Travelling by bicycle, cyclo or on foot for many of the excursions mean that environmental impact has been kept to a minimum – eg the afternoon cycle ride in Siem Reap and the cyclo tour of Phnom Penh.
You visit The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), which is a rescue center for wildlife, which includes a range of monkey species, pangolin, civets, leopard cats and a bear. You will spend around 90 minutes here learning about the work that they do.
The 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is an Eco-lodge which has been constructed using only environmentally friendly materials. The use of wood has been limited and modern composite materials have been integrated into the construction of the property as well as having its own waste water treatment systems. The lodge also employs people from the local communities and ensures that they receive full training in all aspects of the running of the lodge.
We encourage all our clients to take carbon reduction seriously and endorse Friends of Conservation’s 'Carbon Reduction Map' system, whereby you can easily calculate how much you should contribute for your flight. The suggested donation for a return flight to Vietnam is £15 per person. *
*The suggested amounts are in line with DEFRA’s current guidelines for the cost per tonne of carbon and are based on the approximate levels of CO2 emitted on an average flight. We are very grateful to TICOS, the Travel Industry Carbon Offsetting Service, for kindly providing this information.
On the ground in Cambodia we use a local, family-owned agent who demonstrates care for the environment, preservation of their culture and commitment to the community as well as providing employment opportunities for many local people throughout the country.
Angkor Wat is one of the very important world heritage sites in Southeast Asia but sadly much of the majestic complex is in a state of disrepair and ruin. The entrance fee, which is included in the cost of your trip, goes to the very much needed conservation, restoration and upkeep of the site.
The Shinta Mani Hotel in Siem Reap is a leader in responsible tourism through its not for profit Shinta Mani Foundation. This NGO focusses on the three core areas of education, small business start-ups and health care in order to improve the lives of individuals in the local communities. Supporting hotels such as this increases the amount of money brought in by tourists that will actually stay within the local community rather than leaving Cambodia and going to international companies.
In Siem Reap you will see Phare Circus in action. It is run by Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit Cambodian association working with vulnerable children and young adults to improve their lives through development and training in the performing arts, as well as social support and educational training. Phare Circus aims to impress audiences with skilled and artistic performances, whilst maintaining social and historical awareness through their storytelling.
Included in this itinerary are visits locally run NGO and charities:
- Artisans Angkor has developed from the ambitious belief that it is possible to revive ancient Khmer Arts & Crafts while improving the lives of thousands of people living in rural areas. Not only has Artisans Angkor become a company dedicated to the preservation of traditional Khmer skills in silk-making, stone and wood carving, lacquering, silverware and painting, but it is also an organization committed to promote the development of individuals and secure their future by the means of education and welfare. Today, their 1300 employees are proud to show that Cambodian handicraft is still alive and more creative than ever. By developing high quality products that express the dynamism of the Khmer culture, Artisans Angkor strives to be a timeless showcase for Cambodian crafts with pieces inspired by Angkor heritage as well as fashionable handmade clothing and decorative items that can suit contemporary lifestyles.
- For your sunset tour in Phnom Penh you will be guided by a driver from the Cyclo Centre, an NGO set up to support the drivers of these vehicles.
- For the Smile of a Child (PSE) Centre and school, provides education, but also excellent vocational training from silk weaving to gardening for children and young adults who have come from a life on the city's municipal dump at Stung Meanchey. You will be able to take a tour of the facilities and enjoy lunch here if you wish (not included). There is a small yet excellent training restaurant called Lotus Blanc (there are several other outlets also in Phnom Penh) for hospitality and catering students of PSE. It is worth stopping for a drink or a light lunch as all profits go straight back into the project.
- Kampot Traditional Music School where you can see young students learning to play traditional Khmer instruments. The school provides traditional Cambodian music and ballet lessons, as well as food and some clothing, vaccinations and items such as books, soap, toothbrushes, to about sixty-five children, who come during the daytime from local schools and outlying villages. Set in a beautiful temple-like structure, this is an inspiring rehearsal space. Donations are welcome and guests can leave a small contribution to assist in the rediscovery of traditional Khmer music.
We recommend buying crafts, home wares and gifts from selected organizations that we can suggest so you can help support local communities and their skills and you also know that your money is directly benefiting the local economy.
There are many wonderful restaurants that we have patronised during our visits to Cambodia and can recommend to you but they also benefit the community in numerous ways. One we recommend is Epic Arts Café in Kampot, which supports a number of projects for the disadvantaged communities in the area and is linked to the Music School that you visit. There are also many cafés and restaurants which are training schools; they offer scholarships to underprivileged young Cambodians, giving the training they need to join the hospitality industry helping them ensure a brighter future.
Reviews of Cambodia holiday, culture & coast
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 24 Feb 2012 by Pauline Sieler
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
There were many memorable moments but the temples were definitely a high point.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Definitely go for the option of having your own driver - makes everything much easier.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Yes as tourism is putting much needed money into Cambodia and local people were used by the company as guides etc.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?