Rustic Pathways | Cambodia
96% Rating
(20 Reviews)

Rustic Pathways | Cambodia

Join Rustic Pathways in Cambodia and experience the stunning beauty of the country and it’s warm and welcoming people. Our Country Director and incredible team of local staff have developed unique, culturally immersive programs, including long-term service initiatives designed in partnership with local communities and nongovernmental organizations. All programs visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, a stunning sight even for travel veterans. These adventures are not only educational but highly involved, and will open your eyes to the complex beauty of Cambodia.

“Cambodia is an enthralling country that expanded my thoughts on human strength and suffering. I learned about the history and people of a whole new country. I also got to engage with a community vastly different from my own, and for that, I believe I am a more understanding and compassionate person.”
--Pascale Bronder, Cambodia Alum ‘12

Locations
Asia » Cambodia
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
Language
English
Housing
Guesthouse
Hostel
Hotel
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Cost does not include international airfare.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    93%
  • Support
    98%
  • Fun
    97%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    98%

Program Reviews (20)

Default avatar
Veronica
Female
16 years old
Los Angeles, CA
Other

Snapshots of Southeast Asia

9/10

People always discuss culture shock as a noticeable part of their experience when traveling to foreign countries. However, the more impactful experience that I felt was the reverse culture shock that unexpectedly hit me when I returned to Los Angeles. I began to see the people I know, my regular hangout spots, and my life in a new light after the most transformative adventure in Southeast Asia. The journey I underwent with Rustic Pathways is something I will never forget and has changed me forever due to the skills I learned, the exotic cultures I was introduced to, the life-changing people I met, and the perspectives I gained as a result. This trip is focused on photography and, as an extension, photojournalism. Not only did I learn how to properly use a camera but I was taught the meaning of the difference between a "tourist" and a "traveler" and how to be a respectful photographer when you want to capture the sincerity of another culture and make connections with locals, but you don't speak their language. Along with those tangible skills, the edification I received as I talked to locals of each village we went to and heard their stories, improved me as a person because I gained perspective as they taught me (whether intentionally or not) the importance of life and appreciating all people. That's why, when I returned to Los Angeles and I saw the lifestyle of the world around me, I began to think about Eng, a 59 year old woman who has been making clay pots all day everyday since she was 13 who we met when visiting her village. She accepted us with excitement and guided me as she attempted to teach me her trade of clay pot-making (which is quite difficult). I still think about her and the other encounters I had with strangers who are always going to be in my memory, the skills I learned from the talented and genuine program leaders, and the beauty of Southeast Asia. For these reasons I implore you to take this journey with Rustic Pathways.

How can this program be improved?

Never underestimate the toll that traveling can take on your body and mind. This program was jam-packed with incredible activities in each moment of every day, coupled with constant traveling by boat, van, and plane. The two other girls and I were utterly exhausted by the end of the day, so although every moment of our journey was quite fulfilling, sometimes it was hard to appreciate because we were so tired. This issue could be aided by more frequent rest moments and perhaps less traveling each day. Overall, this is a minute issue and gives you a good excuse to drink lots of their delicious coffee.

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Sarah
Female
16 years old
New York
Other

Floating Village Service

10/10

Going to Cambodia with Rustic Pathways has been one of the most eye-opening and valuable experiences of my life. I, along with the amazing program leaders and friends that I made on this trip, got to experience many sides of Cambodia. We began our trip by learning about the unique culture that the country has, and then we got to see it first-hand in the various cities we visited and during the homestay. Our homestay took place on a floating village on the Tonle Sap River, and it was an experience that I will never forget. This part of the trip felt the most "rustic" as we slept in mosquito nets in small floating houses with limited electricity and no running water. Despite this contrast from the lifestyle that I am used to, there was never a time that I felt uncomfortable during the homestay. We got used to bucket showers and holes in the ground for toilets. When we weren't at the floating village, our group enjoyed hotels with AC and visited various important sites such as Angkor Wat and the S-21 museum. Overall, this trip was an enduring adventure filled with amazing people and experiences that I will not forget.

How can this program be improved?

Although this trip was nearly perfect, being able to spend more time with the locals during the homestay would be an improvement.

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Isabelle
Female
17 years old
Dana point, ca
Other

Off the map cambodia

10/10

Off the map was an exciting lively program, there was never a dull moment of the trip and all the leaders that work for rustic are absolutely amazing, this was my 7th trip with rustic (hopefully that says a lot about how I feel about rustic) and everytime I expect the best and I get it. Rustic pathways puts so much time and effort into every program not one is lacking. Off the map concludes in the floating villages which is a beautiful village that Is literally floating on tonle sap lake, I've been there twice now and it just keeps getting better.

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Hannah
Female
15 years old
Westhampton New York
Other

Floating Village Service

10/10

This trip is one of the most underrated trips Rustic offers. Cambodia is a country just people overlook, and do not really care about. This trip opened my eyes to a country I never really knew about. Everything about their history is facinating, and the things you do, and the sights you see are things everyperson should see. Completing this trip, you get to stay in hotels with AC which is nice, but you also get Rustic and live like a local and use a squattie pottie. It is the perfect combination. All of the food you eat is amazing, and all of the people who sign up for the trip want to be their, not just because their parents forced them to come. I 100% recommed this trip to everyperson in the whole wide world because it has changed me as a person, in every way shape and form, and has opened up my eyes to a country that will always be in my heart.

How can this program be improved?

More time with children

Default avatar
Catherine
Female
16 years old
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Other

Review: Off the Map Cambodia

10/10

After doing five Rustic programs, I can confidently say that Off the Map Cambodia, which I did this summer, was my favorite. This trip is a three week service oriented trip that does a fantastic job of providing students with a full view of Cambodia. We got the opportunity to do two village homestays, one of which was in a rural village on land and the other of which was in a floating village. These two portions of the trip were my favorites because we not only got to form a complete picture of what life in Cambodia is like, but we also got to partake in extremely meaningful, intense service projects. Another aspect of the trip was the time in the more developed cities of Cambodia, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. These were also great legs of the trip because they satisfied our interests as tourists to see the major landmarks of the country. Personally, I felt that this trip gave the perfect balance between travel/sight seeing and service/cultural immersion. I got to experience everything from swimming under monstrous waterfalls and touring magnificent temples to eating tarantulas and using a bucket shower each day. By the end of the three weeks, I had made lifelong friends of my peer students as well as my local and international leaders. Not only did I have the best three weeks of my life, but I grew tremendously as a person. I learned so much about myself physically, mentally, and socially by pushing my boundaries and challenging myself in ways that I could never get at home. Not to mention, I made lifetime memories and learned so many things that I never would have known had Rustic Pathways not given me this opportunity to travel.

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Nicole
Female
16 years old
United States
Other

Floating Village Service

10/10

The Floating Village Service in Cambodia was the most unique and interesting experience. While there we got to experience a range of activities, from visiting world-renowned sites to interacting with the locals. Some of my favorite things that we got to do was visiting and swimming in a waterfall in Siem Reap, building a house for an 83-year old woman, and just bonding with all the people on my trip. From the leaders, to the people, to the amazing place, I cannot recommend this program more.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that I would recommend is that there was a bit more interaction with the children in the villages. All the locals we met were absolutely amazing and so welcoming and it would be so fun if we could see them more.

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Jaden
Male
15 years old
Florida
Other

Incredible experience in the Floating Villages!

10/10

I spent five weeks with Rustic in SE Asia this summer (Floating Village Service was my last program of the season), and the experience has tremendously impacted my life in the most positive way imaginable. Rustic Pathways has an incomparable amount of unique connections throughout the region, and staying in a floating village along the Tonle Sap River is definitely one of them.

From learning about the tragedies of the Khmer Rouge to building a floating house for a family in need, I was lucky enough to have experienced the unparalleled culture of Cambodia. This program was a great, balanced mix of city life and village life. My group and I spent a few days exploring Phnom Penh and Battambang before heading to two floating villages (primarily Prek Toal) for about a week. We slept on thin mattresses with mosquito nets, and we went to sleep sweating because it was so hot! And I loved every second of it! The final few days were spent in a really nice hotel in Siem Reap. We explored Angkor Wat, markets, and museums there.

Completing service and living in a floating village really opened my eyes, and made me even more grateful for the privileges I have. All three of my leaders were caring, kind, hilarious, and fun. At one point during my trip, I got sick with tonsillitis, but my leaders took me to the clinic and encouraged me to stay positive so I could continue to have the time of my life (and I did, many thanks to them!). There was a total of seven students on the trip (five girls and two boys), and we all bonded really quickly. Everyone on the trip was so interesting and fun, and even after arriving home from the trip, we've kept in touch.

By the end of your program, two weeks will have felt like one day! Prepare for an unforgettable experience.

How can this program be improved?

Nothing, it was incredible!

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Kylie
Female
18 years old
Pennsylvania, USA
Arcadia University

Rustic is more than Travel (Off the map: Cambodia)

10/10

Rustic Pathways is Truly amazing. I traveled with a different program to South Africa last year and it was not nearly this life changing. This year i traveled to Cambodia with Rustic pathways on the Off the Map: Cambodia program. On our trip there was 17 students(sold out) 13 girls and 4 boys. From the very beginning our leaders were amazing, they both knew so much about the world and had so many experiences and lessons that i learned so much from. I could not say any more wonderful things about my one leader she literally changed my perspective so much i cant even explain it and I've only been home for 2 days. During the program we went to a lot of the country where we stayed in nice hotels for a day or two to see the temples and museums then for most of the trip we were out in the villages in home stays. That was the most trans-formative part of the trip. I already knew that people didn't have a lot there but i learned so much more that is just indescribable through my peers, our leaders, and the community. Then we went to a few more schools to do some service work and fix up their grounds. Then we went to the elephant valley project which get elephants from their abusive environment either from riding them in tourism, or working in an industry like logging. Then they are brought to the valley of Mondulkuri in the mountains of Cambodia. It was absolutely beautiful and lush but full of a lot of bugs which is just part of the experience. We also went to a lot of waterfalls in between this. Now the drives to these places are long but so worth it. This is because you get to know your peers and leaders so much better and you got to go to so many different places in Cambodia in 25 days. I learned so much from my peers and that was part of the wonderful experience. The food was always great no matter if it was traditional Khmer food or a western or Indian restaurant. Usually by the end of the day everyone was so full we couldn't even eat dinner. Also during the home stays we had our own cooks so the food was always good and safe. At the end of the program we went to the floating villages and built a house there, that was floating! That was my favorite service project and home stay. This was because it was so unique. Then we went to Angkor Wat which was just as great as the pictures. We went to 3 different temples and it was very interesting to learn about it and we got to see many wild monkeys. I don't have enough words to describe my wonderful experience and how much it has changed me. I encourage you to go on this trip or any trip with Rustic because we do so many things that help other people and ultimately help ourselves in the process. Thank you Rustic!

How can this program be improved?

Nothing could have been better it was all amazing!

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Michelle
Female
49 years old
Palo Alto, California
University of Oxford

Interesting, and safe, but missed opportunities

8/10

I'm writing as a parent. My daughter just completed the Floating Villages trip to Cambodia. This was her second trip with Rustic Pathways. She enjoyed it, though not quite as much as the trip to Tanzania. It wasn't as "rustic", with a lot more hotel stays and general tourism. She knew that would be the case before going. In the event, she was disappointed that the group didn't take more advantage of the opportunities to visit museums and sights. She says they spent just 1.5 hours at Angkor Wat because the majority of the group wanted to go back to the hotel "to rest" (aka play with their phones), and this happened several times. The group leaders needed to be more forceful about saying "you have this amazing opportunity, you can rest any time" and actually leading them. Her impression is that most of the kids had been sent by their parents - whereas she had actually selected the trip - and that made them less enthusiastic travelers. She doesn't plan to take another trip with Rustic, though she thinks our middle school daughter would get something out of it.

How can this program be improved?

Make sure the participants actually want to be there. Don't be so wimpy about the activity timetable. Less time in hotels. Fewer connecting flights on the trip out so the travel doesn't take two days!

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Izzy
Female
19 years old
Seattle

Best experiance of my life

10/10

I went on this trip thinking i was going to help others but when i got there i realized i was also helping myself, I helped out in schools and built a home for a struggling family while at the same time i made friends that will last a life time, i clicked with the people on my trip faster than my friends at home because the people on my trip where more like me. This program is definatley something everyone should do, i came home wiser and more aware of my surroundings while knowing i helped Cambodian people. Im definalty going on another rustic trip next year -Izzy

How can this program be improved?

When you fly home the LAX kids and JFK kids are seperated in singapore, we only had 3 minutes to say goodbye, it wasnt long enough.

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Julia
Female
19 years old
Boulder, Colorado

Floating Village Project

10/10

Cambodia is one of the most interesting and beautiful places I've ever been to. Siem Reap is a great city and Angkor Wat was amazing. But the best part about my trip was getting to stay in the floating villages and stay on a boat. The people are so welcoming and the kids are so friendly. The way of life in this village is drastically different than anything I've ever seen before. All of the houses are completely floating and move in location year round due to water levels. They keep crocodiles in farms, and go out on their boats every morning to fish. This experience was unforgettable, because I never expected to see anything like that in my life. I made good friends from America and across the world on this crazy adventure that i will never forget.

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qwerty
Female
19 years old
Los Angeles

Off The Map: Cambodia

7/10

I thought that the trip overall was amazing. I got to experience completely new and unexpected things, ranging from riding an elephant through the jungle, to getting a fish massage in Siem Riep. The only issue I had was the social aspect of it. The group was larger than usual, so there were lots of kids... meaning 2 giant groups with subcliques. But if you're reading this and thinking, 'ooh i better not do this program then', then please consider the fact that every group is different and I may have just gotten a bad combination of kids. Plus, the staff definitely tried their hardest to bond us with games in the first few days. But the trip itself was an experience that I am so grateful to have had, and I did meet a lot of wonderful staff members and friends that will last a lifetime!! Thank you Rustic!!!

How can this program be improved?

Not as many people!

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Zia
Female
24 years old
Amherst, Ma
University of Massachusetts- Amherst

Great Time

10/10

This is a trip to always remember. I have always been intrigued by Cambodian history, and actually visiting all the places (S-21, Angkor Wat) was amazing. Not only that, but we got to do a home stay in a village which was incredible; we got to have a traditional Cambodian meal with the locals, while walking around their village. It was absolutely wonderful! The staff was extremely nice and friendly and definitely contributed to the wonderful experience.

How can this program be improved?

The length I stayed-- I wish I had gone for longer.

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LOVEDCAMBODIA
Female
19 years old
California

Great time!

10/10

One of the best experiences i had. The staff were great the service work was fantastic and educational. The main drawback was the high cost of the trip and flying with rustic pathways was very expensive.

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Diana
Female
19 years old
Boston, Mass

Cambodia Children's Project

10/10

This experience was one of the most exciting, fascinating, and rewarding things I have ever done in my life. Being able to travel to such a far distance from home and still feel welcomed by the leaders and by the community was an amazing part of this trip. I learned so much about the Cambodian culture, and I've honestly fallen in love with this country thanks to Rustic. I'm planning on studying abroad in Cambodia in college, and I'm taking another trip with Rustic this summer!

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dalh2755
Female
19 years old
Canada
Other

Cambodia Orphanage Project

10/10

I don't think I have ever connected and had as much fun with kids in my life. Even with a language barrier, I still made best friends for life that I will definitely one day have to go back and see once again. Monks and Rustic Pathways staff were amazing, food was incredible, and everything about Cambodia that we saw made me crave more experiences exactly like it. I think I learned more in my 11 days in the State then a whole year at school. Just simply breathtaking!

Response from Rustic Pathways

Wonderful to hear you had such a positive experience in Cambodia with us. We strongly believe these programs are powerful educational opportunities, and it's great to hear you thought so as well! Thank you for the review.

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Danielle
Female
25 years old
Atlanta, Georgia

Cambodia: Off the Map

9/10

Junior year, my best friend and I decided to do a trip with rustic pathways. I had really hoped to do an environmentally focused trip however my friend had a different idea. He wanted to explore more of the social, historical and cultural aspects of Cambodia. As an open personal I agreed to doing the Off the Map trip instead (thank goodness I did!)

The trip really did take us through Cambodia exposing us to the beauty it had to offer. We explored the rugged jungle on elephants, walked along the Rabbit Island's sandy beaches, shopped in the urban markets of Phnom Penh, toured the French colonial city of Kampot, watched for dolphins on a river tour, taught Cambodian orphans English, helped to build a new library, hiked up Bokor mountain, visited the world famous temple, Angkor Wat and visited the killing fields. The trip without a doubt made 2011 the best summer of my life.

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BCK123
Male
22 years old
Sandy Springs, Georgia

The Amazing Place Crammed between Thailand and Vietnam

10/10

After the painful 36 hours of flying to the other side of the world, I finally landed in the exotic lands of Southeast Asia. With swollen ankles and tired eyes, the Rustic Pathways groups split apart and were welcomed to Phnom Penh by the ironically named Mr. Thai and a young, shy Khmer man named Sokheng.

After resting for the night in a hotel that exceeded my expectations, the group embarked on the first day of the trip to Rabbit Island. A 3 or so hour drive to the coast, followed by a 20 minute boat ride brought us to the quiet, secluded bungalows and beaches of Rabbit Island. The rooms consisted of a mattress and a mosquito net, and the quietness of the whole scene made for a peaceful break from the developed world.

The couple days following we strolled through the French influenced town of Kampot. Massages from the blind and testing of traditional Khmer foods ensued. Just on the outskirts of town is Cambodia's tallest mountain, Bokor Mountain. We rode in open bed trucks to see the developing resort site, but further along the road was a trip into Cambodia's colonial history with a dilapidated French casino and church.

We returned to Phnom Penh after Kampot and this is where we delved into the dark recent history of Cambodia. We visited the S-21 Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields. We saw second hand the terror of the Khmer Rouge. Although the sites were depressing, seeing the rising skyline of Phnom Penh indicates a bright future for the nation in one of the world's fastest growing regions of the world.

The longest drive of the trip brought the group to Mondulkiri -- a remote town in the mountains of Cambodia. However, along the way our group got a taste of the infamous fried tarantulas -- taste a bit like terriyaki beef jerky, so I recommend taking a sample! In Mondulkiri we rode elephants through the trails viewing the less crowded side of Cambodia, and we enjoyed the tranquility of a riverside lunch and a show of elephants cleaning themselves.
A few days later we made our way to Kratie to see the dwindling population of river dolphins. While there were some hectic scenes of bumper boats, we still witnessed these endangered creatures in their homes in the Mekong.

The next stay of the trip was the most meaningful, we built the foundation of a library for an orphanage in Kampong Cham. We worked and played games with the orphans, and they even showed us their English skills by reading children's books. The orphanage is still developing, and Rustic Pathways has really started something special there!

The grand finale of our trip was in Siem Reap. Here we walked into the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire. While Angkor Wat is the most famous, the surrounding temples are just as awe-inspiring and made a fantastic last visit for the trip. After the temples, Mr. Thai took us on a surprise trip to a waterfall in the mountains surrounding Siem Reap. There were few tourists in the area and the beautiful falls also made a nice swimming hole underneath.
All in all, Cambodia: Off the Map helped make summer 2011 easily the best summer of my life. While the sites and food are fun aspects of the country, the wonderful, kind people make it a truly special place that anyone should try to visit!

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alb7
Female
19 years old
Ithaca, NY
Other

The most influential experience of my life.

10/10

We we working hands-on and together with the staff of the program,which included locals, each-other, and the people of the community. The work was interactive and rewarding, as well as fun. It was clear that we were really making differences for individuals as well as the whole of the community. I defiantly felt immersed in another culture and gained many new understandings of other ways of life then the one I am accustomed to.

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HappyCamper
Female
19 years old
Northampton, MA
Smith College

Loved it! Would go again in a heart beat!

9/10

I went to Cambodia, on an Orphanage trip during the summer of 2010, and I loved very second of it. Rustic was a wonderful program and offered a lot of financial aid which made my trip possible. They made it really simple to connect separate programs and go from one country to another. Travelling was a little mind numbing, but that is the only negative experience I had during my entire trip. As a young teen traveling by myself, I was nervous before I left, but I always felt safe and looked after while abroad. We stayed in a hotel, which offered a cool space to sleep with a television and a much welcomed clean shower. Internet was only a 5 minutes walk down the road and we always travelled with supervision. We worked at the orphanage each morning until mid afternoon; it was hard work but always well appreciated. During my trip, we built a stage of tile, so that the children could put on recitals to raise money for the orphanage; rebuilt roads that had sunk and flooded, worked in the rice paddies and also spent a lot of time bonding with the children there. We were also given the opportunity to visit some popular tourists sites and learn a lot about the Cambodian culture. It's a truly wonderful experience that I would recommend to anyone.

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Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on purposeful community service projects, and expand

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