Cambodia Gap Adventure

Cambodia Gap Adventure

Immerse yourself in Cambodian culture, educate young children and go diving with seahorses

At a glance

  • Explore the ancient Khmer culture and learn about the country’s history for one week
  • Work with children in a kindergarten to improve their educational development and improve the learning environment through renovation work for four weeks
  • Achieve your PADI Open Water Course and afterwards perform marine surveys of sea horses to improve their environmental protection in Koh Sdach for 3 weeks
  • Weekend trip options to visit the popular tourist attraction including Angkor Wat, Royal Palace, S21 Museum, The Killing Fields, and much more!
  • Seize the opportunity to explore Cambodia in this unique Gap Adventure alongside other gap year students!

Start Dates: 

Fixed dates throughout the year

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Eight Weeks


Anyone aged 18 or over can join

Is this Cambodia Gap Adventure right for me?

If you’re on your gap year, then this is the perfect mix of culture, people and nature to make it a very special and memorable gap year. You’ll start the trip by immersing yourself amongst the Khmer people and understanding their history and culture.

Then you’ll have the most rewarding experience of working with young children in a kindergarten to enhance their education development and have fun with them.

To finish off the trip, you get to go to the idyllic Koh Sdach island where you can learn to dive, explore marine wildlife and hang out by the beach with your fellow gap volunteers. It really is the ultimate Cambodia gap year experience!

A group of volunteers on a Cambodia Gap Adventure

Here's an overview of what you'll get up to:

Khmer Cultural project

During this cultural immersion project, you’ll get to experience multiple aspects of Khmer culture, while learning about Cambodian history at the same time. Here are a few of the things you’ll get involved in:

  • Find out more about Cambodia’s history and the heartbreaking details of the Khmer Rouge era
  • Learn about the Khmer culture through cooking classes, puppet-making classes, dance classes and more
  • Spend a few days helping out and learning about the Khmer culture in a traditional, rural village
  • Explore the many cities of Cambodia and the unique qualities they each offer
  • Learn some useful Khmer words and phrases from the locals living in Cambodia

Childcare project

At the Childcare Project in Cambodia, your work focuses on the children and their development. Many of the children we support come from underprivileged backgrounds. Our goal is to give them the same opportunities as other children around the world. Here are a few of the things you will be helping with:

  • Organise educational activities
  • Hygiene and health initiatives
  • Support local staff

Diving & Marine Conservation project

As a volunteer on the Diving & Marine Conservation Project in Cambodia, you will contribute to the protection of marine wildlife. The main threat to the marine environment in Cambodia is the lack of regulation and awareness in the fishing industry, which leads to overfishing and destructive fishing practices. You’ll get involved with: 

  • Marine diving surveys, composition and health of the coral reef, seahorse identification and behaviour, and habitat and mapping surveys.
  • Salvage diving in order to collect debris from the ocean
  • Waste management plan: this includes beach clean-ups, dives against debris, and educating locals about recycling and disposing of waste responsibly

Can’t dive yet? Don’t worry, you get to complete the PADI Open Water qualification in the first week and this qualification is included in the price!

Where will I work?

Phnom Penh

Your group will work at a kindergarten for children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. The kindergartens we work with are in rural areas, where most families are severely disadvantaged. Most importantly, these kindergartens give children a safe space to learn and develop. The work on the Khmer project is also based in Phnom Penh.

Koh Sdach

Your group will be based in Koh Sdach for the Diving & Marine Conservation work. Also known as King Island, Koh Sdach is located in the Gulf of Thailand. Around 1.5 km off the coast of Botum Sakor national park and it belongs to a small archipelago of 12 islands. It is an idyllic island and a must for any gap year trip to Cambodia. Koh Sdach is a fishing community and roughly 70 % of the working population are fishermen. It’s clear blue waters offer the perfect conditions for diving and also relaxing by the beach.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Cambodia Arrival Procedures page.

What are the aims and impact of this trip?

The aim of this trip is to improve early childhood development in a kindergarten in Phnom Penh and to help threatened marine life off the island of Koh Sdach.

Cambodia has a low level of education and many care centres are underfunded. Many families also cannot afford to send their children to daycare centres and kindergartens while they are at work.

As a volunteer with children in Cambodia, you’ll work towards the following goals laid out in our Childcare Management Plan:

  • Promote early childhood development
  • Improve the quality of life for those living with disabilities
  • Increase English
  • Improve hygiene levels of the children
  • Improve the level of stimulation of each child

On our diving project you will work with our passionate local conservation team to collect data during dives which is with local authorities in the hope of using the information to make positive change.

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in Phnom Penh. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.

On Koh Sdach you'll stay in shared accommodation in the heart of this tiny island community.  You'll wake up each morning to the sights of a beautiful sunrise over the nearby ocean.

The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Explore Cambodia and you will be amazed by the juxtaposition of vibrant cities, achingly beautiful scenery, and famous historical landmarks. This country has a lot to offer during your free time.

The world-famous gathering of temples near Siem Reap is a must for all visitors, especially the magnificent Angkor Wat. Climbing over huge tree roots to temple doorways shrouded by vines is guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you!

However, Cambodia offers far more than ancient temples. You can go trekking in the jungles or try snorkelling and dolphin-spotting in the seas surrounding Sihanoukville. For a more relaxed afternoon, you can spend time on one of the beautiful beaches.

What’s more, with a network of international volunteers in Cambodia with you, you can decide if you want to spend your free time exploring independently or in a group. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay $495, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 08 7130 3970 to see if we can offer a discount.

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