The Kingdom of Wonder
If you choose to volunteer with Building Better Lives, you will get to see for yourself the beauty of Cambodia. We hope that, like many before you, it won't take long for you to fall for its charm, its people and its wonder.
Cambodia has everything - paradise beaches, islands, jungle, wildlife, rural provinces, bustling cities. It is a country filled with colourful Wats, captivating culture and scrumptious food.
You will come away with many, many memories that will stay with you for life!
Our Local Area – Beoung Tompon
We are about a twenty minute tuk tuk ride from the center of town, near the Killing Fields and the Russian Market. We have a lovely little local market where you can get a great Cambodian lunch on a plastic stool and do your shopping.
There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants around the nearby Russian Market, where you can enjoy a drink or while away an afternoon. There are supermarkets and ATMs here, as well as little boutique shops. The market itself has everything from electronics and spices to food and clothing.
There is also the opportunity while volunteering to visit the local community. Here you will see how the children and their families live their day to day lives and be able to get a real insight into their situations.
Phnom Penh (Central)
This is our capital city. It is full of historical, cultural and leisure activities to while away your weekends and days off! There’s plenty of varied markets such as the Central Market, Orussey Market and the Russian Market. There is also the bustling Night Market on the river front and many, many little local and street markets to stumble across. Each has their own appeal!
Phnom Penh is packed with cultural sites, such as Wat Phnom in the French Quarter, the Olympic Stadium and Wat Ounalom and the Royal Palace on the waterfront. The Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum offer a sombre but important look at the history of Cambodia.
The riverside is packed with bars, which offer incredibly cheap drinks during happy hour (often 2-3 hours long!) and places to eat. Around the city there are also a wealth of trendy cafes, restaurants and little spots to sit and watch Cambodian life go by. Check out some of the cities rooftop bars too for great views across the city. There is also a thriving nightlife here too, with live music, karaoke and nightclubs.
Whether it's idyllic beaches, vibrant jungle or peaceful temples you crave, Cambodia has it all. The journey down to the coast or up to Angkor Wat isn't far and is inexpensive by bus, easy for a weekend away!
Visit beautiful open waters and jaw-dropping mountainscapes in quiet Kampot. Take a trip to a deserted paradise beach or busier party beach in Kep, Sihanoukville and on the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. And, of course, the temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap are a must-see while you are here.
Getting around Cambodia is easy with cheap buses and flights leaving from Phnom Penh all the time and a train that runs down to the coast on the weekends. This also makes it very easy to travel onwards from Phnom Penh and visit other parts of Southeast Asia as well if you have time.
Cambodia is a relatively safe country, though of course as in any big city pick pockets do operate, especially when the city population swells at times of busy festivals, etc. Be sensible and stay vigilant.
Phnom Penh has good pharmacies, doctors and hospitals, should you need any while you are here. Contact your project director, who can get you the help you need.
Cambodian women often dress conservatively, although this has definitely relaxed in recent years. However, in some places and in temples you will be required to cover your shoulders and knees.