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About Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is an independent country with a population of more than 7 million people. With a surface area of 181,035 sq. km and once a French colony, is the least known Indochinese country. Cambodia has a distinct geographical personality: it is a wide basin surrounded by highlands. In this basin the farmer has created a simple life - an original civilization and philosophy of mildness. After many years of war, people rediscovered the meaning of "PEACE" They started to rebuild and reconstruct in all fields. Cambodia is divided into 20 provinces and rich in resources, forests, rubber, gems, fish and has a big potential in tourism.



Khmers have called their country Kampuchea (usually rendered Kambuja), since the l6th century. The name is derived from the word kambu-ja, meaning those born of Kambu (a figure of Indian mythology), which was first used to refer to the people of Cambodia in the 10th century. The Portuguese Cambodia and French Cambodge from which the English name Cambodia is derived, are adaptations of " Kampuja".

It was the Khmer Rouge who insisted that the outside world use the name Kampuchea. Changing the country's official English name back to Cambodia (which has been used by the US State Department all along) was intended as a symbolic move to distance the present government in Phnom Penh from the bitter connotations of the name Kampuchea, which westerners and overseas Khmer alike associate with the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. As a result of the United Nations sponsored and enforced election in May, 1993, the Kingdom of Cambodia is now safe to travel and tourism has once again become possible. Indeed, the country and Phnom Penh in partucular is undergoing something of a renaissance. Often overshadowed by the traumatic events of its recent past, Cambodia as home of the Khmer culture remains one of the most important and exotic countries in South East Asia.


Cambodian food is closely related to the cuisines of neighbouring Thailand and Laos, and to a lesser extent, Vietnam, but there are some distinct local dishes. In the growing number of restaurants in Phnom Penh and Siemreap, you will find excellent Chinese and Vietnamese dishes but it is the local dishes which are often the best prepared and most interesting. Rice is the principal staple and and Battanbang Region is the country's rice bowl. Most Cambodian dishes are cooked in a wok known locally as a chnang khteak.


The country's capital Phnom Penh is renowned for its beauty, particularly the area surrounding the Royal Palace where magificent Khmer towers share the boulevard with coloured French villas overlooking the banks of the Tonle Sap river.


The glorious and world-famous Angkor Wat situates in Siemreap Province and is just a few kilometers from the town. One can reach Siemreap by taking daily direct flight from Phnom Penh. Temples of Angkor were built between 7th and 11th century when Khmer civilazation was at its height of its extraordinary creativity. Angkor Wat is the cultural home of the Khmer people and one of the ancient wonders of the world. Its magnificent architecture was the evidence of the Khmer's strong belief in religions - Hinduism and Buddhism. First discovered by Western archeologists in the late 19th century, the lost city of Angkor is just re-opening to the exploration to the modern civilization.


The fortified city of Angkor Thom, some 10 sq km in extent, was built in its present form by Angkor's greatest builder, Jayavarman 7 (reigned 1181 to 1201), who came to power just after the disastrous sacking by the Chams of the previous Khmer capital, is enclosed by a square wall eight metres high and 12 km in length and encircled by a moat 100 meters wide, said to have been inhabited by fierce crocodiles. The city has five monumental gates, one in the north, west and south walls and two in the east wall. The gates, which are 20 metres in height, are decorated on either side of the passageway with stone elephant trunks and crowned by four gargantuan faces of the bodhisatva Avalokitesvara.


The unit is the RIELS. Riel demoninations are 100, 200 and 500. Exchange rates are subject to fluctuation. US$ are generally accepted thoughout the country. In Phnom Penh, some credit cards can be used and limited services and purchasing and cashing traveller cheques.


Cambodia lies in a tropical zone between 10 and 14 degree of latitude north the equator. The temperature is fairly uniform throughout the year and averages 25 degree centigrade (77 degree fahrenheit). The relative humidity is higher at night and usually in excess of 90 percent, during the day the average humidity is 80 percent.


The Cambodia has an area of about 181,305 squares kilometres, bordered to the north by Thailand and Laos, to the east and the south by Vietnam, to the west by the gulf of Cambodia.


The Cambodian language is Khmer, which is inherited itself - and advanced in education with application of Indic languages Pali and Sangkrit from India. Some technical languages are borrowed from French. However, English is commonly communicated in hotels and business compounds at present days.


The majority of the people of Cambodia are followers of Thervada and Hinayana school of Buddhism which was introduced to Cambodia between the 13th and 14 centuries and was the state religion until 1975.


The temples of Angkor Thom, is located in the city's geographic centre. The 50-tower temples is an awesome sight. At first glances, the complex seems a shapeless mass of stone. Suddenly, further scrutiny reveals a face, enigmatic and silent, watching with half-closed eyes. Soon, another face is made out, and another, and still yet another, until they are all round silent, heavy and impressive, staring from a primitive and remote time. Every visitors to Angkor Wat has to pay entrance fees.


There are direct flights to the capital of Phnom Penh from Bangkok, Hanoi, Hochiminh City, Hong Kong, Kuahlupur, Singapore and Vientiane. From Phnom Penh, one can take direct flights to Siemreap (Angkor), which are now operates on daily basis. Because of its vast architectures and plentiful of myths and informations, visiting of the great Angkor Wat with a knowlegable and well-trained guide is highly recommended and fun. You can enjoy traveling to Angkor Wat .


A fifteen-day tourist visa can be obtained at US$ 20 upon arrival at Pochentong Airport. Visitors should bring along at least 4 photos, and sign the visa applications form upon arrival. Visa extensions are possible through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of Immigration.