Changing the world, one café at a time

Not far from the mystical temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia sits a café, set up with support from the University of Cambridge, that provides an opportunity for tourists to give back to the local community with its approach of 'people, planet, profits'.

Along the river front in Siem Reap in north-western Cambodia, the smell of amok, the sweet, fermented fish stock that underpins Khmer cuisine, hangs in the air as tourists dodge between tuk-tuks and hawkers selling deep-fried scorpions on sticks.

International visitors provide a significant boost to the city’s population of just under 140,000. Cambodia had more than six million visitors in 2018, most of whom headed to Siem Reap to visit the fabled Angkor Wat. This spectacular temple complex, the largest religious building in the world, is just one of around 50 temples that sit within Angkor, the ancient capital city of the Khmer Empire. Many of these are reminders of the fragility of civilisations: once great buildings now reclaimed by nature, where the roots of colossal trees snake over roofs and crash through walls.

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