Food, Lodging & Travel
The volunteer house is located just outside the Wildlife Rescue Centre where the sanctuary is located. Thus, volunteers are living less than 5km away from the sanctuary, which will only take about 10 minutes by car to reach. The accommodation is shared, but volunteers will be staying in twin rooms with private bathroom. The rooms are only same-sex with each room having two single beds. Private rooms are available for couples, however, availability is limited. Other facilities such as the kitchen are shared with other volunteers.
The house has hot water powered from solar panels, good insulation to keep the house cool, and ceiling fans in the rooms. Bedding, towels and mosquito nets are provided. There is a Wi-Fi connection at the volunteer house, but due to the location this can sometimes be scrappy, and there’s no connection at the sanctuary. There is no landline phone at the house. If you wish to make international calls, it is suggested that you purchase a local SIM card.
Volunteers are to make their own breakfast, yet items for this will be provided. This include bread, spreads, cereal, tea and coffee. Lunch is not provided, but easily purchased for $1-4 USD at the sanctuary. Volunteers are also free to make their own lunch at the house and bring it with them to the sanctuary or box up any leftovers from dinner. Whilst it’s usually possible to accommodate for all dietary needs, please be aware that vegetarian/vegan (and some food allergies) are a fairly new concept in Cambodia. Anyone with special dietary requirements should clearly state them on the application form, and it may be worth picking up some extra food from a supermarket. During the Sunday pick-up you will be taken to a supermarket in Phnom Penh to buy any additional items you want. If volunteers choose to stay at the house over the weekend they will have to make their own meals using the food provided, such as pasta, sauces, meat, vegetables etc.
Anyone who would like to volunteer at the Bear Sanctuary needs to be min. 18 years old* with good health and physically fit to be able to undertake physical activities in a hot tropical climate. It is not required to have experience with wild animal care, but should be willing to work and have a strong interest in conservation and wildlife. Volunteers need to be able to speak English to a reasonable standard.
*Exceptions are considered for students or those with experience in wildlife/conservation.
How to get there
The local staff at the bear sanctuary picks up volunteers once a week on Sundays at 1pm from a set location in Phnom Penh. The volunteer house is about an hour from Phnom Penh city. It will be the volunteers’ responsibility to be there by no later than 1pm. If you can’t arrange to arrive before 1pm on the same day, it’s then recommended that you arrive the day before and stay at a hotel at own costs.
Volunteers have to arrange their own transport back to the airport, Phnom Penh or elsewhere after finishing on the project. Volunteers can either leave on Friday afternoon after they have finished work or on Saturday morning. The local staff can assist you with arranging transport from the sanctuary if needed.
Visa for Cambodia
For most nationalities, you can get a visa on arrival at Phnom Penh airport or apply for this online before leaving home. If done upon arrival, you will need to bring two passport photos with you for the purchase of any visa, otherwise you will be charged anywhere between $1-5 at the airport for them to take one for you. Your passport needs to be valid for minimum 6 months upon entry. It is only possible to extend your visa once for another 30 days and you would need to pay an extra fee. It is not recommended to overstay the allowed time of your visa, as this could involve a penalty fee and/or not being able to enter the country again.
No health certificates or vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, unless arriving directly from Africa or a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. We recommend that you contact your own GP or local travel clinic for up-to-date advice about any recommended vaccinations.