If Cambodia’s not on your list of potential TEFL destinations, it should be! There’s plenty of unusual and awe-inspiring activities to be enjoyed in your spare time. Plus, it’s got a sunny climate and you don’t need a degree to teach English there – winner!
Eat a deep-fried chilli tarantula at Siem Reap’s night market
Yep, you heard us right. The title pretty much says it all. In Siem Reap’s night market you’ll find bowls of tarantulas ready to be eaten whole. In fact, grubs, bugs and creepy-crawlies are devoured all across Cambodia. It’s a far cry from Scotland’s deep-fried Mars bars but you know what they say – if you want to feel like a local, you’ve got to eat like a local!
Step back 800 years at Ta Prohm
If you’re seeking an other-worldly experience it’s hard to beat the magical creation of Ta Prohm’s nature-versus-human architecture. Here the giant roots of the powerful jungle trees have tangled their way into the stone corridors, statues and courtyards of the ancient Buddhist temple creating a Jungle-Book-esque structure. It’s definitely worth a visit on your day off!
Time-travel with the bamboo railway
Cambodia is fast becoming more and more modern, so the bamboo trains once used for transporting goods are making a swift exit. But if you want to experience travel as it used to be, head for the newly rebuilt line at Battambang. You’ll have a thrilling ride as you perch on a low-slung bamboo trolley (basically, a few slats of wood) and bump down the rickety track. It’s loads of fun and a must-do if you’re teaching English in Cambodia.
Take a boat to the floating villages at Tonle Sap Lake
It’s not just endangered birds and marine life that you’ll spot on a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake – you’re just as likely to see livestock and even a temple gently bob by. In fact, whole villages live on the water here! Aim for the less touristy Kampong Khleang if you want an insight into the day-to-day reality of life afloat. If you’ve got room, bring some soap, toothbrushes and schoolbooks for the children and you’ll be everyone’s favourite!
Read ancient etchings at Kbal Spean
Around 50km northeast of Siem Reap, deep in the Angkor jungle, runs the small Kbal Spean River. And it’s packed full of spectacularly-carved, ancient fertility symbols. It seems everywhere you turn you’ll spot a symbolic Hindu etching or a simple cobblestone-like “linga” (a phallic symbol)! You’ll even find engravings on the riverbed itself. All-in-all, it’s an eye-opening day trip that’s worth a look!
Walk on water at Kampong Chan
Every year the rainy season high tides demolish the bamboo bridge across the Mekong River at Kampong Chan. And every year, it’s built up again – transporting people, cars and goods across the mighty Mekong River. Wobble your way over what’s probably the world’s longest bamboo bridge and you’ll really appreciate the enduring dedication that goes into this annual creation.