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Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Community + Culture + Calm


Itinerary Options

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Step off the backpacking trail

Embark on a dynamic journey that will take you from the vibrant city of Siem Reap, to the countryside of Kampot, to the exotic island of Koh Rong Sanloem. This 3-phase adventure showcases the best of Cambodia, from the must-see tourist hot spots to hidden gems away from the hustle and bustle.

Starting off in Siem Reap, where you will wander through the famous Angkor Wat, before travelling south to reach the beautiful area of Kampot where you will spend your time with The Red Road Foundation. This is not just any charitable project, this is genius, fun, exciting, and immensely rewarding. You will spend time improving the community space in Kampot - from building eco bricks made from rubbish, teaching the children English and how to swim, and getting involved with arts, crafts, and dancing...

Of course, it’s not all work and no play, and you’ll finish your programme on the white-sand coastline on the island of Koh Rong Sanloem to relax and reflect. The perfect place to plan your onward travels around Asia as it connects perfectly with Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia's Itinerary

24 days, 3 phases, multiple experiences. This is how it rolls…

Days 1-5

Siem Reap Settle in + Angkor Wat + Kulen Elephant Forest

Culture and Exploration

Siem Reap is a town rich in history, where East fuses with West. This old French colonial capital echoes European influences, with shuttered windows and delicate ironwork, but now interspersed with a buzzing nightlife, street food on tap, night markets and groovy cafes.

Your first five days will be a gentle introduction to the hustle and bustle of Asian life, whilst you explore the some of the city’s highlights, such as the splendid Angkor Wat. You’ll spend the whole day tuk tuking your way around this incredible complex.

You will also meet the retired elephants in the Kulen forest, where they now roam free and rediscover their natural instincts with their herd. Here you will help with the washing and feeding, getting very close to these magnificent creatures.


Local, centrally located hostel.


3 meals a day are provided. Expect local Cambodian food where rice and noodle dishes form the basis of most meals.
Smoothies, soft and alcoholic drinks are not included.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme
Days 6-8

Phnom Penh Cultural Exploration

Culture and Exploration

An overnight bus will take you down to the mad city of Phnom Penh – brace yourself for traffic everywhere, tuk tuks and motos whizzing around with no regard for anything or anyone. Here you will explore the meandering streets which are full of great bars, restaurants and cafes, Nesat Seafood House being our favourite. While here you will be able to visit some of the top attractions, not all joyous, but not to be missed. For example:

Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

The now peaceful Killing Fields is not for the faint hearted but important to visit and sheds some light on the culture of this country.

Royal Palace and National Museum
Along the Mekong River is the Royal Palace which once dominated the skyline of Phnom Penh. The palace is the official residence of King Sihamoni, so only parts are open to the public, but you can also visit the adjacent Silver Pagoda.


Local, centrally located hostel.


3 meals a day are provided. Expect authentic Cambodian food where rice and noodle dishes form the basis of most meals.
Smoothies, soft and alcoholic drinks are not included.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme
Days 9-17

Kampot Community development with Red Road

Red Road Foundation

This is the meaty, volunteering phase of the programme and we are really excited to have teamed up with the Red Road Foundation who focus on village-led social enterprises which address waste and education issues in the area.

For just over a week you’ll be helping with their building projects which use plastic bottle bricks (genius technique), educating the surrounding community about recycling, whilst teaching English and art at the weekend pop up school.

Mid-week you'll head into Kampot where you'll have an afternoon of fun on an inflatable obstacle course on the Kampot river, followed by taco night at a local hostel. The next day can chill by the pool, visit the animal sanctuary run by one of Rachel's friends, before learning to cook an authentic Khmer dish.

It will then be back to the Red Road for more project work including arts, crafts, and games with the local kids, as well as taking them on a field trips to the river or waterfall.


Here you‘ll be staying at the Red Road Foundation jungle camp, where you will be embraced by a rural community cut off from western luxuries. The camp consists of a dorm style bedroom, a hangout kitchen area, and a few bathrooms all made of bamboo and very rustic. The dorm is raised off the ground, with a roof, but no windows or doors, so you are open to the elements. Single beds and mozzie nets provided.

Bathroooms - western WC and cold showers.

Think camping in the jungle and please note everyone will be required to work together with the cooking and cleaning.


Whilst you're at the Red Road 3 meals are provided of local Cambodian food - all rice and noodle based. Whilst in Kampot breakfast and lunch are included, supper is not to provide you flexibility, and the option to try new things.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme
Days 18-22

Tropical Island Downtime

Time to kick back

After all your hard work you’ll be ready for some R&R. You’ll transfer from Red Road to Koh Rong Sanloem island by road and then ferry, where you’ll have the perfect chance to unwind and relax.

Koh Rong Sanloem is a slice of paradise, think pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear water, and a trendy vibe. You’ll have been working hard at the Red Road and this is your chance to relax and enjoy the tropical beaches. However yoga, paddleboarding, and snorkelling is all available to break up your days of lying on the beautiful beach sipping cocktails – trust us, you won't want to leave.

On day 23, travel back to Phnom Penh where you will stay in a hostel for the night ready for you flight home the next day.


You will stay in a rustic, style bungalows dotted along the beach - beds, mozzie net provided.


Breakfast included, lunch and supper are not included, giving you total flexibilty and choice at one of the many local beach bars and restaurants.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme
Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Did you know?

Onward travel has never been so easy

Book a programme with us and you will receive a complimentary 12 month subscription to our Backpacking Advice Hub. This Hub is your one stop shop for all things travel advice, itineraries, handy insider hints and tips to really get the most from your travels. It is a must-have resource for independent travel post-Leap.

Our teams never want to come home post-programme and choose to add on a phase of independent travel with their new found friends - making the most of their gap year. Cambodia is perfectly placed to add on Vietnam and Thailand. Call us and chat through your ideas.

Children playing with water in Cambodia.
A man cycling through the rice fields in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat at sunset in Cambodia.
Children playing in Cambodia.
Sunset view from the beach with palm trees in Cambodia.

Cambodia's Details & Costs

Our teams are a maximum of 12 per departure so don't dilly dally.

Please note you need to be 18 years old or over at the time of travel.

Download Itinerary

Options and costs

Whats included?


Head out of your comfort zone to live in a rustic jungle camp with no mod cons. Hot, sweaty, and hard-core!

Cultural Exchange

Live and work beside rural communities who will welcome you into their world. This truly is an experience you won't get elsewhere.

Contrasting Environments

From Angkor Wat to the rural villages outside of Kampot to tropical islands...

The Bigger Picture

Work with Rachel, the founder of the Red Road Foundation, to help with her projects and in the school she's set up.

Time Out

While you are at the Red Road Foundation you will have days off (not necessarily at the weekend as this is a busy time for working with the local kids). There are lots of local activities and Rachel will help arrange and advise from kayaking to pepper farm tours.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Red Road Foundation

We are really excited to have teamed up with the Red Road Foundation in Kampot who focus on village-led social enterprises while addressing critical global issues, such as waste and education. They bring people from all over the world together in cross-cultural collaborations and experiential learning that raises the quality of living for all involved.

Rachel Riggio is the dynamic back bone of the Red Road - she moved from the States 8 years ago and settled in Kampot to make a difference - promoting student leadership & fostering immersive travel for our volunteers, many young minds have the opportunity to grow into sustainability-focused, philanthropic innovators.

She is amazing - skilled in mindfulness and fluent in the local khmer - you are in for a treat.

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Watch our videos

Meet Rachel in Cambodia

our inspirational partner

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Red Road Foundation

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

Community and Adventure

"We’re having an incredible time in Costa Rica "

I just want to quickly thank you very much for the amazing Leap trip. I honestly had the most unbelievable time and feel it is thanks to you for organising it, especially so last minute! I’ve been recommending it to all of my friends as I would do anything to do it all again. You were so kind and patient with both myself and Emma and we are truly grateful for all the help you gave us. We’re having an incredible time in Costa Rica at the moment and never want to leave!

- Clemmie

"Awesome, reliable, trustworthy, caring people "

An excellent, very caring group of people who go out of their way to find a solution that works for you. My situation was a little unusual, as my son has Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD and I needed a company who could really listen, understand the situation and find a solution that would work for him.

This fantastic group of people were always there with quick responses and well thought out solutions. Not to mention, it was something that was very last minute. I've had to explain Aspergers to many who have been a part of my son's life over the years - many don't get it, or don't want to get it, or they will only provide a "one sized fits all" solution (which doesn't work) and no options (they don't want to deal with it). This company embraced it and went above and beyond (that's you Jenny).

My son is on his placement now and is loving it - successful because this company listened, responded, and was happy to provide out of the box solutions that worked. Thank you so much for your part in what will be one of, what will be greatest, learning and development opportunities my son has experienced.

- Denise


"​Amazing, emotional and I would do it all again "

Communication was very good before and during the trip, it was nice to know that the leap would reply quickly plus I felt very safe, the 24/7 security relaxed and settled me in. Stella, Matias and Jimmy were amazing, they made my trip!

The programmes and schools we visited were life-changing and made me appreciate what I have. The fact that we actually made a difference by raising money for an orphanage to build a well is so exciting and rewarding! And the relationships I made with the children and the other leapers I will never forget.

- Bethany

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

"Easy Peasy with The Leap"

You guys always answered questions so fast! Zoe is outstanding!! Made travelling during a pandemic easy peasy

- Hanna

"So grateful"

I feel more socially able with new people and feel more grateful for what I have back in the UK

- Sam

Cambodia Gap Year Programme

"You felt prepared"

The daily schedule was always written out at the start of the day, so you felt prepared for what was happening when.

- Mimi

"I would say 100% I was able to make a positive contribution"

I was helping the community by making the beach cleaner and also helping protect the turtles from poachers and plastic in the ocean.

- Kit

"Grown in confidence"

I have grown in confidence from meeting new people and I have realised how much of an impact everyone could make with everyday things

- Louisa

"How fantastic you all are"

We really can’t thank you enough for everything you have done to make this amazing adventure happen, and for all the hand holding for Mimi and us along the way! It’s incredible that they have managed to have as close to normal a gap year as it must be possible to have right now and we are enormously enormously grateful to you and everyone at The Leap who has helped make this happen. Thank you. We have been spreading the good word about how fantastic you all are!

- Selina ( mum )

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