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Having emerged from years of war, Cambodia nowadays welcomes change and peace. The reason why Cambodia becomes so famous to the world is not by its sad history but the cherishing past wonders of antiquity - Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat's the intricately carved ancient temples. They are stately treasures of the jungle.
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Cambodia – The Kingdom of Wonder
Population : 16 million (Approximately by 2018)
Capital : Phnom Penh
Government : Constitutional Monarchy
Monarch : His Majesty King NorodomSihamoni
Prime Minister : SamdechAkkaMohaSenaPadeiTecho Hun Sen
Next election scheduled: July 2023
• 2017 nominal GDP (Current US$ billions) ± : 22.16
• 2017 nominal GDP per capita (Current US$)±: 1390
• Real GDP growth rate (%)± (2016; 2017; 2018; 2019) 7.0 7.0 6.9 7.0
• Real GDP per capita growth rate (%)± (2016; 2017; 2018; 2019) 5.3 5.3 5.4 5.5
• Inflation “CPI” (%)± (2016; 2017; 2018; 2019) 3.0 2.9 3.2 3.5
• Economic mix in 2015*: 27.4% manufacturing; 43.8% services; 28.7% agriculture.
• Unemployment: 0.3%
The Kingdom of Cambodia is one of the most fascinating and exotic destinations in the Mekong Region. The country is blessed with a rich history and a variety of cultural heritages, making it a paradise for historians, archeologists and travelers wanting to see some of the wonders of the ancient world.
Bordering Thailand to the west, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east, Cambodia offers visitors a range of experiences ranging from visiting the hill tribes of Rattanakiri, exploring the vast wetland of Tonle Sap Lake, discovering countless ancient temples and impressive scenery, including pristine beaches, mighty rivers and remote forests.
Far removed from its turbulent past, Cambodia is open to visitors from around the world who wish to admire the grandeur of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and the colonial capital Phnom Penh. Teeming with history, marvelous architecture and awash in natural beauty, the largest religious monument ever built, Angkor Wat, ranks as one of the top ‘must-see’ destinations in the world.
Moreover, sea lovers can head for the empty beaches in Sihanouk Ville on the south coast to relax and enjoy the sun.
Up market travel in Cambodia is on the rise with new luxury hotels and resorts opening regularly: Song Saa Private Island in Sihanouk Ville, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra in Phnom Penh and Park Hyatt in Siem Reap to name just a few properties that high-end travelers can choose from.
The beauty of Cambodia is that the country continues to evolve without diluting its cultural heritage, achieving that delicate balance between modernity and the past, calm space and clamorous activity, elegance and authenticity.
Cambodia’s population is approximately 16 million. Ninety per cent of residents are Khmer; the rest are Cham (Khmer Muslim), Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Phnorng, Kuoy, Stieng, Tamil, etc. The population density is 78/km2.
Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s climate is hot and warm almost all year round. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle of rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season from November to April. December to January are the coolest months, while the hottest month is April. The average temperature is around 27-28ºC.
Theravada Buddhism is the prevailing official religion in Cambodia and approximately ninety percent of the population is Buddhist. Islam, Hinduism and Christianity are also embraced.
Since Buddha statues and images represent the revered Buddha, visitors are asked to treat all such statues and images with respect, in order not to offend local people.
Cambodia has a Dry Season (Hot Season) from November through until April when the dusty northeast monsoon arriveswith temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius, although these will rise and the humidity increases towards the end of April. Raining Season (Wet Season), the wet season comes courtesy of the southwest monsoon which blows from May to October, bringing with it some 75% of Cambodia's annual rainfall. During the peak of the wet season from July to September it can rain as much as two out of every three days. However, the rainy days are usually just a few hours of heavy downpour and not all-day rain, although the latter does occur. Make sure that you bring a rain jacket!
Language: Khmer is the official language of Cambodia. The Cambodian language is derived from the Mon-Khmer (Austro-Asiatic) language family. Khmer is renowned for possessing one of the largest sets of alphabets; it consists of 33 consonants, 23 vowels and 12 independent vowels.
While tourists may wish to learn a few spoken phrases when visiting Cambodia, English is widely spoken and understood. French and Mandarin are also spoken frequently in the country; most elderly Cambodians speak French and many people in the Khmer-Chinese population speak Mandarin.
Riel is the Cambodian currency and the exchange rate fluctuates slightly compared with the US Dollar. Riel denominations are 500,000; 100,000; 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500;200; 100; and 50. On average US$1 equals 4,000 Riel (exchange rate 2018).
Foreign currencies can be easily changed at airports, hotels or markets. American dollars are widely accepted in Cambodia. Credit cards are only accepted in banks and main hotels.
Voltage and Plug Sockets:
Mainly 220 volts but in some areas 110 volts are also used. Sockets are two pronged with flat and round pins.
Cambodian cuisine is excellent, borrowing from French, Thai and Vietnamese flavours but with its own unique identity. With such an extensive coastline it is not surprising that fish has an important place and there will often be an abundance of fish dishes on offer. Coconut milk is another key ingredient and is used in one of Cambodia’s most famous dishes, fish amok, a delicious combination of fresh seafood, coconut milk and curry paste, often cooked in a banana leaf which imparts its own delicate flavour.
The locals are very keen on iced tea served with lemon and sugar or iced coffee, served very sweet with condensed milk. You should only really drink this from a reputable looking café to ensure that the ice is of a good quality.
Sugar cane juice is also popular and you will see lots of road side stands consisting of a strange looking contraption into which long ‘poles’ of sugar cane are fed, and then the juice comes straight out, usually served in a plastic bag with a straw. This is safe to drink, refreshing and delicious. Also popular is the juice of the king coconut which again is fairly ubiquitous. This is usually served in the coconut itself, with a straw stuck in the top.
There are good local lager type beers which can be found everywhere, served cold. You can also try the local rice wine but this is very strong and not to most travellers’ taste! It is not recommended that you drink the local tap water in South East Asia. Bottled water is widely available throughout the country.
Visas and Immigration:
Visas are required by all nationalities except Asean Countries (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)and can be obtained in advance online (www.evisa.mfaic.gov.kh) or on arrival at the airport. If you choose to obtain these at the airport the cost US$30 per person (Tourist Visa) or US$35 per person (Business Visa) and you will need two passport photos. You should bring USD cash with you to pay for the visas.
DOs and DON’Ts in Cambodia:
People in Cambodia are well-known for their hospitality and warmth. Out of respect, visitors to the Kingdom should take care to observe local customs and practices. Visitors should familiarize themselves with the following common dos and don'ts before embarking on their trip to Cambodia.
DOs in Cambodia :
• Ask for permission before taking photographs of Cambodian people or monks.
• It is customary to remove shoes when entering a place of worship such as a pagoda or temple.
Additionally, visitors should dress appropriately when inside a religious site (upper arms and legs should be covered, hats removed).
• It is respectful to remove shoes when entering someone’s home.
• Though not always expected, a respectful way of greeting another individual is to bow the head slightly with hands pressed together at the chest (known as “Sampeah”).
• If invited to dine in a Cambodian family’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift for the host such as fruit, dessert, or flowers.
• If invited to attend a Cambodian wedding, it is customary to bring cash as a wedding gift.
• When using a toothpick at the table, use one hand to cover your mouth.
• Keep business cards ready, and present them with both hands. Accept business cards with both hands.
DON'Ts in Cambodia :
• Don't point your feet at anybody.
• Don't touch a Cambodian person on the head.
• If a guest at a dinner, don't begin eating until the host has started to eat.
• Women should never touch male monks or hand something directly to them.
• Keep public displays of affection to a respectful minimum.
• Do not litter; keep our community clean and safe
• Plastic bags can be hazardous; dispose of them properly
What to Wear in Cambodia:
The weather in Cambodia generally falls into two categories: the wet season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).
Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended for the dry season, when the weather is hot and humid. Visitors may wish to pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts for hiking, trekking, or outdoor activities. A hat and sunglasses may be useful when out in the sun. During the rainy season, visitors may want to bring a light rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased cheaply in Cambodia) or a sturdy umbrella. A light jacket or cardigan will come in handy during the months of December and January, when temperatures are at their coolest.
When visiting outdoor temples including those of Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes and hats are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds, visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts and keep their shoulders covered.
What to bring to Cambodia:
• Passport photocopies
• At least two passport-size photographs
• Cash in US$1s,US$5sUS$10s, US$20s, US$50s
• Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry
• An adventurous spirit.
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