What Volunteering Involves

Volunteering is not for everybody. It requires a great deal of patience, flexibility and sensitivity to other cultures. Those who are self-motivated, enthusiastic and have a genuine interest in the host people and their culture will get the most our of time spent volunteering to help and get the experience of our culture for yourself. Before you sign up you should consider the following:

Can you live without modern plumbing, hot water and other western comforts?

All of our volunteer placements are in non-touristy villages. There is no hot water in the villages and the plumbing will most likely be different to what you are used to. All of this information will be made available to you if you decide to come.

Are you open enough to accept and respect a culture no matter how different it is from your own cultural upbringing?

There will be aspects of the local culture that leave you bewildered. They can defy everything that seems logical to you and may challenge your senses of right and wrong. If this occurs then you have to remember that you are the visitor. No solitary volunteer can change centuries of tradition or culture. You must determine whether you are versatile enough to respect the local culture before you go.

Are you keen to learn?

We will return detailed Placement Information and availability to you after we receive your application.


Once you have made your travel arrangements you should let us know your time of arrival and the means of transportation and we will confirm your pickup. We will then make arrangements for a representative to meet you.

Getting Here

HVTO will advise and support you with all your travel arrangements. Our first reception in Siem Reap will provide you with some information and tips that can be useful when looking for transportation to and within Cambodia.


Volunteers will get three meals a day from the host family. But don’t expect to get western food - only typical Cambodian food like amok and kakor.

Volunteer Work

You will both assist the Khmer Teachers and lead your class from 4 to 7 hours per day. Lessons are typically taught from Monday to Saturday, but there is flexibility in how many days and hours you work in a week. Weekends are generally spent by volunteers in Siem Reap town, allowing them to experience urban Cambodia and go sightseeing. (Accommodation and sightseeing in Siem Reap are not paid for by HVTO.)

Living and Accommodation

HVTO volunteers stay in a lovely wooden house with the Cambodian Family. The room is equipped with mosquito nets, bed, mattress, pillow and blanket.


Courses or boosters usually advised: hepatitis A, typhoid; diphtheria; tetanus. Vaccines sometimes advised: Japanese B encephalitis, rabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis B. Malaria: You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. Malaria precautions are advised in all areas, except Phnom Penh, the Mekong river delta, and in the rice growing areas around the large inland lake of Tonle Sap. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers/ pants, especially after sunset, and use insect repellent on exposed skin, and sleeping under a mosquito net (nets will be provided by HVTO).


Please purchase health and travel insurance independently. You need health insurance that will cover medical treatment and repatriation in case of accident or illness.


Upon entry, visitors can purchase a tourist visa ($20) or a business visa ($25) for month. Business visas can be extended in Phnom Penh for 3, 6 or 12 month stays.


You will get an HVTOcertificate stating the time and place you have been teaching in our project.

The REALITY of Voluntary Work in Cambodia

  • REALITY 1: The climate can be unbearably HOT and HUMID, and extreme weather can ruin our plans
  • REALITY 2: There are lots of BIG INSECTS, some very dangerous, and they find volunteers very tasty
  • REALITY 3: A road rarely is made from much more than dirt. Journeys are SLOW & VERY BUMPY
  • REALITY 4: People and materials are usually LATE: plans rarely run on time
  • REALITY 5: HEALTH & SAFETY policies in public services are virtually non-existent
  • REALITY 6: The CULTURE and LANGUAGE is alien to what you are used to in the West
  • REALITY 7: You will come face to face with POVERTY every day
  • REALITY 8: There are MANY public holidays which can easily ruin even the best planned week of work

To enjoy working in a developing country, we believe you need to be:

  • OPEN-MINDED about other ways of doing things
  • PATIENT & TOLERANT when things do not go according to plan
  • ENTHUSIASTIC about your work
  • Full of INITATIVE so you can make the best out of a bad situation

If you think you can cope with the realities of work in a developing country, and you are open-minded, patient, enthusiastic and full of initiative, then we urge you to volunteer with us. If not, please look elsewhere – HVTO is not for you.

Cambodian Public Holidays

Cambodia has many Public Holidays, and it is often not possible for us to run our programs at these times. The flip-side of the coin is that there are some pretty good festivals and events on these days, but it can get pretty irritating if you book for a 2 week placement and there is a three-day public holiday in the middle of the week preventing you from volunteering! And more often than not, a one day holiday gets extended over several days, making it very difficult for us to plan ahead. So make sure you have a look at the dates below so that you can plan your placement appropriately.

So if you have understood what was explained here and you want to volunteer for HVTO, please fill in the application form.

We are looking forward to warmly welcoming you to our village!

  • @2014 Copyright, HVTO, All reserved
  • T:+(855)12 710 027
  • E: sim@hvto.org
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