Angkor Wat - travel journal

Tour group in front of Angkor Wat
On Thursday 20 July 2017, Kaliyan Mith Siem Reap (KMSR) took a group of 20 (12 female) children, aged between 8-12 years, on an excursion to Angkor Wat. Accompanied by KMSR social workers, the tour was led by a guide from Buffalo Tours and funded by Responsible Travel.

The children were from Chong Kneas, a community near the Tonle Sap lake, about 15km from Siem Reap town. Chong Kneas is made up of seven fishing villages, with approximately 700 families in total. A number of issues can be observed in this community including poverty, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, school dropout, seasonal work and land issues.

KMSR began outreach work in Chong Kneas in March 2012. Based on the high needs of the community, support was extended to include school reintegration, non-formal education, case management and income generation support. In July 2013, KMSR established a weekly alcohol support group and in January 2014 we opened an office to deal with the increasing amount of work in Chong Kneas. In 2016, we supported around 130 children and youth and 90 care givers in Chong Kneas. A lot of children in Chong Kneas, do not have many opportunities to leave their village. Even though it is only about 30km from the Angkor Wat temples, many of the children have never visited this historic site before.

Date: 20th July 2017

7.30am: The Buffalo Tours bus picked up the group in Chong Kneas and headed off to the first stop – breakfast!

8am: Breakfast was at KMSR’s training restaurant Nyam Nyam (Let’s Eat), where the children enjoyed a traditional breakfast of pork and rice.

8.45am: Angkor Wat Temple: After breakfast, the group headed to Angkor Wat temple. Arriving at around 9.30am, the group spent the next couple of hours exploring the temple. The tour guide from Buffalo Tours, talked about the history of the temple, explaining who built the temples and why particular designs were used.

11:30am: After two hours of sightseeing, the group found a quiet spot close to the Ghost Gate of Bayon Temple where they stopped for lunch (also provided by Nyam Nyam restaurant). Following a tiring morning sightseeing and a delicious lunch, one of the KMSR staff led a 15 minute yoga relaxation session so the children could recover and prepare for their afternoon activities. After lunch and relaxation, the children participated in art activities where they drew pictures of what they had seen in the morning and also painted other pictures. The children then played some fun, team building games with their friends.

1:30pm: Bayon Temple: The tour resumed at Bayon Temple, where the tour guide explained the stories depicted on the walls of the temple and explained what it was like living in Cambodia at that time.

2.30pm: Ta Prom Temple: Next stop was Ta Prom Temple, where the children spent about an hour exploring the temple and taking lots of photos at the famous temples being overgrown by trees.

3.30pm: After a busy day sightseeing, the group left the temple complex and headed home to Chong Kneas.

Impact: The excursion was a great success and the children were very happy to have participated in this trip. As the children are from outside of Siem Reap town, many of them have never visited Angkor Wat before, so this was the first time they have seen the temples.

The outing was a good opportunity for the children to learn more about the history of Cambodia and share this experience with their friends. The children said that some of the highlights from the day included the delicious breakfast, visiting Angkor Wat, seeing horses, monkeys and elephants and taking lots of photos. Each child received a folder containing photos of them and their friends, their art work and quotes about their experiences and feelings from the trip.

Quotes from the day
"I’m so happy to go on this trip with teachers and a guide to visit Angkor Wat and other temples"

"I really enjoyed the delicious breakfast at Nyam Nyam restaurant near the Siem Reap River"

"The guide was so nice and friendly with us. He told us a lot about the history of Angkor"

"We were so surprised when we arrived in front of Angkor Wat because we have never seen it before"

"It was interesting to hear the guide tell us about the stories on the walls of Angkor and Bayon, and we took lots of photos"

"After lunch we had recreational activities, did yoga and played fun games” “It was great to see the horses, elephants and monkeys"

"We would like to say thanks to the donors who supported our visit and we hope to have this trip again"
About our partner organisation: Friends International is an award-winning social enterprise founded in 1994 that saves lives and builds futures of the most marginalized children, youth, families and communities in Southeast Asia and around the world. It works to create a future where all children are safe from all forms of abuse, and become functional, productive citizens who contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world. Friends works in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand, and with 45 partners around the world, to provide comprehensive services to marginalized urban children, youth and their families. Since its inception, Friends has supported the education, well-being, and sustainable reintegration of more than 300,000 vulnerable children, youth and their families.

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