EXPERIENCE CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
Our Culture week is a must for you to truly submerge into your new surroundings. Through visits to the most famous sights in the region, meeting and soc ialising with local people, cooking and language lessons, you will surely be introduced to the country’s culture, traditions, history and lifestyle.
An Example Schedule:
Arrival and settling into your new surroundings in Siem Reap.
• Excursion to Wat Thmey, a small pagoda. Wat Thmey is a Buddhist pagoda located in Siem Reap. The Wat Thmey Temple is a live monastery where a large Stupa memorial can be found. The stupa has glass sides filled with the skulls and bones of those who died during the Khmer Rouge. The Wat Thmei Temple is one of the terrible killing sites where hundreds of Cambodian civilians were tortured, killed and buried.
• Visit to the Museum of War dedicated to the Civil War, guided by ex-soldiers, each of whom has his own unique background: war veterans, eye witnesses of the war and landmine victims. They'll tell you about the last 3 decades of 20th century history in Cambodia, and also their own personal experiences.
The War Museum gives you a unique and insightful view of the perils that Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It has a unique collection: the tank T-54, the jet fighter aircraft MiG-19, the helicopter Mil Mi-8 and the field artillery gun 85-mm divisional gun D-44. Also many sorts of landmines and rare photographs of this period in Cambodia.
• Explore Artisant D’Angkor, a craft shop that brings ancient Khmer arts and crafts back to life. Artisans Angkor has become a real showcase of Khmer workmanship for its silk fabrics and garments, stone and wood carving, lacquer ware, polychrome products, silver plating and silk painting.
Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian social business which was originally created to revive Khmer cultural heritage while helping young rural people finding work near their home village.
Since its creation at the end of 1990s, Artisans Angkor has strived to provide professional skills to communities with limited educational opportunities and has offered good working conditions and social advantages to its employees. It has now opened 48 workshops in Siem Reap province and it provides employment to over 1100 people, including more than 800 artisans.
• You'll visit some markets and the Lucky Mall (supermarket). One of the markets is called "Old Market" and one is called "Lucky Mall". At Old Market you can buy some souvenirs and visit stalls where local people selling food.
• Evening at Pub Street and the night market. This is the liveliest area of Siem Reap! It is where all tourists gather at night time when visiting Siem Reap. You can have drinks and food, or buy some clothes or souvenirs from the night market.
• Excursion to a silk farm and West Baray, a popular place for swimming. Silk farm is very similar to Artisant DÁngkor but specifically focuses on making scarves and cloth from silk. You'll observe how they make it and get some information on the process.
West Baray is an old water reservoir built in the ancient time to reserve water for people to use for their agriculture work especially in the dry season. It's a very attractive place where locals and tourists love to swim and relax.
• Khmer massage salon: You'll get to experience a Khmer traditional massage after the program in Siem Reap. Lucky you!
• Breakfast, then depart for Samraong. On arrival, you'll have lunch.
• An Introduction to some of the Projects
For those planning to continue with a Volunteer Project after the Culture Week, this time will be used to discuss their projects. The coordinator will explain more about what is going on at the project site.
• A walk-around exploration of the local rural Cambodian village
Our Coordinator will walk with you through the village and to the market area to show you where to buy a local sim card, bank, ATM machine, minimart and laundry.
You'll be taken to the main school we work with in Samraong where you'll meet the students and play with them during break time.
After that you'll visit some villages around Samraong. This will give you insight into the local culture: you'll learn about the lifestyle of the people in the countryside and take part in some the daily work that the villagers to. You'll also have a meal with a local family.
• Visit the rural School which built from scratch over the years by previous volunteers on the Program.
• Tour around Samraong and a visit to some surrounding villages
• Khmer language lesson: You'll learn some basic words in Khmer, numbers, and the Khmer alphabet. You can then practice this Khmer lesson with the local people in the area, especially in the local market because the sellers don’t speak any English! The lesson will take about 1 hour.
• Cambodian Culture lesson:
• Cambodian Cooking lesson: This is a lot of fun! You'll learn to cook dishes such as Amok, soup with coconut milk, family soup (soup with mixed vegetables), and how to peel pineapple. You'll help from the beginning of cooking to the end and the food you cook will be served to other participants for dinner!
• Excursion to the local temple where you'll assist the monks with their chores. This will be followed by a discussion and Q&A about Buddhism with a local monk.
The temple is the biggest one in the area and there are about 60 monks living there. You can prepare any questions about Buddhism which you can ask them after you've beene shown around the temple. The monks don't speak English but our Coordinator will help translate.
• Free time all afternoon to relax.
• Departure and goodbyes. A sad time!!