Educational Adventures in Cambodia and Nepal


My Non-Conventional Cambodian Christmas

Christmas for me normally consists of the following things: flying home to good old England, walking through the door, receiving a suffocating hug from my parents (suffocating is, of course, meant in the most affectionate way possible) and then eating. The eating generally doesn’t ever stop, just ebbs and flows like the tide. So when Christmas 2013 rolled around and I found myself facing a 1000km bike ride across Cambodia — and a whole lot of rice — needless to say I was ever so slightly nervous.

Maybe you’re wondering what on earth drove me to forego the usual food-based festivities in favour of risking a month of inevitable, interminable muscle pain. The honest answer is adventure. I wanted to see something new. To smell something new. To taste something new. But when I signed up for the PEPY Ride XI, I never imagined that, above all of the things I just mentioned, I would feel something new. And that something, whatever it was, has more or less changed the way I look at the world and all the funny, strange, sad, glorious, confusing and downright brilliant things in it.

Read Megan’s full article on the blog!


Are you ready to push your limits? Have you been searching for an epic adventure? Do you want to see a different side of Cambodia, one most tourists never experience?

Did you just shout, “YES!” to the questions above?

Then PEPY Ride X is for you!

Described by National Geographic Traveler as one of their “Top Tours of a Lifetime,” this year’s PEPY Ride is not to be missed.  Not only is PEPY Tours kicking off the trip with a rockin’ reunion party, but founder Daniela Papi will be joining in the adventure as well.

After the party dust has settled, take off on a brand new route across Cambodia with past PEPY Riders and staff, old friends, and new faces too.  Pedal east across the mighty Mekong and delve into a side of Cambodia most PEPY Tours trips have yet to explore!

A few highlights:

  • Be Indiana Jones for the day, exploring the temple ruins at Beng Mealea
  • Ride through Koh Ker, former capital of the grand Khmer Empire
  • Spot rare, freshwater dolphins in Kratie
  • Learn from one of our favorite local NGO partners, CRDT, as well as other social ventures, nonprofits, and community activists along the way
  • Cycle less-traveled roads through the ‘cradle of Khmer civilization’
  • Get updated on PEPY’s current programs and find out what is in store for the coming year

Date: December 27, 2014 – January 10, 2015

Cost: $1,450

Fundraising: $1,000

Want more information? Learn more on the PEPY Tours website, or contact them directly via [email protected].

Can the Short-term Volunteer Model Work? via Serve Smart

The effectiveness and ethics of short-term volunteer trips has long been a subject of heated discussion. On one hand, it is very difficult to develop the trust and respect that is necessary to build a productive working relationship in a 1-2 week period. On the other hand, taking 1-2 years off of work or school to volunteer abroad is a huge commitment that not many people can afford to make. Last week, I talked through these issues with Sarah Brown from PEPY Tours, which runs culturally-immersive educational tours in Cambodia for those looking to learn more responsible ways to travel.

Read more on the Serve Smart blog!

Cambodia’s Orphanage Tourism

Two of PEPY Tours’ own, Daniela Papi and Anna Baranova were featured in an article today shedding light on the darker side of orphanage tourism and ways to combat the growing travel trend.

Voluntourism in Cambodia can be counterproductive – How to actually help

Written by Michael Aquino,

Tourists often travel to Cambodia not just to see its sights, but to do good deeds too. Cambodia is a fertile field for charity; thanks to its bloody recent history (read about the Khmer Rouge and their extermination camp in Tuol Sleng), the kingdom is one of Southeast Asia’s least developed and most poverty-stricken countries, where disease, malnutrition, and death occur at higher rates than in the rest of the region.

Cambodia’s become the destination du jour for a different kind of package tour: “voluntourism”, which takes visitors away from their posh Siem Reap resorts and into orphanages and poor communities. There’s an oversupply of suffering, and there’s no shortage of tourists with good intentions (and charity dollars) to spare.

Read the whole article here.

1 Bike. 1,000 km.

We were so lucky our friend Thavry could join us as a leader for the ninth annual PEPY Ride! After returning from her 1,000 km adventure, Thavry wrote an excellent blog post about her experience and the challenges she faced breaking through cultural norms.

“First of all, I am fighting against a cultural barrier that always says a girl should not travel far from home. In Cambodia many people still believe that it is better for women to stay home in order to cook and take care of the children.It is safe to do this way! But I want to show that women can do many things with their lives.”

Her article is not only inspiring to Cambodian women, challenging them to test their limits and not be held back by their gender, but to people all over the world. Even if you can’t journey to Cambodia you can take a trip around your own country and gain a greater appreciation for where you came from.

Read her whole story on her blog, Thavry Journey.



Tourism for Change

Jenna Ke, communications and fundraising officer at our sister NGO, PEPY was published in Global South Development Magazine, a quarterly magazine focusing on development issues around the world.

In her article, Tourism For Change, Jenna explains how PEPY combats the negative effects of voluntourism through our educational trips.

“Its tours are a new type of travel, one centered on learning and engaging instead of merely observing and giving things away.”

You can read Jenna’s full article (on page 9) here.