The Five Lists of Five of Traveling Southeast Asia, OG-Style!

Written by Walker Kitchens and Kayla Siefried, 2015 SEA: Animal Conservation Program Leaders

Anyone can do a quick search on Wikipedia to learn more about  Southeast Asia or even pick up a guidebook — but where’s the fun in that? We’ve put together what you really need to know about the region – The Five Lists of Five of Traveling Southeast Asia, OG-Style!

The Best Things About Being a Permaculture Geek in Rural Cambodia

IMG_16131. Deforestation is a major issue in Cambodia with one of the worst deforestation rates in the entire world. But working as a permaculture geek can help work against that!

2. You’ll understand and appreciate why designing according to the principles of permaculture are so in line with ecosystems, and how a paradigm shift could bring vitality back to this planet!

3. You’ll meet the folks who grow food in Cambodia. Food! That’s something each and every one of us share each day; something that transcends cultures.

4. You’ll quickly come to know what ‘compost lasagne’ is, and you won’t want to eat this kind.

5. You may just learn what a hugoculture is.

What’s so Awesome About Working with Elephants?

Sid and the Elephant

1. One hundred years ago there were 100,000 elephants in Thailand (20,000 were untamed). There are now only 5,000. We’ll be working with our beloved partners at the Elephant Valley Project to learn and understand how to ensure their protection and continued existence.

2. You’ll quickly learn why forests are vital to life for all beings and why the Elephant Valley Project is working to restore forests in Cambodia.

3.  They are such majestic creatures! At birth, an elephant is 200 pounds and three feet tall. No wonder their pregnancies last 22 months!

4. You’ll get to pet their trunk! Did you know that those trunks have over 4,000 muscles in them (that’s more than a whole human). Cool!

5. You’ll become quickly accustomed to the smell of elephant poop (yes, that counts as awesome!)

What you Need to Know About Kayla and Walker

Kayla and Walker!

1. Kayla loves food. A lot. Get used to hearing moaning and mmmmming when you sit beside her at the dinner table.

2. They sorta look like siblings, but they’re not.

3. Kayla loves games and gets child-like giddy when she gets to play one she loves.

4. Walker will spend too much time taking photos. Feel free to tell him to put the camera away and drag him along.

5. We love story time. There are few things better than listening to and sharing a good story.

Some Unlikely Trivia About Cambodia


1.By the turn of the 14th century, Angkor was the largest city in the world with a population of a million people and a footprint twice the size of Los Angeles. It’s now one of the world’s greatest monuments.

2. Spoiler alert! We’re going to be eating lots of rice. Good thing Cambodia has mastered the ability to cook rice in so many good ways. It’s even a delicious dessert — mango sticky rice!

3. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish on a Moped! In Phnom Penh there are 1.5 million people and 1.3 million mopeds. They’re used for everything — 5+ person carpools, a bed for a quick nap, moving furniture, and just about everything else you can imagine!

4. Cambodia is the only country in which KFC is losing money. Take that Colonel Sanders!

5. Cambodia is the only country to have a building on their national flag. Who knew?

Interesting Tidbits About Thailand

Temples of Thailand

1. In the 19th century, Bangkok was known as the “Venice of the East” for its extensive canal system. Though many of the khlongs (canals) have since been paved over, they still form an extensive network of waterways.

2. Thailand prides itself in being the only country in Southeast Asia that was not directly colonized by European powers.

3. Approximately 95% of the population practices Buddhism.

4. Bangkok is one of the world’s great cities for food. The street food on every corner will knock your socks off. But be prepared to eat without a knife. A spoon and a fork are all you need!

5. Songkran (Thai New Years) is the most fun water fight/party you will ever have. It’s three days of laughing, running, and being totally drenched by thousands of new friends!

Ready to experience all of these incredible things yourself?
Apply for our Southeast Asia: Animal Conservation program today!