Located just outside of Kampong Cham, Organisation for Basic Training or OBT is a Cambodian-run non-governmental organization (NGO) in Chiro Village that is dedicated to the education and empowerment of the children living in the region, while in the same time operating a tourism project that benefits the local community. Set up by Sophal in 2007, OBT Chiro Village supports children and young people through providing mainstream education, English and hospitality training programs, which in the future will give them the opportunity to work on Mekong River cruise ships or at partner organisations in Siem Reap.
As a laid-back village on the edge of the Mekong River, OBT Chiro Village is also a great attraction on the itinerary of many Mekong River Cruises, which is perfect for a day trip or a peaceful escape from the city. There, visitors can have a chance to live like locals and experience the beauty of a Khmer village. The site itself runs a system of accommodation and tourism facilities for travelers, including Bamboo Bungalows and Bamboo Restaurant with the funds supporting the school in the village. Meanwhile, there are also Chiro villagers offering homestays and activities for guests, and they will recieve the funds directly. The homestays are often traditional Khmer houses on stilts with wooden stairs, private rooms and necessary amenities for overnight stays, such as mattress, mosquito net, blankets. Whether you choose to stay with a local family or a bamboo bungalow with nice river views, you will definitely have an authentic Cambodian experience on both Khmer cuisine and the daily lives of the locals.
During your stay, OBT also offers many local activities that relate to eco-conscious creatives, such as visiting an organic farm, bees and composting hut, or joining the plastic recycling project to produce bricks and motorbike fuel from plastic bottles. You can hire bicycles and tuk-tuk to explore nearby villages, relax atop a gorgeous bamboo platform for the best views of the Mekong, or try your luck on fishing tours with a local fisherman. There are also great opportunities to become real farmers when help local villagers harvest their crops and vegetables or learn how to cook a local Khmer dish at the Bamboo Café. One way or another, you will have a wonderful time to delve into the Khmer culture and gain long lasting memories here.