How to Work, Stay and Play in Cambodia

With voluntourism opportunities galore, cultural experiences and plenty to see and do, find out how to work, stay and play in Cambodia.

Young woman traveler visiting in ta prohm temple at Angkor Wat complex Photo © Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cambodia sits between Vietnam and Thailand, and is often overlooked by travelers. With its deep history and unique locations, Cambodia offers more than what you see on at a glance. Possible activities range from cycling, exploring the culture, relaxing at the beaches, and trying underrated Cambodian dishes. 

Work

Before going to any country, remember to plan ahead for visa requirements. Cambodia allows travelers to apply for a visa online. A tourist visa allows up to a one-month stay. Other options are business or diplomatic visas which allows up to a three-month stay. Contact the nearest Cambodian Embassy for more options. 

The most rewarding job for foreigners is teaching English especially if you are new to the culture and to the country. There are various programs for teaching in Cambodia but usually for every job a TEFL TESOL certification is required. Before you arrive at Cambodia, you can also look into local NGO’s and international volunteer organizations in Cambodia that are looking for volunteers.  

Breakfast in Phnom Penh. Photo credit: xtinamilan

Play

The two most visited cities in Cambodia are Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Everyone talks about the Angkor Wat Temple before and after they visit Siem Reap. This temple is a must-see especially with its beautiful views and historical value.

Gondola boats are good ways of relaxing a bit before heading to the next stop.  Siem Reap also has businesses that offer automobiles so tourists can drive through their desired visits in the countryside and wildlife. Don’t forget to stop by the Old Market in Siem Reap for a full experience of Cambodian life. From Siem Reap you can take another boat up down to the capital, Phnom Penh. 

Phnom Penh is the home of the killing fields and the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum which can be sensitive and shocking areas but both are good for people to learn about the hardships that the Cambodian people have gone through. In Phnom Penh, cyclo centres which are inexpensive methods of transportation also offer quick tours. Lastly, to relax, go down to the city of Sihanoukville to take various boats that take you to Koh Rong for the nice beaches. 

Stay

There are a lot of hotels in Cambodia but if you are looking into studying abroad through a program you can also stay with host families. Cambodia has a wide variety of living areas such as top-notch hotels or more affordable hostels. The top cities to stay at are Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Battambang. Siem Reap and Battambang are at the north of the country while Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh are at the south.

Compared to Battmabang and Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh can be more lively at night. Phnom Penh is the largest city in Cambodia and also has the largest population so if you are looking for somewhere urban Siem Reap and Phnom Penh would be better places to stay. In general there is a bit of rainy weather starting the month of April.

About the Author

Ingrid Chang has traveled to Asia multiple times and is a fan of traveling abroad. Go Overseas lists every volunteer, study, teach and intern abroad program in the world, with alumni Yelp style ratings, reviews and more. Check out the Teach Abroad section of Go Overseas, Go Overseas on Facebook, and follow @Goteachabroad on Twitter.

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