Cambodia Bear Rescue Frequently Asked Questions

You will find below answers to many frequently asked questions. If your question does not appear then please click here to open the 'contact us' page to ask us your question.

01. Is Cambodia safe?
As always when travelling you must take the usual precautions to make sure you stay safe. Common sense and knowledge is the key phrase, on arrival you will have an orientation meeting to advise you of any precautions you need to take. Your greatest risks are from road traffic accidents or petty theft. Most visits to Cambodia are completely trouble free.
02. What languages do I need?
You need to be able to speak English as this will be the common language at the project. English does not need to be your first language but you will need to be proficient in English to be able to understand instructions from the project staff.
03. What are the living conditions at the project?
Volunteers live on the outskirts of a rural Cambodian village, roughly 10km away from the sanctuary. The volunteer house has twin bedrooms so volunteers may be sharing a room with another volunteer of the same gender. A cleaner, cook and security guard look after the house and prepare dinner but volunteers should be prepared to help with domestic duties. Laundry services are available for a small charge. Free internet is available at the volunteer house and is widely available in Phnom Penh. Transport by car to and from the centre is provided on working days.
04. What type of food will I be eating?
Self service breakfast is available seven days a week. These include bread, toast, corn flakes, jams and other spreads, eggs. A local cook prepares evening meals from Saturday night to Thursday night inclusive (Friday's is her day off so volunteers must prepare food for themselves if they are staying on the Friday night). Vegetarian options are available. Lunch can be prepared at the volunteer house and taken to the project or Khmer food can be bought cheaply at the project location. Items are available at the accommodation for you to make your own food if you do not like the Cambodian food available – these include pastas and pasta sauces, canned soups, baked beans, fresh fruit and vegetables. You can also purchase your own items of food in Phnom Penh.
05. Is there access to E-mail and telephone?
Free internet is available at the volunteer house and is widely available in Phnom Penh. There is no landline telephone at the accommodation. There are many internet cafés in Phnom Penh which have telephone services and allow for cheap international calls. An emergency contact number will be provided, this is for family to contact the volunteer in case of emergency only.
06. What vaccinations will I need for Cambodia?
We recommend that our volunteers consult a doctor for up to date advice about vaccinations. Do this as soon as possible as some vaccinations take time to be effective. General advise is to be up to date with tetanus and diphtheria, Hepatitis A & B and typhoid.
07. Do I need a visa?
Visas are easily obtained on arrival at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh international airports. Visas are available at border crossings with Thailand and Vietnam but not always with Laos.

A tourist visa costs US$30 for 30 days and can be extended for another 30 days only. An 'ordinary' visa (previously called a 'business visa') costs US$35 for 30 days and can be extended for an indefinite period of time. 

Cambodia immigration authority ask that volunteers get an 'ordinary' (business) visa on arrival, even if they stay less than one month. By law, an 'ordinary' (business) visa permits visitors to volunteer. In reality, many volunteers get a tourist visa and the immigration on arrival will often tell volunteers that they only need a tourist visa unless they are staying for more than 60 days.

Be aware that a passport with at least 6 months validity is required. You will also need to provide immigration with a passport size photograph.

There is an online service to obtain a tourist visa via the internet which has an administration fee but will save time at the airport:
Note: As visa requirements can change and are different for nationalities, it is the volunteers responsibility to arrange entry visas.
08. What cultural differences must I consider?
Cambodians are very friendly and a smile will go a long way. Be respectful to elders. Shouting, or public displays of over emotion are impolite. Remove shoes before entering a temple or someone's home. Dress respectfully, especially when visiting temples. Do not point at someone with your finger or naked foot, do not touch people's heads. For women, it is forbidden to touch a monk or even brush past his clothes. A woman may not directly pass anything to a monk, she must place it on a table for him to pick up.
09. Is there a dress code?
Yes, Cambodia is a conservative country and we ask that you respect them by dressing accordingly. The basic rule is to cover your knees and shoulders. T-shirts, sandals and anything that covers the knees are all acceptable. Comfortable and covered shoes are required while working at the project.
10. Can I drink alcohol and smoke?
Of course, but we request that you use common sense. Excessive drinking is not acceptable at the volunteer house. Volunteers can go to Phnom Penh on the weekends where many bars and nightclubs can be found. Please bring along a camera case or similar to dispose of cigarette butts responsibly.
11. Do I receive training and orientation?
Yes, on arrival you will receive orientation from the project coordinator, giving local information and advice. Training will be given at the project on the volunteer duties. Volunteers work with the local staff and volunteer coordinator.
12. Do I need travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is recommended for all our projects. To help make getting insured easier we have formed a partnership with award-winning travel insurers, World Nomads. They provide insurance to travellers from over 140 different countries and are the only insurer we have found that will allow you to take out a policy even after you have left your home country.
If you purchase an insurance policy from World Nomads through this link - Travel Insurance - they will also make a donation to Globalteer and the many projects we support.
Please note that Globalteer can accept no responsibility for your travel or insurance arrangements and encourages you to fully research all travel and insurance options available to you.
13. Who usually volunteers at your projects?
The majority of volunteers are from the UK, United States, Canada and Australia. We also place volunteers from Holland, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand although all nationalities are welcome. The majority of volunteers travel alone to the projects, although we also accommodate couples and groups. The project accommodates a maximum of six volunteers at any one time of all ages and nationalities.
14. Where does my money go?
The majority of your payment goes directly to Cambodia. This money provides your accommodation, food, in country support and the majority goes directly to support the project to pay for the care of the bears and local staff wages. We encourage you to ask the same question of any other organisation that you may be considering volunteering with. Some companies provide absolutely zero donation to support the project that volunteers visit, instead your payment is used for huge administration charges and profit for western companies. This leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you arrive and see the desperate need for funding in Cambodia.
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