I spent most of my Cambodia holiday in Siem Reap volunteering at Feeding Dreams Cambodia, a community school that provides free English lessons, community support and school meals to over 700 children from Siem Reap’s slums. It was a fantastic experience and I left with many new friends, hugs and best of all a sponsor family.
Feeding Dreams are currently building a bigger school and vocational training centre and are desperately seeking donations to help them finish the project. You can read more about the new school here. They’re doing some amazing work and making a real difference in the community.
Aside from helping with the kids with their ABC’s we still had plenty of time after school hours to explore the town.
Angkor Wat at sunrise is a must visit. Not only is it significantly cooler at dawn but the sun rising over the temple is breath-taking. We spent most of a day exploring Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples but you can spend as long or as little as you like. There are hundreds of temples in the national park but most visitors do a small or big loop of the main temples (we did the big loop in an exhausting day).
Another worthwhile day trip out of town is to Phnom Kulen, a sacred mountain to the Khmer people. We climbed up to see a 16th century statue of Buddha and then spent most of the afternoon cooling off in a waterfall. A word of warning – the little fish that nibble dead skin off your feet call the waterfall home. It’s a little creepy at first but you’ll leave with beautifully polished feet.
You can easily spend 3-4 days exploring Siem Reap and its surrounds. If you’re looking for delicious food training restaurants Haven and Sala Bai serve some of the best in town and you’re also contributing to a good cause. Happy belly + happy heart.
No matter where you eat make sure you try the fish amok and Khmer curry – they’re both coconut based curries and amazingly good. I was a tad obsessed with amok and ordered it nearly every day I was there.
At the end of my trip I left Cambodia with a heavy heart. Despite the hideous heat, continuous sweating and infrequent power supply by the time I stepped on the plane I was already planning my next trip back.