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Cambodia Bear Sanctuary

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
from £495 (5 days)

Ref: AV079

Take this opportunity to look more than 120 Sun and Moon bears that have been rescued from many situations - from the hands of poachers, the black market, the horrific bile farm industry and from those who use them for entertainment or keep them as exotic pets.  Volunteers will work at the sanctuary just outside of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh and will have a once in a life time chance to experience rural Cambodian life.  The bears are looked after in forested and green enclosures, which have natural rocky outcrops, climbing frames and pools - a far cry from the lives they once knew. 

Who can join: 18 years of age and over
Accommodation: Dedicated Volunteer House
Transfer time: Approx. 1 hour
Pick up Point: Phnom Penh City Centre
Meals: Included as indicated
Volunteer numbers: approx. 6

Duration & Fees

5 days£495
12 days£795
19 days£1,065
28 days£1,275

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Start Dates

Volunteers can join on any Monday throughout the year.

This project is open over the festive season


£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Transfer on your start date from the pick up place in Phnom Penh  - details will be provided in pre-departure pack
  • Accommodation
  • Daily breakfast and dinner from Sunday to Thursday
  • Orientation and support from the project staff 
  • Internet in the volunteer house when available

What's not included

  • Return flights to Phnom Penh International Airport
  • Tuk tuk (taxi from airport to the meeting point in Phnom Penh)
  • return transfer on your departure day (approx 10 - 15 USD)
  • Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Lunch at the proejct base (approximately 1 - 4 USD a day)
  • Visas if required
  • Use of telephone
  • Soft drinks, alchol and snacks


  • Work at the world’s largest Sun Bear sanctuary
  • Be a part of the work being done to stop the cruel treatment of these bears throughout Asia
  • Look after an endangered species
  • Learn all about the problems these bears face and help educate visitors about these wild bears
  • Meet other wildlife enthusiasts and explore Cambodia

The project, which was set up in 1995, specialises in rescuing bears from some dreadful situations.  The Sun and Moon (black Asiatic) bears at the project have been rescued from a wide variety of situations and locations. Some of the bears are taken to butchering restaurants where bear paw soup is served and others provide caged entertainment in hotels. The project also rescues bears from the black-market where certain parts would be used in traditional medicines or sold as souvenirs, rescued from forest snares or saved from poachers who sell orphaned bear cubs as exotics pets. Bears are also rescued when they have been illegally smuggled across borders with the intention of using them in the horrific bear bile farms industry, or been have been donated to the project by owners who have kept them as pets, often neglecting them.

The Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is a large centre that houses many endangered species from across Cambodia including tigers, Asian elephants and gibbons. It is located 1 hour (40km) south of Phnom Penh. The bear rescue project is located within the Rescue Centre and the bears are housed in 24 large outdoor enclosures covering approximately 8 hectares. The enclosures have been designed to provide a comfortable and interesting environment for the bears including large rocky outcrops, native fauna, climbing frames, elevated platforms, pools and other enrichments to entertain and occupy the bears to ensure they have a happy and healthy life. The centre accepts a range of bears, of all ages and personalities. 

Volunteers can help keepers care for the rescued Sun bears and Moon bears from a minimum of one week to a maximum of eight weeks. Volunteers do not need to have previous experience of large wild animal care but they will need to be willing and enthusiastic about wildlife conservation. You will be fully trained by the centres experienced keepers and supervised during your activities. 

Daily tasks will include building new enrichments for the bears and improving the existing ones to keep the bears challenged and entertained in their environment. Foraging for food is one of the bears main activities in the wild so the more challenging you can make the puzzles they need to beat to get their treats the better!. Watching them play and have fun finding their food around their camp is a highlight for the volunteers and one where you will not be able to fail to smile! You will also carry out repairs and maintenance to the enclosures and surrounding areas, give the bears their daily feeds and of course clean their enclosure too once they are in their holding pens.  Your induction will provide you with the information you need in order to work safely to ensure the safety of yourself and the bears. The tropical climate means the work can be hot, sweaty and dirty but it is an immensely rewarding chance to be part of a constantly developing project that is so important in preserving Cambodian wildlife and providing a sanctuary for bears rescued from appalling conditions. You will also have the chance to pass on the new information you learn to visitors to the centre, helping raise awareness of the plight of the bears.  Obviously, direct physical contact is not possible as these are large wild animals and could potentially be dangerous. Volunteer’s contributions will make critical improvements to enabling the centre to rescue and care for more endangered bears. Volunteers will benefit from a unique and amazing opportunity to work alongside endangered and incredible animals that have often been rescued from appalling conditions and make a lasting difference to their lives and wellbeing.  A really rewarding project where you will not fail to see the difference that dedication to the plight of these bears can make!

There is a minimum age limit of 21 to take part in the project due to the nature of the work undertaken on the project but persons ages 18 years of age and over may be considered if they are students of a relevant field eg animal management, zoology, biology, veterinary science etc.

Extra Information

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre

Whilst on the project, you will have the chance to take advantage of the fact that you are working in part of Cambodia's premier zoological conservation park. The park hosts the widest and most diverse range of animals indigenous to Cambodia including endangered species that are very rarely spotted in the wild. The animals live in large enclosures that are made to be as close to their natural environment as possible and the park hosts a number of conservation and animal breeding programmes.

Phnom Penh

As the project base is only 40 km from Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, it is the perfect weekend destination for volunteers. The riverside city is characterised by its wide and neat roads and historic monuments and miss-mash architecture from traditional Cambodian to colonial Dutch and French. Don’t miss out on the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum and the Wat Phnom and Wat Ounalom temples as well as taking a riverboat ride on the famous Mekong River. Other must see’s in the city are Tuol Sleng prison and the infamous Killing Fields, where you can learn about Cambodia’s recent turbulent history under the Khmer Rouge.

The city has plenty of markets, from food markets to bazaars offering everything imaginable. Visit the Art deco central market, which built during the French colonial era of 1937 for jewellery, antiques and souvenirs. On days when the temperatures rise, why not visit the local water park and make the most of the water slides and pools.

Siem Reap

Although Siem Reap is over 4 hours away, it is well worth visiting one of the Ancient Wonders of the world, Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is the gateway to the largest religious monument in the world where you will find the historic and iconic Buddhist temples, which are one of the must see things in Cambodia. You can hire bicycles or tuk tuks and explore the acres of land, and climb up hills on elephants to watch the sun magically set over the ancient buildings. Siem Reap is also a great place for eating and drinking with a plethora of cuisines on offer and has the Old Market area, great for souvenirs and people watching.


Cambodia's premier island and beach resort for a change of pace during your weekends off! There is a wide variety of accommodation and entertainment on offer from the dozen unspoilt surrounding islands, idyllic beaches to scuba diving, trail biking or bars and casinos.

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into Phnom Penh International Airport on their Sunday start date where we can arrange an tuk tuk to take you to the meeting point for your inclusive transfer to the project base at 2pm. The meeting point is at a Phenom Penh Cafe. If you arrive before your start date we can also arrange a tuk tuk to take you to a recommended meeting place.  Volunteers can be taken back to the airport for their departure flight or if they have onward travel plans and the project staff will arrange this transfer on request (approx 10USD)

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can arrange any flight requirements that you have upon request.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryPhnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryPhnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryPhnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryPhnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryPhnom Penh, Cambodia, Cambodia Bear SanctuaryThe project accommodation is based on the outskirts of a rural Cambodian village, roughly 10km away from the sanctuary. Accommodation in the dedicated volunteer house consists of single sex shared twin rooms. A cleaner, cook and security guard look after the house and prepare dinner but volunteers are expected to help with domestic duties.  It is a peaceful and fantastic place to relax and socialise and there is a beautiful pool and decking area.

A laundry service is available for a small charge. A free internet service is provided in the house but please note the service may be intermittent or unavailable. Internet services are also widely available in Phnom Penh.

Transport to and from the project by car is provided on working days.  

Daily breakfast and evening meals are provided at the volunteer accommodation each day apart from Friday and Saturday when volunteers arrange their own meals.

Lunch can be purchased on site for approximately 1 - 4 USD a day or volunteers can buy and make their own lunch and take it with them at the volunteer house.

Click here to view the full interactive mapCambodia


Sitting on the right hand side of the Gulf of Thailand in southern Indochina is the Kingdom of Cambodia as it is officially known. This Buddhist country, filled with historic temples that have been ravaged by nature, cities full of colonial architecture, the Cambodian Royals and a dark recent historical past, provides a perfect mix of culture, history and adventure. Bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east, it is possible to explore by bicycle the serene World Heritage Site of the empire world - Angkor Wat - the eighth wonder of the world - and the destruction of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge at the old school of Tuol Sleng.

Before the country was dragged into the Vietnam War and became a battlefield, it was celebrated as a fertile and tranquil Buddhist land, with traditional and cultural arts. The county boasts the famous Mekong River and the Sap and Bassac Rivers that snake through the county towards Pnom Penh offering river cruising and even dolphin watching.

The southern coast is home to the seaside resorts of Kompong Som, Kep and Shianoukville, rich in diving and other water sports. The hill stations of Bokor and Kirirom are cool retreats while the Tonle Sap Lake, between the gateway of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap is the lifeline of the country on which many of the country’s fishermen and agricultural farmers depend.

Highlights of country

  • The ancient temples of Angkor Wat and the famous Mekong River
  • Preah Barom Reachea Vaeng Chaktomuk – The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
  • The southern coast beaches in the Gulf of Thailand
  • Cool hill stations in the south
  • Borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam


Summer (June - October) 33 °C 30 °C
Winter (November - May) 40 °C 20 °C

Cambodia, as most of South-East Asia, has a tropical climate, making it warm all year round and dominated by the annual monsoons giving wet and dry seasons which are split into three phases.

The monsoon season lasts from May until July and sometimes even until November. The wettest months are September and October. During the monsoon the weather is hot and humid, with vast outbursts of heavy rain in the afternoons which last for a few hours. April is the hottest month, when temperatures can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius.

After the monsoon season is the cool dry period, lasting from November until February. This is the most popular time to visit. The last phase is the hot and dry season, which begins in late February and lasts until May.

Key Facts

Population – 14.86 million
Capital – Phnom Penh
Currency – Cambodian Riel (KHR)
Official languages – Khmer
Time difference – GMT + 7
Telephone - +855

Cambodia Bear Sanctuary

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Cambodia Bear Sanctuary.  Its an incredible organisation with hard working dedicated staff. This organisation is very well structured and they do the very best to care for the bears. Their enclosures are as close to natural as you can get and enrichment is made a priority. Thank you for the opportunity, I do hope to volunteer again in the future as I've been on 9 different projects now and yours is one of the best.

Bes, UK (Cambodia Bear Sanctuary)

Cambodia Bear Sanctuary

I recently volunteered for a day at the Cambodia Bear sanctuary. 
What a brilliant experience and one I would recommend anyone to do.
 The sanctuary do so much kind, compassionate work with regards to rescuing and rehoming bears who've come from horrific circumstances.
 If I go back to Cambodia again, will definitely book volunteering there again  :)

Brenda (Cambodia Bear Sanctuary)

Cambodia Bear Sanctuary

I volunteered at the Cambodia Bear Sanctuary and it has truly been an amazing and rewarding experience. These bears need all our attention and it is crucial that people help organizations like this and adopt an ethical behavior in regards of their utilization and perception of wildlife. 
I also met amazing people there, the permanent team as well as the volunteers working with me, and I could not recommend this experience enough. 

Megan (Cambodia Bear Sanctuary)

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