Cities & Sanctuaries

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Cities & Sanctuaries

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  • Get your hands dirty and volunteer alongside our friends at Ockenden Cambodia, learning about sustainable farming in rural Cambodia.
  • Stay at homestays, eat meals prepared by local aunties, and immerse yourself in the community of Banteay Chhmar, famous for its 800-year old temple ruins.
  • Travel back in time to explore the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Embrace the complexity of modern Phnom Penh, from its trendy foodie scene and markets to its historically significant memorial sites.


14-DAY ↑

Fees + Community Contribution  

$1,985 + $145 USD
$2,070 + $150 CAD

Program Dates

February 24 – March 9, 2018

March 17 – 30, 2018

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 the 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. Our team will gain a variety of perspectives in their first three days on the ground.

Temples & Responsible Tourism with 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.

Volunteering with Ockenden Cambodia
Amidst rice fields and villages, we continue to go even deeper into the countryside with our friends from Ockenden Cambodia – an NGO comprised of dedicated activists promoting sustainable farming practices in marginalized communities around the country. The most common activity for our groups is tree planting – vitally important in a country where deforestation is a principal issue. But we’ll also lend a hand setting up gardens, composting, and generally learning about permaculture.

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 the basics, and we’ll have an opportunity to truly connect with the community!

Angkor Wat & the Kingdom Of Wonders
No trip to Cambodia is complete without a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor! This is the biggest archaeological site in the world and home to dozens of spectacular ancient temple complexes, including Angkor Wat (the largest religious monument in the world). If you think that description has too many superlatives, just wait until you actually see it for yourself!

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 capital city 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. 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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