A Unique Field Trip to Siem Reap’s Most Environmentally Sustainable Hotel

By William Coward, ACE Siem Reap Campus Manager

In Term 1, ACE Siem Reap Diploma Program students enrolled in Environment: Greening Our Future had the incredible opportunity to visit Jaya House River Park on a field trip. Jaya House River Park is one of Siem Reap's top hotels; it’s renowned for its commitment to ecologically responsible and sustainable business practices, and for its activism in helping to improve Siem Reap's local environment. Diploma Program students met with the Managing Director, Christian De Boer, to learn how successful businesses can also be responsible and take leadership in social and environmental matters.

Representatives from Jaya House River Park speak to a group of students

Student Testimonials

“On the field trip to Jaya House River Park, I learned a lot of things from the manager. He told us how to protect our environment. He also told us that if we want something, ignore people who say you can’t do it; if you think you can, you can do it.

Jaya House River Park uses biodegradable things instead of plastic. For example, it uses straws that are made from bamboo instead of plastic. This helps to protect our environment.”— Sarith Lyza

“I learned a lot the day we went to Jaya House River Park. The most important thing I learned is to be punctual. Always remember that first impressions do matter, in fact, they’re crucial.

I’m not the type of person who believes in myself or thinks that I can do anything better than study hard and get a simple job, but Christian really inspired me and made me start to believe that I can do a lot more. It doesn’t depend on the amount of money you have, what matters is that you believe in what you’re doing, you try hard, you are patient and you never give up. There is no easy beginning but hard work leads to an easy future.

Not only that, I also know more about the environment and how to convince people to reduce the amount of plastic they use in their daily life. Moreover, hearing about the history of Jaya House River Park makes me believe that anything can happen and that anything can be done, you just have to put your trust, time and effort into it and have a little bit of luck.” — Chan Chen Bormey

“Last Saturday, we went on a field trip to Jaya House River Park. In this hotel, we saw a lot of things such as old radios, mirrors and so on, and we also met the manager. He talked about the Cambodian environment, especially the Siem Reap River that is in front of the hotel. He said that the Siem Reap River has a lot of rubbish such as plastic bags and coconuts. He also talked about many other problems that are connected with this river, and gave solutions that relate to these problems. He said that one person could do anything if they believed in themselves and if they came up with some good ideas and solutions, other people may also follow their ideas. Moreover, he told ACE students that if you can do something and believe in yourself, you’ll be very successful in your life.” — Proueng Voleak Vichheka

A beautiful view of the hotel and its pool

“After attending the field trip to one of the most famous hotels in Siem Reap, my classmates and I obtained many ideas from the General Manager of Jaya House River Park. This hotel is peacefully located alongside the Siem Reap River. It is the first hotel that is really taking care of the environment. The General Manager, Christian De Boer, distributed many ideas about how to secure the environment.

Firstly, we are not able to secure our environment and change the world quickly, but we are able to change the life of one person by convincing and educating them one by one. We must protect our environment by preventing people from using any kind of plastic such as straws, bottles, bags, etc. The very first place to start is to encourage our family, friends and the people closest to us to not use these objects which are made of plastic. After that, each of them will inform other people around them. Consequently, there will be good implications if people understand how important our environment is, and how harmful these plastic commodities are.

Secondly, making change is about being intellectual. If we are rich, we are not able to have everything. On the other hand, if we are rich in our mind, we can have everything we want. The General Manager of the hotel came up with a variety of different ideas on how to make the hotel eco-friendly. In addition, customers feel like they are in a very secure and healthy place staying in this hotel. For instance, by using bamboo straws, glass bottles, natural shampoo etc., he focused on how to prevent many things which are harmful to the environment, especially plastic. As a result, the hotel has an immense volume of customers annually. Furthermore, some other hotels have started to do the same things, copying its ideas.

What the General Manager does is out of a passion for protecting the environment. After advising us, he said that he wanted to see us being bosses or managers doing the same thing and saving the environment. We must not give up on things easily, but we must attempt to succeed. For instance, if you think it is impossible to succeed, you should try to make it feasible. In addition, we have to try undertaking rather than thinking that our objectives or new things are impossible to achieve. He also mentioned that we do not have to listen to others if they are trying to tell us that it is impossible for us to achieve. Hence, if you have your dreams to transform the world into a healthy and green place, you should believe in yourself that you can do it and take action.

In conclusion, Christian De Boer, General Manager of Jaya House River Park, has advised us, motivated us and encouraged us to save our environment.” — Lim Roma

About the Refill Not Landfill Campaign

Jaya House River Park has been running for over a year and it is famous for its campaign “Refill not Landfill”.

This campaign was launched at the same time as the opening of the hotel. The campaign aims to reduce the number of plastic bottles by offering reusable aluminium bottles to its customers. Bottles and straws are replaced by recycled products, meaning that if they are used once, they can be cleaned and used again. There are about 100 stations to refill the hotel’s water.

Staff from Jaya House River Park selling their water bottles and building awareness about the environment 

ACE students had the opportunity to interview Yan Sophea, an Assistant Sales Manager at Jaya House River Park.

When we discussed the hotel’s initiative, Sophea told us, “It saves money and the environment. It eliminates rubbish that has a negative impact on the environment. Moreover, plastic takes years to decompose and it affects the growth of trees and plants.”

When Sophea explained how his customers feel about the campaign, he said, “They [customers] are delighted to hear that there is no plastic used in the hotel. They also give some advice about recycling. Almost everyone is happy to use the services and hardly anyone is against the implementation of zero-plastic use in the hotel.”

When asked to give his impression of the ACE student visit, he excitedly told us, “I am very excited to be a part of the event. The workshop helps educate us on the impacts of using plastic. I hope the kids will use the information to teach their friends about this issue.” He continued by saying that the students were interested in the workshop. Each of them wanted to buy an aluminium bottle. He was very impressed that before they got a bottle, they asked for some information about the benefits of the bottles and he was happy to share the information with the students. He continued by saying sadly, “A lot of people know about recycling, but the practice is very limited. People still use plastic whenever they buy something and they can’t avoid using it.” He lastly added some advice to encourage people to stop using plastic because making the environment clean is everyone’s responsibility.

ACE students had the opportunity to interview Phal Sopheak, a Reservations Manager at Jaya House River Park. He enjoys his job because he also wants to work in a field relating to the environment.

His impression on the campaign that was held at the hotel was, “If people take action, we can help the environment together. Even though the campaign is only for the hotel industry, it benefits everyone.”

Sopheak is happy to see that ACE students are knowledgeable about recycling. When students buy an aluminium bottle, it expresses their care for the environment around them and how they can reduce their use of plastic. He suggested that after the students are taught about recycling, they should be encouraged to practice what they have already learned at school and at home. He added, “Recycling is good, but we can only recycle some stuff. We cannot use plastic bottles more than two times. Everyone should read the instructions on the bottles, which can protect them from using the bottles in the wrong way.”

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