A Journey Of A Lifetime
Are you ready for a transformational journey where you can spread your wings and experience what the world has to offer? Whether you’re a first time traveler or a No Barriers Youth alumni, we’d like to invite you on a 12-day adventure to Cambodia to experience the history, culture, and phenomenal people who make this a world-class educational travel destination.
This expedition is designed for students 14 to 18 years of age eager to immerse themselves in Southeast Asia and excited to meet new friends while engaging in the unique history, culture and language of the Cambodian people.
The journey begins in Denver where you will meet your No Barriers Expedition Leader before boarding your flight to Phnom Penh. Upon your arrival, you will meet your Destination Expert who will welcome you to Cambodia and share the wonderful history, culture and traditions of his home country throughout the expedition.
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and home to two million people who primarily speak Khmer. This thriving city, once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” sits on the banks of the Tonle Sap and mighty Mekong rivers. After your in-country orientation and learning a few words of Khmer you’ll jump right into your expedition by spending time with your Cambodian peers form the SSI Leadership Academy, an educational nonprofit with ties to Colorado.
While in Phnom Penh you’ll visit the Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields to learn about the Khmer Rouge and their radical Marxist movement that forever shaped the people of Cambodia. After you depart the capital city you’ll get the extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in a local village, learn how to cook sticky rice, play soccer with community members and so much more!
After you say goodbye to Phnom Penh and your friends in the village you’ll travel to the city of Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. Here you’ll participate in a service project and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. This massive temple complex was built in the 12th century and includes Buddhist faces carved into stone and ancient ruins overtaken by the jungle.
These are only a few of the highlights of an expedition that will not only capture your imagination but will leave you transfixed and forever changed from the minute you land in this fascinating destination.
Learn, Laugh and Lead
Throughout the expedition we’ll focus on globally responsible leadership, persevering through challenges and learning to live a No Barriers Life. As participants, you will also explore the idea of creating a vision for your future, the rope team that will help get you there and much, much more. But most importantly you will learn, laugh, lead and live life fully… returning home ready to take action and better your community.
Dates: June 5 – 16, 2019
Cost: $3695 *This price does not include airfare to and from your hometown to Denver International Airport to meet your fellow travelers for your group flight.
Max. # of Participants: 20
Ages: 14 – 18. Participants need to have completed their freshman year of high school.
February 18, 2019
Travel Day – Depart Denver for your international flight to Cambodia!
- Travel Day – In Flight with typical layovers in Thailand, China, or South Korea.
- Arrive in Phnom Penh where you will be met by your Local Guide and No Barriers Expedition Leader, who will transfer you to your hotel to drop off luggage and freshen up.
- Safety and orientation briefing with your Local Guide, followed by lunch at a local restaurant and then a walking tour of the area, including a visit to a local market.
- No Barriers Opening Ceremony with your Expedition Leader.
- Dinner and overnight in Phnom Penh at Asia Tune Hotel or similar.
- Breakfast at the hotel before spending exploring the city and spending time with students from the SSI Leadership Academy.
- Tour of the neighborhood Pagoda, where you will have the opportunity to receive a blessing of good fortune during your time in Cambodia, followed by a walk through the local market and lunch at a nearby restaurant.
- Return to the SSI Leadership Academy for an afternoon of cultural exchange, including cultural show & tell, trying the students’ favorite dishes, and playing games. SSI is a Colorado-based, non-governmental organization founded in 2001 that works to bridge gaps in access to education in Cambodia. The Leadership Academy offers rural students the opportunity to continue their secondary, post secondary or vocational education through support with fees and tuition, lodging, food and additional training.
- Overnight Phnom Penh at Asia Tune Hotel or similar.
- Explore Phnom Penh with your Local Guide, starting with a visit to the National Museum of Cambodia and then walk next door to the Royal Palace complex, which was built in the 1860s and is still in use today!
- Enjoy lunch at the Friends Restaurant, which provides underprivileged street children with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in hospitality. Not only is the food delicious but all profits are reinvested into the Training Centre activities.
- Visit the Tuol Sleng Prison, housed in a high school, to glimpse the devastating horrors that prevailed during Cambodia’s ultra-radical Marxist movement. This excursion may prove distressing for some, but it is an important piece of Cambodia’s recent past.
- Finish your afternoon with an excursion to Choeung Ek, also known as the “killing fields.”
- Enjoy a traditional Cambodian dinner in the city before returning to your hotel for a Group Reflection Activity. Overnight Phnom Penh at Asia Tune Hotel or similar.
- Enjoy a boat ride to Silk Island (30-45 mins from Phnom Penh) and service project with local school or non-profit.
- Finish your project around midday day then do some classroom activities with local students (computer lesson/ English class).
- Dinner at a local Cambodian restaurant followed by free time.
- Overnight Phnom Penh at Asia Tune Hotel or similar.
- Depart for the village of Sambor Preikuk and stop at Skun along the way. This is a great place to experience the local specialty of fried spiders and grubs — this is optional, of course, but does make for a great photo!
- After checking in to your guesthouse and getting to know your hosts, you will have an opportunity to visit the ruins of the local temple in Sambor Prei Kuk. This region was once the important capital of the Chenla Kingdom. The temple ruins are vast and not frequently visited so you will have the opportunity to really explore.
- The afternoon is a great chance to get to know more about rural life in Cambodia. You’ll learn the amazing craft of making rice noodles, have a chance to purchase handicrafts from local artisans, and visit the local market to check out local fruits, snacks and other items.
- Enjoy a traditional Khmer-style dinner together and get to know the community. The families are very excited to share their culture with you and also love to learn about your interests and life back home. This is a great chance to play some games with the children in your guesthouse. Return to your guest house and rest — most people go to sleep pretty early in the village and wake up early!
- Breakfast at guest house and and prepare for the day in the village. You will help the family you are staying with make bamboo sticky rice, a very popular local Cambodian snack. Your work includes cleaning and cutting bamboo, cleaning the sticky rice and beans, preparing the ingredients and making a fire to cook with. After the rice is perfectly cooked, you can enjoy your snack!
- Activities this afternoon may include fishing, visiting the local pagoda to learn about buddhism or playing soccer with local students at Kampong Chheuteal high school.
- Group dinner and return to your guest house for your second night in the village.
- Enjoy a group breakfast before beginning your drive to Siem Reap. Along the way, stop briefly at the ancient bridge of Spean praptos.
- Have a traditional Khmer lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, continue your journey to Siem Reap. In the afternoon, join a workshop at Phare, the Cambodian Circus. Phare is a social enterprise developed by locals to help some of the poorest young people find a way of income and to give them some hope. In this one-hour workshop, meet some of the performers, who have become local celebrities, and have a lesson on one of the disciplines of being a performer, which could be juggling, balancing and many others.
- After the workshop, enjoy dinner and then see the actual Phare show. See stunning acrobatics, thrilling storylines and great humor for a fantastic night out.
- Overnight in Siem Reap at Mother Home Inn or similar.
- Explore the remote Cambodian countryside seen by few travelers. Experience a special day of interaction with local children who participate in projects sponsored by the Cambodia-Dutch Organization (CDO), a non-profit that works on community development projects. Meet your CDO guide at the CDO house. Continue to the health center, founded in 2001, which delivers medical services to the locals living in a village called Chhuk. Then proceed to a primary school built by the CDO to meet with a class. If school is in session, the instructor will introduce you to the class and you will have an opportunity to do a “show and tell” about your life back home. The children of this school are eager to learn English and to learn about the world outside Cambodia and welcome visitors with enthusiasm!
- Visit the Old Market (Psar Chaa) and have free time to explore or shop.
- Relax at hotel, enjoy a dip in the pool, and dinner and overnight in Siem Reap at Mother Home Inn or similar.
- Visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom and the temples of Bayon, Baphoun, Phimean Akas, The Royal Enclosure, Terrace of Elephants and Leper King.
- The whole afternoon is set aside for a visit to the main temple, Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is one of mankind’s greatest achievements, and the intricate carvings at the temple of Angkor Wat demonstrate the skill of the Khmer builders. It was constructed in the jungle in the early 12th century, then – two centuries later – was mysteriously abandoned by the Khmer civilization. Lunch will be at local restaurant in front of the temple. Continue to explore Angkor Wat and its vast temples after lunch.
- Finish the day with an unforgettable sunset atop one of the special places Angkor Wat and have your No Barriers Closing Ceremony.
- Overnight in Siem Reap at Mother Home Inn or similar.
Travel Day – Depart Siem Reap for international flight home, arriving the same evening.
Getting immersed in the culture of India and getting to know and love the children was the greatest. When the students would cling to me at the end of class, and tell me how much they enjoyed having me there was heartbreaking.Rachel W., Student
There is so much life, happening all the time. It's crazy to think that, after only three weeks, I feel like I've become accustomed to so much of how the world move.Saul S., Student
I just wanted to take a moment to formally thank you for another unbelievable and life changing trip. No Barriers Youth made it all possible and took the guesswork out of a potentially nerve wracking and complicated task.Amanda W., Trip Leader
Facts & Figures
Capital: Phnom Penh
Special Note: It’s considered disrespectful to allow your feet or soles to point at people.
Below Poverty Line
Carbon Emissions (%)