Oudong Mountain - Travel journal

Every time a customer books one of our holidays and opts in to our Trip for a Trip scheme, we organise a day trip for a disadvantaged young person somewhere around the world to see their local tourist sites, often for the first time.

Child and elephant carving
Our latest trip to Oudong Mountain - 13th September 2019
17 youths (4 female) from Mith Samlanh attended a day trip made possible by the support of Responsible Travel. The youths 12-24 years old were from Green house TH, student community vocational training. One of the youths said this about their day: "It was very exciting to see the mountain and the forest, the pond there had a lot of fish."
We have worked with our partner Friends-International to devise this trip for children who attend Mith Samlanh. Mith Samlanh work with disadvantaged communities to help with counselling and group discussions about important issues such as drugs prevention, violence in their community, reproductive health, and life skills education. When necessary, healthcare services are provided for them and their families, such as nurse consultations and referrals to health centres. Once a week some of the communities join Mith Samlanh for sports activities, and they now play as a football team and have joined local youth tournaments.

Oudong is a town at the base of Phnom Udong Mountain and was Cambodia's capital for more than 250 years, from 1618 until 1866. The mountain’s two hills are connected by a ridge and dotted with stupas and shrines dedicated to former kings. Chedi Mouk Pruhm is the burial site of King Monivong. The ruins of Arthross Temple house a large golden Buddha.

Ascending the stepsListening to the tour guide
Sample itinerary of an Oudong Mountain visit

What the children will do
8am: The children and young people will have breakfast at Mith Samlanh and travel about an hour to Kampong Speu province to visit the former capital of the Khmer empire, Oudong Mountain. On the way the children begin to feel the wonder of their journey – they learn about local life, observe new and interesting buildings and see Muslim villages.

9.30am: When they approach Oudong, the children's excitement increases as they see the beautiful mountain, big stupas and ancient temples. They climb the 509 steps up the mountain, challenging each other on the way. When they reach the top, they can see the impressive stupa up-close along with some of the other ancient temples. They feel the warm breeze and relax while looking at the greenery and beautiful scenery overlooking the surrounding villages.

10.30am: The children and young people learn from their guide about the history of Oudong. They learn about the various buildings and their uses, including royal family ceremonies, how the stupa styles differ according to which king built them and about the Buddhist ceremonies that are still held on the mountain, such as Pisak Bochea (an important Buddhist holiday which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of Siddharta Gautama Shakyamuni Buddha).

12pm-1.30pm: The children have a typical delicious lunch at a local restaurant nearby before they return back to Mith Samlanh.

Impact
This is a great opportunity for the children and young people to enjoy an excursion together outside of Phnom Penh. Some of the children have never left the city, so this trip through the countryside to Oudong is a particularly thrilling experience for them. Highlights for them usually include learning about their country’s history, climbing the steps to up the mountain to see the amazing view over the countryside, and having the chance to see incredible temples and stupas that they would otherwise never have the chance to see. They also enjoy the green spaces and fresh air and as soon as they return to Mith Samlanh they ask the social workers when the next trip will be!

Students by a temple
Students eating lunch
In their own words
"I was so happy to see the fresh landscape of the mountain with the old temple."

"I was surprised when I stood on the top of the mountain. I could see the palm trees, houses and farms. If I looked to the east I saw the sub-Tonlesap lake."

"I am so happy, because I now know about the history of Oudong mountain and the reign of each king."

"I was so proud during the visit. We had the guide to tell us about the history of each place."

"I am very happy because I had the chance to go for a walk with my friends by bus."

"I was very glad when I climbed the hill and could see the different temples with the beautiful landscape. "

From the Mith Samlanh social workers

"I was very happy to see the children and youth feeling excited."

"Seeing the children and youth learn about the history related to the Oudong Mountain makes me so happy."

"I was very glad to bring the children and youth to visit the Oudong Mountain, because they have never seen it before.

"I was so happy to see the students ask many questions related to the history of Oudong."
Other trips that we have run to Oudong Mountain:

Youths looking at the temples
23rd August 2019
Today 18 children and young adults aged 12-24 visited Oudong Mountain. The youths live in various marginalized communities in Phnom Penh, and take part in Mith Samlanh’s vocational training program. One of the youths said this about their day: "I now understand well about the history from the fine paintings depicting the history of this religion."
Children and youths in front of temple
25th July 2019
18 children and young adults aged 12-24 (12 female) visited Oudong Mountain. The youths live in various marginalized communities in Phnom Penh, and take part in Mith Samlanh’s vocational training program. One of the youths said this about their day: "I have learned a lot about the history of the mountain and why it is very attractive to the Cambodia people."
Youths at a temple
21st June 2019
On this day, 20 children and young adults aged 12-24 visited Oudong Mountain in Cambodia with non-profit organisation Mith Samlanh. The youths live in various marginalised communities in Phnom Penh such as Green House, and take vocational training and education with Mith Samlanh. One of the children said this about their day: "I am so happy to see the fresh landscape of the mountain with the old temple".
Group on temple steps
31st May 2019
Our first trip to Oudong Mountain took 20 children and youths (seven female) aged 12-24. The students were from marginalised communities in Phnom Penh and for most of them, this was their first visit to the site where they learned a lot about the history of the area. One of the children said this about their day: "I am so happy to have the opportunity to visit Oudong Mountain, which was the past city of Cambodia in the 17th century."
About our partner organisation
The Intrepid Foundation and Friends-International Partnership – Trip for a Trip

The Intrepid Foundation was set up to provide a way for travellers to give back to the places they’ve been through a range of projects and not-for-profit organisations. Since 2002, they’ve distributed over $6 million to more than 100 projects around the world.

Through a partnership with Friends-International established in 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has raised over AUD $185,000 to support at-risk youth in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Funds have helped provide young people with vocational skills training in tourism and hospitality.

In addition to raising funds for Friends-International through their travellers, they also provide support through travel experiences with Intrepid Travel. On certain tour itineraries, travellers have the chance to visit Friends International’s TREE restaurants (Training Restaurants for Employment and Entrepreneurship). These unique dining experiences provide a way for young trainees to practice their skills while also providing a sustainable income to the restaurants which operate as social enterprises.

Group with guideGroup on the steps
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