will not be difficult to feel like a king living at royal court, especially for those coming from Westernized countries. However, don’t succumb to frivolous spending and keep in mind the generous nature of your volunteering, even when you aren’t “on the clock.”

Due to the lack of economic development, Southeast Asia has an extremely low cost of living, so you can get by on a tight budget as a volunteer in Cambodia. Food and transportation costs are relatively low, and the dollar goes a long way. In Phnom Penh, for example, you can hire a tuk-tuk driver for about $20 a day to take you around to all of the sites.

Those who choose to eat at local markets while volunteering in Cambodia will find tasty rice and noodle plates for as little as a dollar, and the Cambodian version of baguette sandwiches on the street go for half of that! For nicer, sit-down restaurants, prices will run upwards of $3. Be aware that you may get charged more as a foreigner (but really, is it worth haggling an extra ten cents on a $.50 cent coconut, when most people live off of $1 a day?). 

Volunteer program fees usually include housing, on site transportation, and meals. Most volunteer programs in Cambodia don’t include flight costs, therefore travel costs combined with program costs can make volunteering fairly expensive. Before backing out of volunteering in Cambodia because of the costs, be sure to check out fundraising opportunities to raise money for your trip.

Accommodation & Visas

While accommodations in Cambodia will vary depending on the structure and location of your volunteer work, you will likely discover a few commonalities throughout the country, including a lower standard of living, basic furnishings, and no promise of hot water. However, local organizations do typically supply pre-arranged accommodations to make sure volunteers have a comfortable place to rest their heads at night. And we promise, what you miss out on in mattress thickness, you will make up for in views and company.

Most volunteer programs in Cambodia will provide volunteers with the opportunity to stay with a homestay family, which is a great way to experience the local culture and practice Khmer. Living with a local family will give you the chance to adopt a foreign way of life and learn how to say highly-useful phrases, such as “‘I’d like more of your delicious noodles, please’” Other individuals that volunteer in Cambodia will live in dorms, crashing alongside their fellow international volunteers. Though this option will give you more independence, it offers less chances to practice the local language. 

Regardless of nationality, you will need a visa to volunteer in Cambodia. Most volunteer program packages don’t include visa fees. Instead, volunteer organizations will coach you through the visa process. Refer to GoAbroad’s Cambodian Embassy Directory to find an embassy or consulate in your home country and get an up to date list of requirements. 

Benefits & Challenges

During the The Khmer Rouge takeover in the 1970s, the government condemned creativity, self-expression, and education as rebellious acts, so education and all means of making a living through traditional skills were halted. The transition to an open community, with a liberal mentality and right of voice is still underway, so your contribution of global perspectives and patient understanding will facilitate this process. As you volunteer in Cambodia, sharing your time and skills, take time to offer honest conversation and respectful opinions as well.

The Cambodian people are recovering from their harsh past, so as a volunteer in Cambodia, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by the astounding poverty and unemployment that still affects the country. Yet the longer volunteers stay, the better they integrate into the culture and learn to understand the true worth of life’s necessities. Market vendors, rickshaw drivers, and curious passers-by will greet you with a warm smile and a sense of optimism, and you won’t be able to not smile back.

Cambodians will teach you that there’s always a way to rebuild. Volunteering in Cambodia will show you, day by day, that it’s possible to work toward a brighter future, no matter the challenges. Come to make a difference for the better, and leave a much better version of yourself!

Read More

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Cambodia


 Find Volunteer Programs in Cambodia Now


This listing has been saved 977 times

Affordable and Trusted Volunteering in Cambodia with IVHQ!

Gain a cultural understanding of Cambodia while volunteering with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ Cambodia is based in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, where you can give back on a Teaching, Childcare, Working with NGOs or Computer Support volunteer projects. Discover why IVHQ is the world's most trusted volunteer provider...

A volunteer teaching art to Cambodian students

This listing has been saved 322 times

Make a REAL difference in Cambodia – From just US$175/week!

Love Volunteers provides individuals with the chance to travel abroad and immerse in a new culture, while participating in projects that provide help where it is needed most. Join us for a truly memorable experience volunteering abroad in Cambodia. All volunteer projects are responsible, safe, and affordable! Check out our programs!

A volunteer in Cambodia carrying a baby

This listing has been saved 71 times

Volunteer Programs in Cambodia for Ages 16 and Up

There are four volunteer program opportunities to choose from in Cambodia with Volunteering Solutions. Participants have the chance to work in an orphanage, teach children, or take part in group volunteer placements in the bustling city of Phnom Penh. All volunteers get the chance to experience life in Cambodia and expand their cultural understanding.

A woman holding a little boy

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 3 times

Responsible and Affordable Volunteering in Cambodia

Volunteer with Globalteer in Cambodia with one of our rewarding and affordable placements. Work with children or indigenous communities, rescued elephants or bears or help out with our sports project for underprivileged children. You can also tour the unforgettable temples of Angkor Wat, visit the bustling capital, Phnom Penh or laze on a deserted island beach. Placements area available year-r...

Children showing gratitude by showing thank you message written in the colorful papers.

This listing has been saved 8 times

Volunteer Programs in Cambodia with Projects Abroad

Adapt to Cambodian society while exploring the culture of modern Cambodia as a volunteer with Projects Abroad. Volunteers live in Phnom Penh for at least four weeks and work in a local community helping the less fortunate. This program offers a wide array of service options for international participants, including Community Development, Tourism, and Journalism.


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 12 times

ELI Abroad – Volunteer and Explore Lush, Beautiful Cambodia

Make a difference as you discover the magic of Cambodia. We have volunteer placements with at-risk children, microfinance, social work and women's empowerment. Orphanage English-teachers are also desperately needed. You'll live in a Phnom Penh guesthouse and on weekends you can explore Cambodia’s stunning beaches, jungles and famed ancient temples.


This listing has been saved 9 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...