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Charitable Cambodia

Siem Reap & Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Despite having a relatively stable economy that has emerged from a turbulent past, Cambodia remains a very poor country. This is an opportunity to see examples of charity work that aims to help some of the county's most vulnerable people.

Start at Theam's House; a beautiful atelier and gallery. Theam was only a very young child during the Khmer Rouge's regime, and after Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978, he was one of hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled to Europe. After 15 years, Theam returned to Cambodia, with an aim to learn as much as possible about the country's artistic heritage.

The Khmer Rouge regime tried to eradicate Cambodia's cultural history, including its artwork. For 15 years, Theam, now joined by a group of apprentices, has helped to revive the Cambodian craft sector. His work helps to provide employment and education to Cambodia's young people and aspiring artists.

Following a refreshing afternoon drink in the gallery's garden, head to Apopo to learn how they train and deploy their furry hero rats whose sense of smell is helping to rid Cambodia of landmines. With efforts from Apopo and other similar organizations, the number of casualties from landmines in Cambodia has been steadily decreasing.

On the way back to Siem Reap, stop at the Angkor Hospital for Children. Take a look around their visitor center to learn more about the wonderful work that goes on at the facility. You can also admire a display of work from Weaves of Cambodia; a producer of high quality silk that provides employment and rehabilitation for landmine victims and disabled and vulnerable people. Should you wish to purchase any of the pieces, proceeds go directly to the charity and hospital.

Finish the evening at Marum, a lovely casual restaurant set up to provide training to street kids. The menu is designed for sharing, with main dishes ranging between US$5-10. Despite being a training restaurant, or perhaps because of it, the cuisine is exciting and adventurous. Whilst there are familiar dishes, such as rice paper rolls, dumplings, salads and stir fries, there are also some more unusual options, such as Red Tree Ants with Beef, BBQ Frog Legs and Mini Crocodile Burgers.

You will have an English-speaking guide and driver throughout the day. They will drop you off at Marum, and then after dinner the restaurant can arrange a tuk tuk to take you back to your hotel or the night markets.

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