School trips to Cambodia are bursting with culture and history. During your stay, explore this land of magnificent temples and kind, smiley locals. Angkor Wat is an iconic and instantly recognisable monument, but this archaeological park is full of wonders. A number of the temples have both Hindu and Buddhist influence, therefore this trip is fascinating for those studying religion.
Further to this, explore the majestic Royal Palace in the capital, Phnom Penh, admiring the intricate designs. Learn about the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970s. Uncover this tragic piece of the nation’s history and gain an understanding of how it has shaped today’s society. Furthermore, visiting the Landmine Museum to educate your pupils about the country’s ongoing struggle with the remnant of war. Given the challenges they have faced, Cambodians tend to be friendly, kind and happy to interact with tourists.
Take a boat ride to discover the lifestyle of those in fishing villages, often living in floating houses. Experiment with local cuisine and chat with locals. Your class will have the chance to learn from locals, developing performance and circus skills rooted in the country’s heritage, before enjoying a night at the circus. Additionally, spend some time immersing yourself in the lives of locals, perhaps by visiting local schools where pupils can learn about Cambodia from the native children.
The tour offers great insight into how life varies around the world and provides a glimpse into history in South East Asia – a topic not usually on the curriculum. This tour offers an alternative perspective, helping your students to grow and become more well-rounded.
2019 dates available on request
Welcome to Cambodia!
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the city. After check-in and having some time to relax, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Sightseeing in Phnom Penh
After breakfast this morning, embark on a day of sightseeing. Begin with a visit to the majestic and ornate Khmer Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Then, continue on an exploration of Cambodia’s tragic recent history – the genocide led by Pol Pot. A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genoice Museum is sobering and poignant. Then drive to the Killing Fields, where ordinary people were brutally killed only around 40 years ago. An audio guide tour narrates the harrowing tour. Although difficult, this experience is also fascinating and important. There is plenty which can be learnt and the experience helps paint a picture of why Cambodia is the way it its today.
Travel to Siem Reap
Today, after breakfast, you will begin your journey to Siem Reap. Break this journey with a stop in the former Khmer capital Sambor Prei Kuk. This complex was established as a royal sanctuary and capital by king Isanaverman. Built in the 7th Century AD, it is the earliest example of Khmer temple architecture. The temples were abandoned, rediscovered and restored in 1980 though only parts of the jungle have been cleared. After lunch, continue on to Siem Reap, where you can relax after your day of travel.
Angkor Wat Temple Complex
Today explore the incredible temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Perhaps start at the South Gate of Angkor Thom, an entrance flanked with statues of the Gods of good and evil. Carry on to the Bayon, known for the hundreds of smiling faces that grace the towers. The detailed bas reliefs offer insight into daily life and tell of great battles against the ancient Thais. See the rows of trunks that form the wall of the Terrace of the Elephants, a platform from which King Jayavarman surveyed his army.
Then head to one of the most loved temples of all – Ta Prohm. This small crumbling temple is held together by giant tree roots giving it a magical feel. You may also recognise it from the film Tomb Raider.
Enjoy lunch, perhaps returning to Siem Reap to seek shade and enjoy a rest. When the day has cooled a little, explore the the world’s largest religious monument – the iconic and awe-inspiring Angkor Wat. The national symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is emblazoned on the country’s flag.
Ton Le Sap Lake is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia and the lifeblood of the Cambodian fishing industry. On your visit today, sail between the floating homes and small fish farms to experience the daily life of locals. Stop for lunch before continuing to the Cambodia Landmine Museum. This collection of decommissioned mines has been collected by the museum’s founder, Aki Ra. A former Khmer Rough child soldier, he has disarmed the majority of this explosives himself. The museum strives to educate visitors on the importance of clearing landmines in Cambodia. With potentially 5,000,000 still in the ground, landmines have immensely impacted the history and culture of this society.
This afternoon, join in a performance workshop led by Phare, the Cambodian Circus – an NGO supporting the futures of Khmer youth with art and performance training. After dinner at a local restaurant, return to Phare for the Circus Show incorporating high flying, tight-rope walking, juggling, contortion, music and theatre circus arts in one energetic showcase of Cambodian culture. The performers come from difficult backgrounds and this circus helps them to support their families. They perform with boundless energy, passion, talent and dedication.
There are a number of opportunities for your students to interact with local people. The aim of this is to develop their knowledge of local lifestyles and the ways in which life in Cambodia is different from and similar too life at home. Explore a local village, enjoy meals with the community, see life on a farm or visit a local school. Perhaps try some traditional Khmer sports, learn a traditional dance, or learn to cook a local dish. There’s a wide range of possibilities and a cultural exchange is sure to be one of the most memorable and educational aspects of the trip.
Transfer to Siem Reap airport after breakfast and begin your journey back to the UK, flying either to the UK from Siem Reap or via internal transfer to Phnom Penh, where you will connect with you international flight.