“The Purpose & Philanthropy Field Trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia is one of the most cherished and memorable experiences of my life. What I appreciated the most about the trip was getting to see some of Siem Reaps local enterprises, witnessing the talent & skills, seeing what Cambodians can do when they are given the opportunity to shine while your tourist dollar contributes a great deal towards community projects. I am forever grateful for the friendly, heart-warming hospitality of the local people I got to meet along the way. Getting to know the culture, as well as both the ancient and modern history of Cambodia, gives me a deep and meaningful connection to Cambodia. The Purpose & Philanthropy Field Trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity, which is a highly recommended trip, especially for people passionate about making a difference & learning about a different culture.”– Ben Brown
Are you looking for a different type of trip? The one you come back from feeling educated while at the same time feeling like a mindful and ethical traveller? This ethical, inspiring, socially responsible tour with Human and Hope Association (HHA) to Siem Reap will see you form connections with local Khmers who have overcome adversity to move forward with their lives.
You will be immersed in the Cambodian culture and learn about the innovative approaches that NGOs and social enterprises are taking to overcome poverty and social issues. You will have the opportunity to see firsthand the impact that Human and Hope Association is making in the community, and you will join the local team for dinner, allowing you to share stories.
The purpose for this trip is to provide our travellers with an opportunity to see firsthand, the many ways in which philanthropy and NGOs make an impactful difference, and why they are still greatly needed throughout Cambodia. We hope to ignite our travellers’ passions and purpose!
Your host for this trip is Sally Hetherington OAM, who heads up Human and Hope Association Incorporated and is the author of ‘It’s Not About Me’. Sally lived in Siem Reap for five years and will offer a rare insight into Siem Reap.
So, to give you an overview of this trip, we have taken you through the fantastic itinerary of the 7-day tour from the 15th– 21st September 2019.
Accommodation in a boutique hotel, breakfast, dinner, transport and activities are included in the tour package.
We make our way to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and are hit by the heat once we step off onto the tarmac. It’s okay though, as there is excitement in the air of what will come.
We climb into a tuk-tuk and take in the sights of the busy streets as we head to our boutique hotel. Checking in, we head straight to the pool and have an afternoon of relaxation before our welcome dinner at the hotel.
Our heads hit our pillows early in anticipation of the beginning of the tour the next day. You will want to rest as much as possible!
After a good night’s rest and filling breakfast at the hotel, we head out for a walking tour of Siem Reap. We begin at Wat Damnak, the largest pagoda in Siem Reap that was formerly a palace for the King, then to a military base during the dark days of the Khmer Rouge. We stroll through the serene environment, learning the cultural and religious significance of stupas, the Monk’s quarters and the pagoda.
As soon as we step out of the pagoda compound, we are hit with the noise, sights and smells of Siem Reap.
Other highlights for the day:
- Old market –browse souvenirs, social enterprise shops and head into the food market where we will have a taste test of some popular Khmer food.
- Wat Preah Prom Rath –browse the intricate murals at this colourful pagoda founded in 1915
- Lunch at New Leaf Eatery –support this social enterprise that distributes the profits to their staff and the community
- Tour of Artisans Angkor workshop – during this guided tour we will witness the fine art of wood carving, painting and silk weaving
- Dinner at Haven – eat quality food whilst supporting the training of disadvantaged students
Today we are up bright and early as we head to Angkor Archaeological Park. We are led by a local guide whose passion for the history of his people and culture shines through. The peaceful environment isn’t what most people would expect when visiting a popular location like Angkor, but this isn’t your standard visit to the historic temples; you have the opportunity to visit four temples that most travellers don’t know about.
We head back into town, sweaty but satisfied, and have lunch at the hotel, followed by a quick rest or shower. It’s then time to get back into the tuk-tuk and take the 30-minute journey out to Human and Hope Association, the community centre each traveller has fundraised to support.
At HHA, you will learn about the programs and get an in-depth understanding of the organisation, as well as a pagoda visit! The night is followed by dinner at a local social enterprise called Spoons that trains disadvantaged youth in hospitality.
Today we experience a water hyacinth weaving workshop at Rokhak Women Handicraft. This is a great way to see how a lot of products are made in Cambodia, with the opportunity to have a go. Lunch will be at Footprint Cafe, which, of course, is a social enterprise.
The afternoon will be free for everyone to explore, this could include going to the Lotus Silk Farm, Phnom Kroam mountain temple and Wat Athvea. This will be up to the traveller!
We will finish off the day with dinner with the HHA team at 60 Road, a popular local hangout for Cambodians where there are rides, games and lots of local food. It is also very busy, but fun!
Another big day and more exploring of Siem Reap and the beautiful temples. Today is a guided tour of Ta Prohm, Bayon and Angkor, beautiful breathtaking temples where we will learn a lot about the history of these temples and Siem Reap!
For lunch, we will head to a social enterprise cafe called Sister Srey, and then the afternoon is free for exploring.
Then the evening will be concluded with a dinner and show at Phare the Cambodian Circus.
After spending the last few days tasting all the deliciously unique food Cambodia has to offer, it’s time to learn how to make our own. We walk to our cooking class, where we are introduced to the Khmer chef who tells us that today’s menu is rice paper rolls, fish amok and caramelised bananas.
Then the best part, eating the lunch that we cooked! The afternoon is free again, where we can go on an ethical shopping tour.
For our last night, we get treated to a seven-course degustation at Embassy restaurant for our farewell dinner!
We meet for breakfast at the hotel; our final meal. Reflecting on the journey, the travellers are grateful for everything they have experienced and say they will have a lifelong connection to Cambodia.
We say our goodbyes and head to the airport; sad to leave this friendly and heart-warming country, but appreciative for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Taking part in the Purpose and Philanthropy Field Trip was one of the most rewarding, enlightening and memorable experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have. Sally was an exceptional host/guide and her local knowledge of the area, as well the mutually respectful relationships she has with the Cambodian community, offered me a very rare and unique inside peek into a world I would otherwise not be privy to. Sally created an itinerary that steered us well clear of the usual tourist traps and opened my eyes to the real Siem Reap, and what a vibrant city it is! Visiting the various social enterprises and speaking with the locals who were doing remarkable things for their community was a real eye-opener and made me even more passionate to continue to spread awareness and advocate for local empowerment in Cambodia and the work of HHA. Our visit to HHA and meeting Thai, the Director, and his team was a fantastic experience. They are such a warm and generous team who are incredibly passionate about helping their community, and that passion was contagious. I came back from the trip even more in awe of what HHA does and highly recommend this opportunity to anyone who is lucky enough to be offered it.”– Georgia Harley