Volunteer in Cambodia with Plan My Gap Year, an award winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of programmes in Cambodia, including Childcare and English Teaching opportunities.
“I had the most fantastic time at the childcare project in Cambodia. I was apprehensive about working in a teaching environment as I had no prior experience – but the team were really good at reassuring me about the project and how I would fair. You have constant support from the local team so you’re never on your own. I worked at the project for 6 weeks and only wish I had done longer as the children were amazing and so appreciative of all the help we gave them.” – MEGAN ROBINSON | UNITED KINGDOM
PMGY provide a sociable structured meaningful experience across need driven community projects in Africa and Asia. Each year, we have thousands of volunteers working across a range of our projects from teaching and childcare to wildlife, medical and more. Our volunteer reviews are testament to the extensive pre-departure support and legacy our team provides to match the unbelievable in-country experience our volunteers engage in.
We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.
A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!
Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.
You should book your flights to Phnom Penh International Airport. The airport code is PNH.
PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.
PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).
Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.
Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.
Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.
For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.
We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.
Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.
For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.
Our projects are based in a rural village called Bakod around 2 hours away from Phnom Penh Airport. Bakod is a small traditional village based in the regional province of Takeo. It is located around a 90 minute drive from Phnom Penh in the southwest of Cambodia. It is far away from the main tourist trail and backpacker destinations. Bakod is a poor, rural area where the majority of locals work the land farming rice from the paddy fields or mangos from small plantations. Some family members will work away from the village in Phnom Penh or Thailand to earn money to send back to support the community back here.
The central part of Takeo is around 7km from Bakod village where our accommodation and education programme is based.
Takeo borders the provinces of Kampot to the west, Kampong Speu to the northwest and Kandal to the north and east. Its southern boundary is the international border with Vietnam. The provincial capital, recently known as the provincial town Doun Kaev, is a small city with a population of 39,186.
Takeo is often referred to as the “cradle of Khmer civilization” due to the former kingdom of Funan its successor, Water Chenla, being centered in the region.
In general the province is a great way for volunteers to explore and immerse themselves in the roots of traditional Cambodian life. From mingling with the locals and watching their daily routines to walking in the pictoresque paddy fields and spending time at the nearby temples; a true Cambodian experience is awaiting you!
Our programmes in Bakod run from 2-24 weeks beginning on the first and third Monday of each month.
PMGY’s programme in Cambodia are ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams who have been fully vetted by our UK team.
Such a committed local staff network provide the structure for your stay with us when working on our Cambodia project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, breakfast & dinner, airport pick up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.
So whether you are interning at our community school or teaching and working on the orphanage programme with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Cambodia.
Your orientation will begin on the Tuesday. In the morning our local team will teach you about life in Cambodia, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the local language, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community.
In the afternoon, you will have the chance to get your first full taste of how the project works in action and meeting all the children that come to the community school. Where possible our team will look to buddy you up on your first couple days or so at the project, but depending on volunteer numbers at the time there may be times from early on where volunteers have to take the lead at the project.
Although this can appear a little daunting, our local 26 team are always on hand to support you and volunteers soon get to grips with the project life!
You can also have the chance to pop into the local town around 7km away where you can visit the local market, go to the ATM, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the convenience stores. The cost for a tuk tuk into town is usually $8 and this can be shared between the group relative to the amount of people using the tuk tuk.
Please make sure you arrive into Phnom Penh International Airport in Cambodia (PNH) on Monday.
Day 1 (Monday) – Arrival
Welcome to Cambodia You will be met at Phnom Penh airport by a member of our local team or an appointed driver who will be holding a name sign. The journey to Bakod will take around 90-120 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and get to know your fellow volunteers. Depending on what time you arrive on the Monday you may be able to observe and get involved at the project if you are not to tired!
Day 2 (Tuesday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in Cambodia, its now time to begin your induction into life in Cambodia. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and potential visits to local points of interest.
Day 3-5 (Wednesday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins
You will start your volunteer work more formally on the Wednesday. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away and are usually actively involved and present at the projects anyway. Our team are always happy to help! On the evenings volunteers will tend to relax around the dinner table, play games, organise movie and quiz nights or pop to a nearby restaurant for a change of scenery.
Day 6-7 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience – Cambodia has it all. Why not check out our weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!
The following weeks
Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.
Last day (Sunday)
Sunday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Programme Fee.
If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.
Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.
In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).
1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team
Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.
Listed below are some general safety tips.
• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
It is always hot and humid in Cambodia; the time of year determines if it is wet or dry!
The dry season is January to late May and the rainy season is usually June to early December. The rain usually comes in short sharp bursts and all day rain is rare, so don’t let the monsoon season put you off coming to Cambodia. In fact the rainy season is quite refreshing as it brings some respite from the heat. Furthermore, the countryside is far greener and lush during wet season so be prepared for some spectacular views – especially at Angkor Wat.
January to April is definitely the hottest time of year with temperatures soaring over 35°C at times. The most moderate weather can be found between October and December when it is relatively cool, dry and not too humid.
During your time with PMGY you will live in our volunteer accommodation which is just around a 20 minute tuk tuk from the centre of Takeo where you will find local restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is basic but comfortable in a dormitory like form. Each room has bunk beds with up to 14 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own mosquito net and bedding. You are also welcome to bring your own mats or blow up mattresses if you want some extra comfort.
Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Cambodia is hot and humid all year-round! Volunteers are advised to bring their own toiletries from home as a lot of the products in Cambodia (for example shampoo and shower gel) have bleach in them, so it may be better to bring these kind of products from back home.
We encourage you to bring some small padlocks for your suitcase and/or store any valuables with our local team in their private area. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled. Volunteers are advised to note that cupboard space is not available within the dorm.
The volunteer accommodation is located right next to where our local team live and on the same site to where we run our afternoon teaching programme. Although volunteers have their own private space there is still the security of living next to our local team who can assist you if need be. It is also a great way to learn more about Cambodian culture and practise your new-found language skills!
Please note that the accommodation volunteers live in is within very close proximity to a lot of animals, including dogs, cats, cows and chickens.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
Each day we will provide you with breakfast and dinner (Monday-Friday) at the accommodation which will be prepared by the cook – all cutlery and crockery etc is provided. For breakfast, you’ll be provided with toast, eggs, jam, noodles, coffee, tea. In the evening you will be provided with a traditional Cambodian dish with the odd western meal. Filtered drinking water is available free of charge for you to help yourself as you please.
You will need to purchase your own lunch. Volunteers are advised to budget around £2 each day for lunch. All meals at the weekend are at volunteers expense and not included in the Programme Fee. Volunteers will usually travel at the weekends anyhow.
Here is an example of the meals you can expect:
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.
Your local transport to and from the project each day is not included in your Programme Fee. The community school is located right next to the volunteer accommodation and therefore within walking distance. The orphanage is located around a 20 minute tuk tuk drive from the volunteer accommodation. The cost of travel is £8 per day and this can be split between the volunteers depending on how many people go to the orphanage each day.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Cambodian, although learning a few words in your days with us in Cambodia will go a long way!
We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.
In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation.
Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.