If you’re interested in community-based tourism in Cambodia, this quick round-up of the best performances, hotels, shops and more is an excellent place to start.
“Community-based tourism” is a hot topic in Cambodia, where many worthy projects compete with more conventional—and even downright crooked—enterprises in a rapidly growing economy. The below are guaranteed ways to put your money toward a good cause.
Sights and Performances
- The Cambodia Land Mine Museum, located near Banteay Srei, is managed by a Canadian NGO, with proceeds going to a home for impoverished children.
- Phare: The Cambodian Circus is a rewarding attraction in Siem Reap that trains underprivileged students to become circus performers.
- Bambu Stage in Siem Reap hosts shadow puppet theater shows performed by kids from the Krousar Thmey NGO.
- Cambodian Living Arts is an NGO that stages excellent traditional dance performances in the garden of the National Museum in Phnom Penh.
- Tonlé Sap Lake Tours are available through the Sam Veasna Center or Osmose, both of which support conservation efforts.
- Khmer Architecture Tours in Phnom Penh are offered by the excellent KA Tours, an NGO that promotes and documents modern Khmer architecture.
Hotels and Homestays
- Babel Siem Reap Guest House sponsors higher education for all its staff and some of its tuk-tuk drivers.
- Paul Dubrule Hotel and Tourism School, near Siem Reap’s airport, provides training to young Cambodians, and visitors are welcome to stay or eat here.
- Soria Moria, in Siem Reap, works closely with several social organizations to promote responsible tourism and hosts apsara dance performances organized by the NGO Sangkheum Center for Children.
- Shinta Mani is an excellent hotel in Siem Reap that runs a foundation to support projects in education, business, and health care.
- Banteay Chhmar homestay program provides income for local families and allows visitors a window into Khmer life.
- Sala Bai, in Siem Reap, trains young Cambodians in the restaurant business.
- The Haven is a Swiss-run restaurant in Siem Reap that employs disadvantaged young adults.
- Common Grounds is an American-style coffeehouse in Siem Reap whose profits go to a number of NGOs in Cambodia.
- Footprint Café, in Siem Reap, donates 100 percent of its net profits to the local community as grants for educational projects.
- Kinyei Café is an NGO affiliate that trains local youth in Battambang.
- Jai Baan Restaurant, in Battambang, is NGO-managed and offers gourmet dining.
- Rajana, in Siem Reap, sells products made by underprivileged Cambodians.
- Khmer Ceramics, in Siem Reap, produces great pottery and reinvests its profits into local job creation and cultural preservation.
- Angkor Recycled trains and employs rural, in some cases disabled, tailors in its Siem Reap shop, which purchases and recycles waste from the community to make its products.
- Cambodian Creations, in Phnom Penh, offers employment to vulnerable Cambodians, who produce jewelry and toys
- Mekong Quilts, in Phnom Penh, support projects in the Cambodian and Vietnamese countryside