Temple Renovation Volunteer in Cambodia
Several temples and structures in Cambodia are deemed to be amongst the most important relics of the Angkor period. During the Temple Conservation Banteay Chhmar Project you will assist local teams in their work to renovate and protect these artifacts.
Cambodia’s temples are the most important relics of the ancient Khmer period, as well as being amongst the world’s most important historical relics. Built by the powerful Khmer kingdom over several centuries, these incredible temples are of huge historical value and represent a symbolic goldmine for those interested in modern and traditional Cambodian culture.
The Commune of Banteay Chhmar is especially important simply because the massive temple, along with its satellite shrines and reservoir, is amongst the least understood archaeological complexes of Cambodia’s Angkor period. Indeed, the mystery of this location makes it one of the most famous historical sites in the world.
Besides the main temples, there are nine other smaller temples that are hidden in the nearby forest; these temples are almost entirely invisible thanks to the undergrowth, trees and bushes that have grown around them over the long years. For a number of reasons, there is a distinct lack of conservation from the local population, and there is also not nearly enough attention from external sources, despite the are being a huge tourist attraction for the province.
This program is important to the local economy, and could help to boost the levels of education, cultural exposure, as well as sustainable, site-friendly tourism. In all of these things, it is possible for the local communities to achieve a higher level of comfort, with better job prospects and income potential
This interesting and engaging project offers a range of positive impacts for the volunteer taking part, the community, as well as for future generations of historian and tourist.
Aims & Objectives
- Participate in the conservation and preservation local history and culture
- Create cultural exchange opportunities through our efforts with the locals
- Gain practical experience in conservation efforts abroad
Volunteers participating in this Temple Conservation program will meet up in Siem Reap before travelling by either bus or taxi to Banteay Chhmar. The journey will take about two and a half hours in total, but offers incredible views and opportunities for the volunteers to see the landscape that they will be staying in.
Upon arrival you will settle into your accommodation before enjoying dinner with the other volunteers and with local staff.
On the Monday morning you will meet up with your coordinator and with the other volunteers as you are introduced to Banteay Chhmar – during this time you will get the chance to explore the local area, and you will learn a little more about the tasks and activities you will be taking part in.
You will then explore the town and visit some of the nearby temples; you will have lunch at your accommodation before carrying on in the afternoon with a special visit. On Monday afternoon you will be taken to see Banteay Chhmar Temple, the largest in the region. On the way back you can stop at the local Handicraft Scarf Weaving Centre where you can see what’s available whilst meeting a few of the locals.
Tuesday to Friday
Between Tuesday and Friday you will get down to the real tasks. You will begin helping local teams in temples with renovation, preservation and protection work. Some of the tasks include: clearing the temple of overgrown foliage, cleaning the temples, removing dangerous obstacles, planting trees and flowers and making environmental signs.
You are free to spend the weekends as you please. Either stay at the homestay or visit the temples and local landmarks. It’s even possible to get transport to the local cities where you can take in modern, urban Cambodian culture.
*Please note that activities and schedules can change at any time based on local conditions and weather conditions *
Banteay Chhmar is a commune of the Thma Puok District in Banteay Meanchey province to the northwest of Cambodia. This commune contains 14 villages and there are 4 villages around the large temple of Banteay Chhmar (which translates as Small Base) with a total population of only 6000+ people.
Accommodation & Food
During your time in the program, you will stay at the homestay in the village. The accommodation is an original wooden Khmer-style house. Please note that the toilets are squatting toilets (proven to be a healthier alternative!). This is traditional Cambodian living!
Basic, home cooked, local style dishes can be expected for all your daily meals.
Three meals on weekdays, Two on weekends
This is a remote area of Cambodia and you will not find ATMs, so please make sure you have enough money with you, although you will not need much during your stay here.
Sights & Surroundings
Explore the massive temple of Banteay Chhmar, along with its satellite shrines and reservoir (baray), comprises one of the most important and least understood archaeological complexes from Cambodia’s Angkor period.
There are nine other, smaller temples around the Banteay Chhmar temple. They all are mostly hidden in the forest and covered with small bushes and trees because of the lack of conservation from the local people and authorities.
Trip Country Info
Capital: Phnom Penh
Currency: Riel (KHR)
Time zone: UTC +7
Once known as the Khmer empire, Cambodia is perhaps best known for its monumental temples, especially that of Angkor Wat – finalist in the election of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2006. It is without doubt a country of incredible beauty, scattered with these temples, fertile rice fields and a rich and interesting history. For this reason it is unsurprising that Cambodia has taken a firm place on the tourist map. Having been a protectorate of France for almost 100 years, the country gained its independence in 1953. Following this however, Cambodia experienced years of civil war, turmoil and political corruption, as well as suffering from its involvement in the Vietnam war.
Despite holding this dark history, Cambodia really is an extraordinary country and has prevailed due to what has been described as the unbreakable spirit of the Cambodian people. The people here are known for their friendliness and their smiles.
Gap year travel to Cambodia is on the rise as more and more people discover its culture, traditions and historic treasures. A relatively unexplored country compared to its neighbours, Cambodia opened up for tourism very recently.Troubled by extreme poverty, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with over 75% of the population living on less than 2 USD a day. Things such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education are lacking in quality and are often not available to their fullest extent.
With a wide range of volunteering opportunities, Tru Experience wants to help you find the volunteer experience that’s perfect for you whether you are looking to work & travel in Cambodia or go on a road trip across the country. By visiting Cambodia, you can find yourself in a world where you can help those less fortunate than yourself while exploring the many cultural treasures of the nation and getting to know the people in a way that can’t be compared. If you are looking for a gap year holiday in Cambodia, a road trip, conservation work, teaching, community work or other work & travel in Cambodia have a look at our latest experiences below.