Cities & Sanctuaries

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Cities & Sanctuaries

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  • Get your hands dirty and volunteer at a permaculture education centre designed to support local farmers promoting best practices in sustainable agriculture.
  • Hike past rice paddy fields and fish on the river while learning about life in a small Khmer village surrounding an 800-year old temple complex.
  • Travel back in time to explore and cycle through the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Embrace the complexity of modern Phnom Penh, from the beautiful temples and pagodas to the harsh realities of the Killing Fields.

Program Dates

March 5 – 18
Applications Closed

Fees + Community Contribution

$1,755 + $135
$1,950 + $150

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Sample Itinerary

*This itinerary is based on our previous experience with the region. Programs change every year based on the needs of our partners. This should give you a sense of what our program may look like.

Orientation in Phnom Penh
Following airport pickups, our group will be introduced to Cambodia’s bustling capital. In a citywide scavenger hunt we’ll get introduced to the sights, sounds, and tastes of this modern yet distinctively Cambodian city. We’ll visit some of city’s most beautiful temples and pagodas, but also visit the S-21 Prison Museum and the Killing Fields in order to understand Cambodia’s tragic recent history.

We will introduce you to all the hidden secrets of a booming city as we meet local friends from different walks of life. The team will gain a variety of perspectives in their first three days on the ground.

Temples and Responsible Tourism: Banteay Chhmar
Get ready to go from one extreme to another! After the urban jungle of Phnom Penh we’ll head straight into the Cambodian countryside to the village of Banteay Chhmar. Motos, bicycles, and kuyons filled with farmers returning from their fields manoeuvre their way around you. Women with colourful checkered krama scarves and children playing outside their bamboo stilt houses are bustling about. This is our first taste of life outside the city, and you’ll soon discover how sweet it is!

We’ll be staying with the Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism group (CBT), a local cooperative organization dedicated to preserving a huge 800-year old temple complex located in the vicinity of the village, as well as developing a sustainable local tourism economy.

Down And Dirty In Battambang
Amidst rice fields and villages, we continue to go further south into the province of Battambang. We’ll head over to the Teuk Poh Permaculture Education Farm to join Cambodia’s permaculture action team – a group of dedicated activists promoting sustainable farming practices in marginalized communities around the country.

Our team has previously built fences, dug ponds, created gardens, and planted veggies, fruits, and trees. The aim of the project is not only to introduce us to the amazing world of permaculture, but also to get our hands dirty making improvements to this farm that is visited by hundreds of farmers year round.

We’ll be sleeping in hammocks, eating out of palm leaves, and spending evenings by the fire listening to Khmer folktales. We’ll be stripped down to basics and we’ll have an opportunity to truly connect with the community!

Angkor Wat & the Kingdom Of Wonders
From the heart of rural Cambodia, we travel back in time to the magical Kingdom of the Angkor Empire. From the green flat rice fields dotted with water buffalo and palm trees to the staggering beauty of Angkor Wat, it’ll be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The change might be overwhelming at first sight, but soon you will get lost in the genius of the Khmer expression of spirituality and creativity!

Our time at Angkor will bring insight into the fascinating history of the ancient Khmer civilization, as well as a unique outlook at mass tourism vs. the more local, community-based tourism initiative we experienced earlier on our program. Be ready to have your mind blown with the sheer scale and size of Cambodia’s heart and soul!

Back to where it all began, we return to the Mekong River for a program debrief called “Disorientation”. In Phnom Penh, we will relive memories of the program, recap the lessons that we’ve learned, discuss how to stay connected, and collaborate on projects in the future.

Then off to the airport for some tearful goodbyes!

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What’s Included?

A comprehensive program itinerary and educational curriculum focused on the issues facing your specific region

Experienced and caring program leaders with you 24 hours a day

All lodging and accommodations throughout the program

Three local meals a day

All group tours, entrance fees, and excursions

All group transportation on the ground

Regular discussions and workshops to help you internalize and reflect on your experience

Support from OGHQ whenever you need it


With OG, you live like the locals.
Traveling as much as we do on this program, there are a number of different styles of accommodation. In cities, we stay at clean, safe, and secure guesthouses. When we’re out in rural communities, local families will host us in their homes and we might just sleep under the stars for a few nights (with mosquito nets of course)! Being welcomed by local families is an incredible way for the team to integrate within the communities we visit. Cold bucket showers are common while continuous electricity can’t always be guaranteed – so come prepared! Though Western comforts should not be assumed, you can expect to better connect with locals and their culture.

Meet Our Regional Director

Sidney JhingranAfter hearing about OG while sweating in a sauna in northern Ontario in 2010, and subsequently going on a Southeast Asia program, Sidney quickly got hooked on backpacktivism. Since then. he has led four years of programs in Southeast Asia. His favorite part of the job (if he had to choose) is getting people to fall in love with this part of the world and understanding it through a critical and educational lens. Sid lives in Bangkok where, besides operating as Regional Director for OG, he is pursuing a Masters in Tourism Management. Previously, Sid was an archaeologist, a passion he continues to cultivate when time permits. Eating is another big hobby, which is easy to maintain in a place like Thailand.

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