A Field Trip to The Great Escape

By An Usa, ACE Student

On the afternoon of Sunday 4 November, ACE Siem Reap students undertaking the Diploma Program’s Critical Thinking & Analysis Skills had a golden opportunity to pay a visit to ‘The Great Escape’. It was by far one of the best field trip experiences I have ever had. For those who don’t know, as the name implies, ‘The Great Escape’ is a real-life escape room game that is based on a popular puzzle game found on computers and mobile phones. The idea is to work together with your team to solve puzzles and riddles, crack open locks and, ultimately, escape from the room in which you and your friends are trapped, all within 60 minutes.


Students waiting outside with their teacher before they enter the escape room

On our first attempt, with a lot of confidence in our critical thinking skills, my friend and I decided to pick the most difficult room out of the three given options. The room that we chose was called The Lost Room. The story follows a famous adventurer who supposedly stole five ancient artifacts from Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. Our objective, as rival adventurers, was to discover and retrieve all of those ancient artifacts from his own secret room before he came back to claim them for himself.

With a quick glance around the room, my first impression was, ‘Wow, this is something that you normally only get to see inside a video game’. The setting of the room was perfect: the dim candlelight, the crates lying on the floor, the paintings and maps on the walls, and the little notes left behind all really made me feel like I was actually inside someone’s secret basement. Around the room, tons of puzzles were scattered around, ready to be solved by us.


Students and their teacher outside 'The Great Escape'

When the timer started, everyone rushed into the nearest puzzles they could find and tried their best to crack them open. Although teamwork is essential, leadership is practically impossible in that moment. As someone with a lot of experience with puzzles, my strategy was to work alone while everyone else did the same and only choose to cooperate when the puzzle required two or more clues to crack open. Even though our team was a bit disorganised, by doing so, everyone was able to explore the room by themselves. After solving a series of mind-bending puzzles, our team somehow managed to escape just in time.

Our main struggle throughout the whole challenge was the time limit. There were simply too many puzzles and we had too little precious time to waste; however, we somehow managed to get by with the aid of the hints provided. The main lesson that we learned from our experience was to never spend too much time on one fixed clue, because sometimes the clue that you spend a lot of time analysing might just be a random piece of decoration that has no connection to the puzzle.

Overall we had a great time. The teamwork, the struggles, the confusion and the sense of accomplishment after a puzzle was solved – all of these great moments will remain in our memories together as classmates and friends.

Student Testimonials

“I found that the trip was perfect for our course, as it efficiently enhanced our teamwork and our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I hope that we will have another chance like this again.”


“It was my first time going on a trip with my fellow classmates from ACE, as I’m a new student. I had very mixed feelings when I stepped inside the room. Its atmosphere sort of gave me an ‘ancient tomb of a pyramid’ vibe, but a Khmer version. I had the chance to collaborate with classmates I haven't been able to collaborate with during class. I also managed to socialise a lot more, which is one of my weaknesses.”


“I think the field trip was a brilliant idea, especially for our class, because everyone got to exercise their critical thinking skills and they seemed to be having fun. Overall I thought it was a cool new experience, and it taught me that communication and being organised are the keys to victory.”


“It was extremely mysterious, fun and memorable to experience a detective game like this as a group and with our fabulous teachers. We helped each other to organise the hints and codes, and to form solutions. Moreover, we also practiced our creative and critical thinking skills. Amazingly, the room seemed so realistic. It felt like we were actually real detectives.”

–Ung Sanit

“Our mission was to find five treasures and return them to the temple. It required us to think critically, work together and look for every detail in the rooms to find the codes that unlocked the treasure boxes. I did an embarrassing thing by pouring water into a tube that had a warning saying, ‘Do not pour the water’ because I thought it was a trick. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything.”

–Tan Leng Chhay

To learn more about this course please go to: https://acecambodia.org/ACEWebsite/Programs/Diploma%20in%20English

Share this article