FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Our monthly Volunteer fee is $250 USD (paid upon arrival).
This fee covers everything you will need while staying with us. This includes room/board/meals and extras such as laundry soap, electricity, bedding and mosquito net.
Once on our property, additional money is not needed during your stay with us. But if you want to buy anything in the market or snacks/drinks you should bring pocket money. A mere $5.00 a week will keep you happy with daily snacks and a soda (should you desire).
If you plan to bring souvenirs back home with you, we have Winnie’s Boutique on our property and it is filled with jewellery and crafts from our Creative Empowerment Project. Our jewellery runs around $2.00 for earrings, $3.00 for a bracelet, and $5.00 a necklace. We also have coffee mugs, Wat Opot T-shirt, locally made scarves and art work.
The Cambodian Riel ៛ and the US Dollar $ are interchangeably used here. A rough exchange is 4,000៛ = $1.00.
You can get US dollars out of any ATM machine in Cambodia.
Cambodia is one of the easiest countries to visit in regards to obtaining a visa. You can purchase a visa upon arrival at the Phnom Penh airport. You do not need any documentation about volunteering, you will get a visa regardless of why you are coming to Cambodia.
There are two types of visas. you can get.
- A Cambodian Tourist visa (T class) for $30 which is valid for one month and when your month is up, it can be extended for one additional month for a fee of $45.00.
- A Cambodian ‘Ordinary” Visa (E class) for $35 and is also valid for one month and upon expiration, This renewable visa can last for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months, although only the 6- and 12-month visas allow multiple entries.
You will need a passport that is valid for at least six months and has at least one blank page and a passport-sized photo. If you don’t have this, you can pay a $2 fee and they will scan the photo from your passport.
For additional information on a Cambodia Visa, click here.
If you arrive after 3pm into Phnom Penh, we suggest you stay in the city and come to Wat Opot the next day. If you do stay in the city, plan on arriving at Wat Opot either before 11am or after 1pm.
To come to Wat Opot from Phnom Penh, you can contact a tuktuk driver. We recommend either Mr. Tamap (012-588-682) or Mr. Phat (012-595-281). When negotiating a tuktuk, we usually pay between $15 and $20USD, if they ask for more, please DO NOT pay more than $20 and always confirm the price when booking and again before you get into the tuktuk. A tuktuk ride to us usually takes around 2 hours. If you prefer a faster (between 1 and 1.5 hours) and more comfortable ride, you can call Mr. Huit (096 544 3691 or 012 726 792) and ride out in his car for $30.
If you would like us to arrange pick-up for you (from the airport or your hotel), please let us know.
We recommend the Golden Gate Hotel ($20) or One Up Hotel ($30+). Both of these hotels are very familiar with Wat Opot. There are also many hotels (some with swimming pools) that are popping up all over the city. A few that have been utilized by past volunteers are: H hotel, Jasmin Monument Hotel, Colina Boutique Hotel, The Flora Boutique Hotel and the Frangipani Living Arts Hotel (these vary by price and location).
WOCC’s internet is touchy at best, it’s not unusual to go days at a time without good internet access. You may not be able to get online every day, so you may want to inform your loved ones back home of this fact.
During the school year (November – July) The kids are in school from 7:00am – 11:00am (primary age) and 7:00am – 4:00pm (high school). During the mornings, volunteers can work with our preschoolers and/or do miscellaneous projects such as painting, cleaning, and organizing.
After lunch from 12:00pm 2:00pm there is a siesta time of sorts where it’s too hot to do anything, so most kids are watching a DVD or taking a nap.
From 2:00pm-4:30pm the primary school kids have extra classes taught by volunteers (English math, science, etc.) Smaller classes are more productive, so there will not be more than 3 kids in a class. This is also the time to utilize the art room/ craft room/ jewelry room. Our preschoolers need to be supervised from 2:00 – 4:30 so there is opportunity to be with them during this time.
During the summer months (August – October) the children are home all day and depending on the number of volunteers we have, English/Math classes are arranged. There is also more time to do arts/crafts and make jewelry!
After dinner, we have a nightly meditation from around 6:30pm – 7:15pm and then a study time for the kids from 8:00pm – 9:00pm.
On Saturday, the kids have school in the mornings and then we have yoga class at 2:00pm. The rest of the day (and evening after meditation) is free of structure, and any of the rooms may be utilized with volunteer supervision.
On Sunday, the children have art class in the morning but the rest of the day is free. This is also the day for volunteers to take the day off, although outside the volunteer dorm you will always run into kids playing or wanting to play.
We are in a rural area so there is nothing to do for entertainment outside of our gates. You are free to use a bicycle to ride around the area or visit Phnom Chisor Mountain which is about 4 kilometers from Wat Opot.
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center is about 30 minutes from Wat Opot and accessible by tuktuk for the day.
The Cheung Ek “Killing Fields” are between Wat Opot and Phnom Penh and a tuktuk could take you there for a day visit or you could visit Cheung Ek on your way to or from Wat Opot.
The temples of Angkor Wat are located in Siem Reap and are accessible either by plane (one way from Phnom Penh around $100) or bus (one way from Phnom Penh around $12). If you want to visit the temples we suggest doing so either before or after coming to Wat Opot as not to interrupt your volunteer time with us. (unless you are able to stay 3 months or more with us). International flights are usually not more expensive if you fly into Siem Reap and out of Phnom Penh or vice versa.
Cambodia is a tropical country. You can find information about the climate and weather here.
Clothing that dries easy and is comfortable and light. It’s hot here, very hot all the time!
We follow Cambodian culture and do not wear shoes indoors, so easily removable shoes (i.e. flip flops, slip on shoes, etc.) are a must. You will be removing your shoes and putting them back on every time you walk into a building and this can become cumbersome if you have tennis style shoes.
Please bring one or two reusable water bottles that you can fill with our filtered water (we try to keep down on the plastic trash here).
Mosquito repellant in non-aerosol spray cans.
In regards to clothing (females – respectable clothes (see rules/regulations) must be worn at all times, even while swimming). We do not have AC, but fans are in all the rooms.
One thing that may be of importance is sanitary supplies during your menstrual cycle. We do not have garbage pickup and everything is burned every couple of days. If you bring sanitary pads they may sit in the burn pile where the animals (dogs) will drag them out and deliver them around the property! Please bring tampons if you are comfortable with them (without a plastic applicator) and/or cloth re-usable pads. Tampons can be bought in Phnom Penh; but they are not available in the rural area. If you do need to use commercial pads, we can burn them directly.
Check that your basic immunizations such as Tetanus and Diphtheria are up-to-date. There is not malaria in our area and we have never heard of any animal having rabies.
If you will worry about your health while here, then take whatever precautions that will make you comfortable during your stay with us.
Wayne and Melinda do not have any vaccines other than Tetanus and have never taken malaria medication.
You will be served 3 meals a day (always a vegetarian option) during the week. The food prepared by our kitchen staff is westernized Khmer food, with vegetable stir fry with tofu or meat with rice. On weekends, the volunteers (and Melinda/Wayne) are in charge of meal preparation for the volunteers (food is bought in the local market). During your stay you will be required to cook a meal on weekends, so feel to bring a recipe or two from home.
If you have a food allergy or require a special diet please let us know ahead of time.