Why not visit Cambodia and make a direct difference to the local economy?
Stay at a locally owned guesthouse, shop at local markets for fresh produce and eat in some of the restaurants run as social enterprises.
Whilst Parisians were busy building and musing over the Notre Dame, the Angkorian Temples were being built for a kingdom of more than one million people, when London had a population of just 30,000.
With a wealth of turbulent history ultimately resulting in defeat, the temples were left to the wilds and forgotten until French explorer, Henri Mouhot, tumbled across them in the late 19th Century. Since then they have seen a steady increase of visitors who marvel at their sheer size, architectural feat, forgotten existence and religious significance.
Steeped in Khmer culture and tradition, home of the UNESCO registered Angkor Wat Archaeological site, warm seas, relaxing beaches and dark history, Cambodia offers a unique travel experience, all in one country. Although, typically, tourists head to see the incredible, awe inspiring Angkor Wat, there is much more to see and do.
… and don’t forget be a Responsible Tourist and don’t just leave footprints
- Leave behind old clothes that are weighing you down – these can be left at many guest houses in Siem Reap
- Leave books and pens, bought locally, for school children, toothbrushes or simple hygiene products, brought locally, for street kid projects or orphanages – these can be left at ConCERT
- Leave money in the local economy by purchasing locally produced handicrafts, stay at locally owned guest houses and hotels or eat at a locally owned restaurant
- Check out these social enterprises who are ensuring the tourism dollar goes further The Soria Moria Hotel, Haven Restaurant, Marum Restaurant, Sister Srey Café, NewLeaf Book Café, Sala Bai hotel & Restaurant School and Paul Dubrule Hotel School
- Leave smiles and jovial conversation for the street children and beggars, money only convinces them to stay on the street
- Leave more water for the locals, it is in short supply
- Visit the Angkor Hospital for Children Visitors Centre and help in other ways like donating much needed blood or supplies like caffeine tablets.
- Think twice about volunteering
- Leave with good memories and intentions to give something back
Before leaving home read up on Cambodia’s shocking past and be prepared to understand the Cambodians of today. Despite a rise in tourism, Cambodia remains one of the least developed countries in the world in terms of economy, access to food, health and education. Stark poverty is evident throughout the country and the gateway to the temples, and its host tourist town Siem Reap, is no exception. It is estimated 47% of households in Siem Reap are living below the provincial poverty line according to food security statistics presented by the Royal Cambodian Government.