Discova Educational Travel Tour Guide

Cultivating Engaged Global Citizens: Service Learning with Cambodian Guide Vuttha Dam

October 2, 2023

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia beckons with its rich history, vibrant culture, and unique service-learning opportunities. As a DMC dedicated to positively impacting disadvantaged communities, we are excited to introduce you to Vuttha Dam, an exceptional Cambodian tour guide who has been instrumental in crafting authentic service-learning experiences for our educational travel groups.

Get to know Vuttha, whose commitment to education, cultural understanding, and community engagement has helped make Cambodia a prime destination for meaningful service-learning adventures.

A Catalyst for Change: Getting to Know Vuttha Dam  

Vuttha has been an English-speaking tour guide in Siem Reap, his hometown, since 2000. He joined Discova (then Buffalo Tours in Asia) in 2010, and began leading educational tours from 2012 onwards. Since then, he has led hundreds of student groups from all over the world and has become an incredibly popular choice with many of our educational travel partners.

Vuttha Dam - Discova Tour Guide
Vuttha has been a tour guide with Discova since 2010, and continues to be an exceptional ambassador for our Educational Travel segment.
Interested in sending your students on a service learning trip to Cambodia?

No stranger to the struggles of poverty in Cambodia, Vuttha has worked hard to be where he is today. He is determined to share the incredible spirit of his country with students, but also to be part of the positive development of some of the poorest communities surrounding Siem Reap.

“I don’t have a degree from a university. From 1999 to 2005, l was also a Buddhist temple boy, and my dream was to be a lawyer. Poverty and starvation drove me to be a tour guide, which later on l became very passionate about. I love to support, share and facilitate both local communities and student groups. I love sharing our beautiful country’s rich culture and friendly people to the outside world and also bringing the groups to see and learn about the real Cambodia. This is a great opportunity for students to see, to learn, to understand, to experience, to gain their personal growth.”

Bridging Borders: Fostering Cultural Exchange and Empathy

Vuttha guides student groups through every step of the journey throughout their service learning trips, acting as both a linguistic and cultural translator between the students and the communities they visit. His personal history and awareness of life in rural Siem Reap, as well as his long-time educational travel experience and knowledge, make him a perfect cultural ambassador and trip companion.

Trei Nhoar village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Life in the slow lane: locals drive past one of the homestays student groups can experience in Siem Reap's rural countryside.

“Most of the groups spend some of their time at the homestay in the communities, where students and locals have opportunities to interact, to learn and understand from each other culture and way of life. The students also help to build schools, libraries, restrooms, play grounds, water pumps, water filter stations, incinerators and many other things. So these charity works were not only helping the communities, but it also was one of the best experiences for students to learn about kindness, love and sharing to others.

One of my main responsibilities in facilitating the interaction is by helping in translation, as the majority of locals don’t speak English. There were so many interesting activities including rice planting, making baskets, brooms, rice milling, cooking local cake, cooking classes, and dancing around the camp fire with our traditional music instruments…those are my favourite activities to share. I love to help share these traditions when I translate.”

Farming village life in Trei Nhoar, Siem Reap - Discova Educational Travel
Students can learn about the daily practices of local farmers in Trei Nhoar, Siem Reap (with the translation support of guides like Vuttha, of course).

Vuttha has been a part of and led student groups to many of our community development projects around Siem Reap, more recently including the build of a learning hub for the Knapor community, and infrastructure development in the Trei Nhoar Commune.

Interested in sending your students on a service learning trip to Cambodia?

Beyond the Classroom: Lessons from Cambodian Communities

Vuttha has said that for many visiting students groups, getting involved with a service learning project in rural Cambodia has incredibly positive effects, often hearing students refer to these experiences as “life-changing”. Most have never come face to face with the harsh challenges of poverty, and through these educational trips are not only able to support the development of the communities who need it most, but grow their empathy as they learn about the contrasting realities of others’ lives.

Learning centre for Knapor, Cambodia
Where once there was a simple forest school with a few chairs and tables placed outside, the Knapor community now has a sheltered learning hub thanks to the contributions of various student groups.

“I love showing people the real Cambodia, this country has its own diverse culture and history. l have chance to represent Cambodians to the world, and guiding educational groups is the greatest opportunity to share our culture. I also love being me, enthusiastic, keep smiling most of the time, willing to fulfill the needs of the groups, patient and treating everyone like l treat my most beloved family and friends.

For students to see the real thing with their eyes and hearts is the best way. Also to be introduced to what they have never encountered before, is an eye opening experience for many. Their lifestyles are very different to that of people in the Cambodian countryside, and these trips give students the chance to learn and understand a different of way of life, and other people’s struggles.”

Impact Amplified: Reviews and Lasting Change

“Best tour guide ever”. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve received reviews with this exact phrase about Vuttha Dam. His guidance on tours (both educational and leisure) have had such lasting impressions on clients over the years, that many have also described their trips to Cambodia as the best they’ve ever experienced. In our industry we often say that tour guides “make or break” trips, and Vuttha has proven just how often he has made a trip. With the right attitude, on-the-ground destination knowledge and personal cultural insights, he, along with many of our exceptional Cambodia tour guides, have facilitated unforgettable journeys.

Here are just a few of the outstanding reviews Vuttha has received in the past year alone:

Ranvir Gulati
Read More
Our guide Mr. Vuttha Dam is among the most genial, helpful and overall positive person I have ever met! He never let our group down any time during the trip, always being by our side, whether it be in the village homestay or the restaurants in the cities! He was constantly ensuring that we were comfortable, and continued to ceaselessly provide for us. The way he carries himself and cares for us shows confidence and passion beyond that of many others. I will always miss his husky voice and his beautiful smile!
Read More
During my trip at Cambodia which was a total of 11 days I had the most lovely, caring and comforting guide that I have ever encountered. Mr Vuttha. Mr Vuttha cared for us and made sure all our needs were met and that our safety and experience was fully delivered with a whole heart. He not only speaks to people with so much respect and the way he carries himself to out is very wholesome, whilst professional; but he also ensures we have the peace of mind when exploring Cambodia and puts our experience before himself! Mr Vuttha is one of the best and most respectful people I have ever met and 100% makes me want to come back to Cambodia for both the experience he gave me but also just to see and spend time with him 😊
Emerson Casola
Read More
I can confidently say that Vuttha Dam is the best tour guide I’ve ever had. That is topping any I’ve had in the US and the many I’ve had in places like China. I had him as a guide of my final school trip my senior year. He is so accommodating and genuinely loves his job and sharing the history and experiences of Cambodia. If we needed anything he’d do whatever he could to help. I know a tour guide can make or break a trip and Vuttha defined saved ours on many occasions. He is incredibly approachable and made me feel very safe in a country where I didn’t understand nearly any of the language. I would definitely recommend him for your Cambodian journey!
Mootoosamy Wesley
Read More
An outstanding, knowledgeable and humble guide. The trip would not have been such an amazing experience without him. A dedicated human being and a hard working soul. Same for Mr. Pov, our driver, who diligently drove us around for the whole trip. Mr. Vuttha has been such an inspiration to our young students that were with us. All the trip schedule were on time and all went to the perfection. Any disturbance which occurred was immediately dealt with and sorted out to our convenience. On my personal behalf, I would like to thank Mr. Vuttha for his support and time in making this Cambogia CAS trip such a success and a wonderful experience. He will be deeply missed and I STRONGLY recommend Mr. Vuttha for any future trips which involves our International school.

Let’s talk

Educational Travel

Request a quote, book a meeting, ask a question, or share a dream

Receive news like this directly in your inbox

Subscribe to the dedicated Discova Educational Travel mailing list

Subscribe to Discova's B2B Travel News & Updates

and stay at the forefront of new product offerings, Discova behind-the-scenes, destination news, travel trends and thought leadership articles from our on-the-ground experts.

© 2024 Discova. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to Discova's Monthly B2B Newsletter

and stay at the forefront of new product offerings, Discova behind-the-scenes, destination news, travel trends and thought leadership articles from our on-the-ground experts.