Would you be surprised if we told you that a large amount of people in Kompong Khleang have yet to visit Angkor and its many temples? While over 2 million foreigners fly thousands of miles annually to see Angkor Wat, many residents of Outaput have been unable to make the trip to the World Heritage Site themselves. It is very sad that so many Cambodians have not had the opportunity to visit the temple, but, when you are living day-to-day, the idea of going on holiday is not something really considered.
After realizing the issue and discussing possible solutions with the village chief and community elders, we are excited to announce that Community First: Kompong Khleang Floating Village Tours will be providing free tours for Elderly Residents in the floating village.
Before we explain the project you again might be wondering why so many residents have not been to the temples. After all, its only 55km away and temple passes are free for Cambodian nationals. You might think something of such cultural and religious significance for the Cambodian people would have been visited by everyone at least once in their lifetime. Well, the reason is essentially two fold. First there is a financial burden – it costs money to drive to and eat in Siem Reap and when you are living day-to-day every dollar counts. There is also an opportunity cost to visiting the temples – it means you are away from the village for a day and losing money by not working – money that could be used for food, medicine, savings, etc. At the end of the day taking a holiday to Siem Reap is a luxury and not a priority for people in Outaput and other communities in Cambodia.
After understanding this predicament we set up a meeting with the village chief and several community elders to talk about doing the tours. They thought it was a great idea (in fact, neither the village chief nor his wife have been themselves and only 1 out of 3 village elders had so far visited!). They were grateful we were arranging these tours are are fully supportive of the project.
Here is how the project will work:
One time per month a group of 11 people from Outaput who have never seen Angkor will be selected to go on a trip. They will be selected based on seniority and the village chief will be responsible for selecting the participants.
The first tour goes out on February 25th. Our van will pick up residents at 8:00am and bring them to Angkor Wat. They will spend about 2 hours at Angkor Wat followed by a free picnic in front of the temple. On the menu will be chicken, rice, soup and soft drinks.
After lunch the group will visit Angkor Thom (Bayon & Terrace of the Elephants). If there is still time they will also visit Ta Prohm. They will return to Kompong Khleang around 6:00pm in time for dinner at their own homes
During the tour we will borrow a camera and take both group and individual photos of the participants. After the tour, the photos will be printed and each participant will receive (5) photos as a keepsake of their experience .
Again we are very excited to be providing this free tour for residents. We think its important every Cambodian has the chance to visit Angkor Wat in their lifetime. We also think it’s great that residents have shared their village with you; now, you are helping share Angkor Wat with them! We sincerely want to thank all the guests who have participated on the tour. Your financial contribution is making this a reality.
If you have any thoughts or questions about the tours feel free to get in to contact with us at [email protected]. If you’d like to sponsor a tour we are also happy to discuss the possibility.