About Butterfly Tours

Guides
Our Butterfly Family

Butterfly Tours is a locally-run, Cambodian students’ company that seeks to introduce visitors to the rich yet often unseen interiors of Battambang, Siem Reap, and Kampot. All our tours are led by local student leaders—a majority of whom come from the countryside themselves—who are keen to share their extensive knowledge about Cambodian communities, its people, and traditions. Visitors taking our tours are guaranteed an experience like no other; besides viewing truly local and stunning sights, you will simultaneously be supporting an eco-friendly and sustainable effort that directly benefits rural Cambodian communities.

 

Kid
Cambodia’s Children

Butterfly Tours goes beyond being an ordinary tour company. As advocates of young Cambodian leadership, we believe in the power of education and the development of entrepreneurship. Our stance reflects the ultimate aim of our company: To create local, empowered, and independent Cambodian employers and employees who will ultimately contribute to the development of Cambodia’s local economy and the environment.

 

Butterfly Tours’ work corresponds to the ongoing challenges of Cambodia’s tourism industry. A recent report by The Cambodia Daily in September 2016 noted that while tourism is Cambodia’s third largest industry—with the Cambodian government aiming to generate $5 billion in revenues by 2020—profits from the sector have not benefitted a majority of local Cambodians who lack access and connection to the tools of tourism, including education. This inaccessibility can be clearly seen within the many Cambodian communities who continue to live below the poverty line. In view of these challenges, Butterfly Tours recruits and works with young students from rural villages, providing training in tour guiding and English speaking skills. Our recruits, however, are never confined to their roles as guides; as they develop their skills, our guides eventually take on larger responsibilities and become company shareholders—developing into young leaders in their own right. While Butterfly Tours’ work may be small when compared to the larger context of Cambodia’s tourism industry, we believe our efforts are nonetheless significant and crucial in challenging boundaries of local ownership and grassroots-level empowerment.

 

For further reading on Cambodia’s tourism industry and its resonance to the local community, do check out these articles:

Angkor’s Tourism Boom

Siem Reap: Tourism and Poverty

Challenges of Cambodia’s Tourism Industry

Our tours are specially designed for you to:

  • Take a relaxing bike ride through local Cambodian villages in Battambang, Siem Reap, and Kampot—away from the usual tourist hotspots
  • View and photograph magnificent scenery of the Cambodian countryside
  • Observe Cambodia’s rural ways of life—visit local temples and learn about the variety of cottage industries, as well as our rich agricultural livelihoods
  • Immerse yourself in “the local”—sample authentic Cambodian cuisine and learn about our unique Khmer customs and culture!
  • Meet friendly Cambodian children and villagers!

Our tours benefit local Cambodian communities:

  • We train local students and youths to be your guides, in turn offering them employment and leadership opportunities
  • We personally nurture and develop leadership and managerial skills of our Butterfly team members, who are made up of Cambodian youths from the countryside
  • Within villages, we engage local Cambodians to share their knowledge and skills with us, who in turn share them with you when you take our tours!

On a larger scale, our tours seek to:

  • Educate visitors on the socio-cultural and economic landscape of Cambodia
  • Deepen visitors’ knowledge on local Cambodian cultures and customs
  • Support the integrity of local cultures by favouring businesses and local goods that conserve the cultural heritage and traditional values of Cambodia
  • Support the local economy through the purchase of local goods from small Cambodian businesses
  • Conserve the local environment by engaging businesses that are eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Develop sustainable forms of tourism that create more jobs and support local Cambodian trade and investment