We all know that a sightseeing tour of Cambodia entails a visit Angkor Wat, and the so many temples until you get completely templed out and so many Wats to last you a lifetime.
Also, any “5 things to do in Cambodia” will talk about the 5 main points of attractions and may include Balloon rides and Helicopter Tours as well.
Wat What if you are on a extended trip like we were? I have compiled a few off beat stuff that you can do.
Volunteer : Most government schools will welcome a volunteer teacher, house builder, electrician, carpenter etc. Spend a few hours every week to help Cambodia, which is now struggling to be back on its own 14 million pairs of feet. Generally you can just walk in to a school and find out about these opportunities & availabilities but if you are like me then you can find something beforehand and finalize the dates and timings etc.
Well, if you are really interested, I can help you out in this.
Cello Concert at Children’s Hospital : The swiss pediatrician Dr. Beat Richner, adorns the nick name, BEATOCELLO. Why ? Because he plays the Cello!
The cellist pediatrician Dr. Beat Richner at his work.
During the peak tourist season the doctor performs free of cost, twice a week in the children’s hospital which this Swiss doctor has built and calls it Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital (part of the Jayavarma VII hospital complex). This is a unique way of raising funds for his Hospital, in the absence of government aid funding.. Let me tell you, he can play very well. It is definitely not a waste of time.
Khmer Dancing Performance : On everyone’s initial list is to see a professional dance performance but that may cost you money. Here, I am talking about Khmer dance performance by beautiful little children of ACODO. The performance is free but donation is welcome in cash or other stuff like toys, stationery etc.
Most of us don’t want the children to perform for fund raising, but then life is like that. In the absence of Government support and the paucity of NGO funding this is at least a decent way of raising funds. I shudder to think things could have been much worse.
Khmer cooking class : Well, if you are more than a tourist in Cambodia, you would definitely want to learn cooking some delicious Khmer cuisine.
Khmer cooking class in progress.
I liked some of their dishes and wanted to learn. Booked myself over a weekend and I had hands on experience. Not only the recipe, I also had insights about why a particular ingredient is used and related stories. 😀
West Baray – Cycling : The huge water reservoir built about 1000 years back is a marvel. You just try to visualize the technology available at that time, the sheer size of the reservoir about 8KM long and 3 KM wide and then wonder how they would have built it.
If you are upto it , you can have swim or go tubing or else do what we did.
Bicycle around the reservoir and see all those villages (north side of baray) and smaller temples scattered all around. These temples also belong to the same period as Angkor or even before.
If you want to travel with me to these places and more, you can join me on my Facebook travel page and check out my Twitter account.