Angkor Wat - travel journal

Group in at Angkor Wat
On Thursday 25 May 2017, Kaliyan Mith Siem Reap (KMSR) took a group of 13 girls and seven boys aged between nine and 15 years old, on an excursion to Angkor Wat. Accompanied by three KMSR social workers, the tour was led by a guide from Buffalo Tours and funded by Responsible Travel.

All of the children attend non-formal education classes - 10 at the KMSR Drop in Centre and the other 10 at the KMSR centre in Taksen T’Bong. The non-formal education project offers remedial and support classes to enable children to reintegrate and remain in public school. KMSR teachers follow the national public school academic curriculum but use non-formal education methodologies (active learning pedagogy methods based on student-centered learning).

The Drop in Centre, located centrally in Siem Reap town, provides holistic social services to vulnerable urban children and youth, particularly targeting those living and/or working on the street. Taksen T’bong is a community about 4km from Siem Reap city centre. KMSR works with the community to provide outreach services (including life skills, medical check-ups, drug prevention and harm reduction, counselling, and referrals to vocational training or other services) and non-formal education classes.

Date: 25th May 2017

7.30am: The Buffalo Tours bus picked up half of the group in Taksen T’bong and headed off to the first stop – breakfast!

8am: The first stop was breakfast at KMSR’s training restaurant Nyam Nyam (Let’s Eat). The children from the Drop in Centre joined the rest of the group here (as the centre is upstairs from the restaurant). Nyam Nyam is a Khmer-style restaurant where the children enjoyed a traditional breakfast of pork and rice.

Nyam NyamBreakfast
8.30am: Angkor Wat Temple: After breakfast, the group got back on the bus and headed to Angkor Wat temple. Arriving at around 9am, the group spent the next couple of hours exploring the temple. The tour guide from Buffalo Tours, talked about the history of the temple, explaining who built the temples and why particular designs were used. The children were very excited to try the brand new ‘floating bridge’ to get to the temple, which had only opened that week. There were also plenty of opportunities for photos with friends.

11am: From Angkor Wat the group headed to the South Gate of Bayon Temple where they stopped for lunch (also provided by Nyam Nyam restaurant). Following a tiring morning sightseeing and a delicious lunch, the children had a 15 minute break to recover and prepare for their afternoon activities. After lunch and relaxation, the children participated in art activities where they drew pictures of what they had seen in the morning and also painted other pictures. The children then played some fun, team building games with their friends.

2pm: Elephant Terrace: The tour resumed at the Elephant Terrace, where the guide talked about the history of the terrace, who built it and why it was built.

2.30pm: Bayon Temple: The group then visited Bayon Temple, where the tour guide explained the stories depicted on the walls of the temple and explained what it was like living in Cambodia at that time. Once again there were plenty of opportunities for photos.

3.30pm: After an hour at Bayon Temple, the group left the temple complex and headed home to Taksen T’bong and the Drop in Centre.

Group at Angkor
Bayon Temple
Impact: The excursion was a great success and the children were very happy to have participated in this trip. Whilst many of them had visited Angkor Wat before, this was the first time they had visited with a tour guide, so were able to learn more about the history of Cambodia and the temples.

The outing was a good opportunity to acknowledge the children’s hard work and commitment to their non-formal education classes. It was great that the children got to share this experience with their friends, but also had the chance to make new friends.

The children said that some of the highlights from the day included visiting Angkor Wat, having their photo taken with an Apsara dancer, making new friends, seeing monkeys and trying the new ‘floating bridge’. Lots of photos were taken throughout the day and, as a memento, each child received a folder containing photos of them and their friends, their artwork and quotes about their experiences and feelings from the trip.

Quotes from the day
“Thank you for the opportunity to visit Angkor Wat (and the delicious breakfast and lunch).”

“I am happy that I now have more friends and that I got to take photos with them.”

“Visiting Angkor Wat was a special day for me.”

“At Angkor Wat I got to see an Apsara dancer and have my photo taken with her.”

“I was very excited to try the new floating bridge.”

“I really enjoyed learning about the history of Angkor Wat from the guide.”

“It was great that I got to see monkeys at Bayon Temple.”

“My breakfast was very delicious and I will tell my Mum that she can learn to cook there.”

“I am very happy that Kaliyan Mith helped me to meet my goal of visiting Angkor Wat with a tour guide.”
About our partner organisation: Friends International is an award-winning social enterprise founded in 1994 that saves lives and builds futures of the most marginalized children, youth, families and communities in Southeast Asia and around the world. It works to create a future where all children are safe from all forms of abuse, and become functional, productive citizens who contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world. Friends works in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand, and with 45 partners around the world, to provide comprehensive services to marginalized urban children, youth and their families. Since its inception, Friends has supported the education, well-being, and sustainable reintegration of more than 300,000 vulnerable children, youth and their families.

PlaytimeGroup on stepsTraditional costumeTour guide
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