Hotels & Travel

Traveling with a Heart and Social Awareness in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a major tourist destination because of Angkor Wat and the temples surrounding it. But its growing reputation for responsible and sustainable ethical tourism makes it even more attractive to eco-conscious travelers and tourists.

Packed with socially responsible restaurants and sustainable travel options and shopping, Siem Reap provides the perfect destination for a green holiday or a sustainable weekend. The city offers many responsible initiatives and sustainable programs aimed at helping marginalized Cambodians gain the skills and knowledge for them to enjoy a better life and future.

One good example is a hotel Siem Reap has that follows a sustainable and ethical business model. It is committed to providing equitable employment while creating a sustainable environment and ensuring responsible tourism.

You can do your share by booking your reservation at this hotel in Siem Reap and engaging in sustainable activities.

Big Adventures, More Responsible Travel

Despite the number of tourists that flock to Siem Reap each year, the city remains one of the poorest areas of Cambodia. This is why you should support the local people and sustainable programs.

In addition, engage in responsible travel and tourism.

How?

Be a responsible traveler

  • Take care of your waste and dispose of them properly.
  • Bring a water bottle everywhere you go and take advantage of water refill stations instead of buying bottled water.
  • Be mindful of the resources you use, such as water and electricity.
  • Do not buy souvenirs, artifacts, and other products that may have been taken from a heritage site or will support illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking.
  • Do not buy items from children working at the temples or on the streets.
  • Do not visit orphanages to discourage orphanage tourism.
  • Always ask before you take photographs of other people.
  • Donate blood and support initiatives that empower landmine victims and disabled adults.

Be a responsible guest

Book a hotel Siem Reap has that runs excellent environmental and social initiatives.

YK Art House, for example, supports the arts by providing artists with simple accommodation through their Artist in Residence Program. This is open to creative talents interested in working in Phnom Penh.

Choose one that offers a sustainable environment.

The Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel, for example, has several initiatives.

  • Organic kitchen garden
  • Refillable glass water bottles in all rooms
  • Recycle projects and regular clean-up days
  • Vegan and vegetarian meals
  • LED lights throughout the hotel

It has also undergone an energy efficiency audit and will implement recommendations provided by a leading Australian environmental scientist.

Dine responsibly

  • Eat food that is cooked using locally-sourced ingredients.
  • Give vegetarian and vegan options a try.
  • Dine in excellent sustainable cafes and restaurants in Siem Reap. These include:

Marum

  • A restaurant that works with marginalized Cambodians and street children
  • Invests 100% of their profits into students and social programs in participation of the global TREE alliance

Sister Srey

  • A cafe that helps their staff with education
  • Participates in community projects
  • Recycles or composts almost all their waste

Haven

  • A food training and social enterprise facility that employs young adults from very poor rural communities, safe shelters, and orphanages.
  • Offers training programs that provide vocational and life skills.
  • Takes care of students financial needs while in training.

Engage in responsible activities

angkor wat tree

  • Take a hike following the Siem Reap River
  • Explore Angkor Wat and other magnificent temples on foot or on a bike
  • Explore the Royal Gardens and other magnificent parks
  • Take a ride around the city using the nonprofit White Bicycles offered by select guesthouses and accommodation
  • Watch the Phare, a high octane show that shares folktales and the history of Cambodia through acrobatics, contortion, music, and other performances. Performers are graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak, a visual and circus arts school founded by young refugees
  • Commune with nature at the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
  • Visit a floating village
  • Try your hand at arts and crafts at the Rehash Trash workshop where plastic bags are upcycled and put to good use
  • Explore the countryside and join cultural activities and foodie tours

Be a responsible shopper

  • Buy clothes accessories and other products from sustainable cafes.
    • Clothing from Sister Srey Cafe
    • Scarves and accessories from Peace Cafe
    • Upcycled products from Marum
  • Buy artisan products from local shops
    • Beautiful homewares and crafts from Angkor
    • Scarves and jewelry made according to fair trade ethics in Saomao
    • Upcycled plastic bags from Rehash Trash
    • Bags and purses made of a diverse range of old materials from Smateria

Traveling provides you an experience that you will commit to memory and revisit whenever the opportunity arises. To know that you contributed to the local society and environmental protection at the same time will give travel experience a whole new meaning.

Where to next? Check out the rest of this site for more travel secrets and tips.

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