Day 1: Arrive in Phnom Penh
Fly into Cambodia’s capital city, where you’ll meet your program leaders before heading to the hotel for a short orientation.
Overnight: Hotel, Phnom Penh
Day 2: Explore Cambodia’s Difficult History
Start informal Khmer language lessons during breakfast to show respect for the local culture. Head to Tuol Sleng, former school that was used as a prison and has since been converted into a museum to educate visitors about the country’s genocide. Visit the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and walk through the quiet and peaceful fields that played host to mass killings and burials. Tour the Royal Palace where the King currently resides and visit Olympic Stadium, where Cambodians gather before and after work to exercise and meet up with friends.
Overnight: Hotel, Phnom Penh
Day 3: Fly to Siem Reap
This morning, fly up to Siem Reap, home of incredible Angkor Wat! Spend the day preparing for your trip to the floating village of Prek Toal and head to the market to buy supplies for your time on the water.
Overnight: Hotel, Siem Reap
Days 4 – 7: Journey to Floating Village Homestays
Experience a completely different way of life in Cambodia’s floating villages where families do everything on their boats, from cooking their morning meals to reeling in their fishing nets at the end of the day. Settle into homestays in Prek Toal and explore this unique community before your service work assisting with a housing improvement initiative begins. Spend time getting to know the locals and swapping stories.
Overnight: Traditional Homestay, Floating Villages
Day 8: Night in Siem Reap
Say goodbye to Prek Toal and sail back to Siem Reap where you’ll explore the famous night markets for some local souvenirs. Head to the Cambodian circus after dinner for an inspiring show of acrobatics performed by students from Phare Ponleu Selpak, an organization that educates disadvantaged youth through the power of the arts
Overnight: Hotel, Siem Reap
Day 9: Explore Angkor Wat
Visit the fascinating temple complex of Angkor Wat, an architectural marvel which dates to the Khmer empire in the 12th century. Marvel at the intricate carvings of Angkor’s historic battle scenes and look out over the beautiful landscape from the top of the highest tower. Venture to see the huge, carved faces of Bayon and make your way to the shady temple of Ta Prohm, where massive trees have given this ruin a fairytale-like feel.
Overnight: Hotel, Siem Reap
Day 10: Return Home
Fulfilled with incredible memories and amazing new experiences, it will be time to head to the airport to make your way home.
Do we need to get visas for this program?
Participants will require a visa to enter Cambodia. It is participants’ responsibility to obtain the necessary visa. Participants will be denied access to their destination if they do not have the appropriate paperwork.
E-Visas can be obtained online by visiting the Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at https://www.evisa.gov.kh
The current cost of the visa is US$37, which can be paid online via credit card. You will need to enter passport details and upload a digital passport-size portrait photo. Once processed, you will be emailed an e-Visa that you should print and carry in your passport to Cambodia. Please send a copy to Rustic Pathways.
Non-Australian passport holders may need alternative visas for entry into Cambodia. Please contact us for details or check with the appropriate consulate or embassy.
Will there be a flight leader to this country?
Participants will not be accompanied by a flight leader. Our program staff will greet participants when they arrive at Phnom Penh Airport in Cambodia.
Are international flights included in the program fee?
No, international flights are not included in the program fee. Please contact our office if you require any assistance with flight arrangements.
How long is the flight to this country?
Cambodia is 11.5 hours by air from Brisbane and Melbourne, and 8.5 hours by air from Perth.
Does the advertised trip length include international travel time?
No, this program does not include international airfares. Please contact our office if you require any assistance with flight arrangements.
What city do flights need to be booked in and out of?
Flights need to be booked into Phnom Penh and out of Siem Reap. Participants need to arrive into Phnom Penh International Airport no later than 4pm on Sunday 1 December and depart Siem Reap International Airport after 1pm on Tuesday 10 December.
Which areas does this program operate in?
This program operates in Phnom Penh, Prek Toal and Siem Reap.
Is your staff certified in First Aid?
Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
What is the ratio of Program Leaders to participants?
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 participants.
Who will the other Rustic Pathways students be?
You will be with other Australian’s between the ages of 17 – 19. You may find yourself in a smaller, cozier setting or part of a big high-energy crew.
What water will we be drinking?
Students will have access to clean, safe drinking water (pronounced duk) on this trip at all times. Water in faucets can be used to brush your teeth but is not for drinking. Don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated!
How often will I have access to emails and phones?
When you join us on this incredible journey we want you to have as immersive an experience as possible and soak it all in. To do that you are encouraged to take a break from technology and engage with the life on the ground in Cambodia. Leave the lands of social media behind and focus on being present in the moment—don’t worry, it will still be there when you return—we promise!
You will have access to internet in Phnom Penh but throughout the rest of the trip, internet access will be sporadic.
What should families at home do in case of emergency?
You will be given the phone number to our 24/7 emergency line which is kept open for true emergencies only. One of our awesome staff members will be in charge of this line, and they will pass any necessary information to us on the ground in Cambodia.
What is the weather like?
Get ready to sweat! Cambodia’s dry season starts in November but you can still get the tail end of the rainy season. Temperatures range from 20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius at this time. What does that mean for you? Clothes that have synthetic fibers are great because they dry fast (much faster than cotton)! Ponchos can easily be purchased in-country.
What will the accommodation on this trip be like?
You will be staying in hotels and guesthouses with western amenities such as air conditioning and hot water while in Phnom Penh.
In Prek Toal, students will be staying at homestay accommodation, which is nestled in a small local village. Here students will have a mattress pad on the floor with a mosquito net. Sleeping arrangements will be separated by gender.
What kind of food will we be eating?
Traditional Khmer food of course! Cambodia is home to many great cuisines due in part to French colonial influence, and you will get a chance to try these out when in major cities. However, you will be encouraged to eat local food as much as possible, after all, you are in Cambodia! Lok-lak, amok, pra-hok— sound familiar? These are some of the most well known dishes in Cambodia. Be sure to tell one of your local Program Leaders that you want to try pra-hok, which will most certainly give them a laugh. It is common for Cambodians to eat rice with every meal- even for breakfast, unless they’re having some yummy noodle soup! Some dishes you can expect are: rice based dishes (especially fried rice, pronounced bai cha in Khmer), noodle soups, grilled pork, stir fried vegetables, various fish dishes, and tons of fresh fruit! Coconuts are plentiful so get ready to crack some open and enjoy the refreshing coconut juice with your meals! We will make every effort to accommodate vegetarian and other special dietary needs as best we can, but please be aware that students with seafood or nut allergies cannot be accommodated.
What service projects will I work on and how are projects identified?
Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organisations to identify and prioritise the needs of each community. You can expect to lend a helping hand with the most pressing needs of the communities at the time of your visit.
How often will I have the chance to do laundry?
Don’t worry, we won’t tell on you if you wear the same t-shirt twice! Cleanliness is a big part of Asian culture so we keep as clean as we can while traveling. We will have access to laundry facilities at the beginning and end of this program which usually cost around $1/kilogram. Feel free to buy some laundry soap at the local market and learn how to wash your clothes by hand like many Cambodians do during your time in the Kampong Cham!
What should I know about safety on this program?
Please visit International SOS or Smart Traveller for an up to date report on current situations regarding visiting Cambodia. Staff will alert participants if any changes to safety occur within the country.
What immunisations do we need to get for this trip?
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunisation and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be travelling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the following websites for country specific information around immunisations and traveller’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.
What is my membership with International SOS?
International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to International SOS’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travellers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program.
Can Rustic Pathways cater to specific diets on this program?
This program can cater to most specific diets including but not limited to vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose free, as well as peanut free cooking.
Will mosquitoes and/or other insects be a problem on this trip?
Malaria is present throughout the country of Cambodia. Mosquitos tend to pop up whenever the rain starts, and at night. Please bring a bottle of mosquito repellant with the proper amount of DEET (at least 30% DEET is recommended). Packing a lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants to wear at night for extra protections is also a great idea! Students will be provided mosquito nets when in Kampong Cham. Be sure to consult with a travel doctor or your family physician regarding additional precautions to take.
What costs are not included on this trip?
Personal gifts, Internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.
How much spending money do you recommend I bring?
Part of traveling internationally is learning how to be responsible for your belongings. All students are responsible for carrying their own personal spending money and you must be prepared for this responsibility. On average, most students require a minimum of AUS $100-$150 for incidental expenses (including laundry, any extra snacks, souvenirs, etc.). The night markets in Siem Reap have an amazing variety of crafts, clothing, and unbelievable miscellaneous trinkets. Shopping there is a real treat, so budget more if you’re a big time shopper and less if you’re a go light, less is more, bring home only the memories kind of traveler.
ATMs are widely available in Cambodia, and students are encouraged to bring ATM cards to limit the risk of theft as they travel. We suggest bringing $200 AUD in cash and then using an
ATM if additional money is needed. Don’t forget to call your financial institution beforehand to let them know you’ll be travelling out of the country and ask about any additional fees!