Volunteer in Cambodia

Discover the wonders of Cambodia, an increasingly popular destination for travellers visiting South East Asia!

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Kep, Cambodia.     Photo credit: Galyna Andrushko, Shutterstock

About Cambodia

Cambodia is bordered by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in the southern part of the Indochina Peninsula in South East Asia, with the Gulf of Thailand lying to its west.  The country is well known for its many Buddhist temples, the most famous being Angkor Wat.  It is said that as many as 380,000 laborers and 4,000 elephants toiled for more than 30 years to complete this structural marvel!  Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest city and capital, is located on the Mekong River and the Cambodian riel is the currency used for commerce in the country.  The country’s official language, Khmer, is spoken by some 90% of the population.

Highlights

  • Visit the temple at Angkor Wat, a stunning world heritage site.
  • Experience the incredible diversity of Virachay National Park, so big it’s yet to be fully explored!
  • Dive or snorkel off one of the islands on the south coast or relax on Sihanoukville Beach.

Climate and Geography

Cambodia has a tropical climate with two seasons that is dominated by monsoons (known as the tropical wet and dry).  The dry season runs from December through to April when sunny weather dominates, especially in January and February.  The wet season runs from May to November when the winds shift into the southwest monsoon, bringing the heaviest rainfall through the months of September and October.

Cambodia’s landscape consists of tropical rainforests and fertile cultivated land, with lush highlands rising in both the north east and south west (reaching as high as 1,810m at Phnum Aoral).  The Tonle Saple Lake and the Mekong River (which crosses the entire country) are two of the most prominent features of the country’s landscape.

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Map of Asia depicting Cambodia.     Image credit: d-maps.com

Culture and Religion

Cambodia’s South East Asian culture still retains some French influences.  Indeed, many French words have been incorporated into the language as a result of years of French colonial rule.  However, Theravada Buddhism is the main religion practiced in Cambodia and there is a close association between Buddhism, Khmer cultural traditions and daily life.  It is estimated that there are as many as 4,392 temples throughout the country.

Wildlife and Environment

Cambodia is one of the most biodiverse countries in South East Asia.  Many threatened species that have been eradicated from neighbouring countries can still be found in the country’s forests, such as the Siamese Crocodile and Asian Tiger.  Cambodia’s waters also contain a diverse range of habitats supporting a wide variety of aquatic species, including Irrawaddy Dolphins, Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Green Sea Turtles.

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A Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas.     Photo credit: Olga Khoroshunova, Shutterstock

Click here to see how you can work as a marine conservation volunteer in Cambodia!