Cambodia - Treasure of diversity

Cambodia is located in the heart mainland of Southeast Asia, which conjures images of a glorious and mysterious past and rich of the cultural heritages, particularly the world's renowned ancient temple city whose magical image draws ever-increasingly tourists from all over the world.

The divergent facets of the Kingdom provoke both the serious and casual traveller, generally charmed and sometimes bewildered by its mysteries. Not only Angkor Wat, Bayon, Taprohm, Sandstone of ancient holy places, the giant roots of ancient trees, the graceful shapes of Apsaras and some temples buried in the jungle, hill tribes settled in the remote areas, colorful pagodas, strings of pristine islands and the century beach, as part of cultural tour that Cambodia is proud of her presentation, but also the splendour of the Khmer civilization and its people who have shown their friendliness everywhere you move in the country.

For most, Cambodia first conjures up the legendary Angkor (the magnificent Empire erected by Kings between the 9th and 13th centuries) that continues to admiration from Khmers and foreigners alike. The humanity and disaster of the nature have failed to compromise the awe of Angkor. The temples remain with an enigmatic grandeur, as a testimony to the Empire that symbolized the country at the present day.

History: Cambodia's has its roots in the 1st to 6th centuries in a state referred to as Funan, known as the oldest Indianised state in Southeast Asia. Funan gave way to the Angkor Empire with the rise to power of King Jayavarman II in 802. As the Angkor period ended, Cambodia's capital moved south to Longvek, then to Oudong, and finally to the present-day capital of Phnom Penh.

The 15th to 17th centuries represented a time of foreign influence. By the mid-1800s, Cambodia, like most other countries in Asia, came under increasing pressure from European colonial powers.

Cambodia today enjoys a parliamentary system with one prime minister, Hun Sen. A constitution was adopted in 1993, the same year King Norodom Sihanouk returned to the throne. His Majesty remains a symbol of national unity to his people.

Geography: Cambodia covers a land area of 181,035 km2in the South Western of the Indochina peninsula. The country’s maximum extent is about 580km (east – west) and 450 (north- south). It is bounded on the west by Thailand, on the north by Thailand and Loas, on the east by Vietnam and on the east by south by the Gulf of Thailand. The country has a coastline of 435km add extensive mangrove stands, some of which are relatively undisturbed. Cambodia’s two dominant topographical features are the Makong River, which is almost 5km wide in places, and the Tonle Sap Lake.

Weather: Practically speaking, Cambodia has four seasons:1) November-February, cool/dry. 2) March-May, hot/dry. 3) June-August, hot/wet. 4) September-October, cool/wet.

Population: 11.67 million. The majority (90%) of the population is Khmer. The remaining 10% are comprised of Cham (Khmer Muslims), minority hill tribes, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Capital: Phnom Penh.

Religion: Theravada Buddhism is the official religion in Cambodia. The majority of people are Buddhist and 5% are Muslim or Christian.

Temperature: The hottest days of the hot season rarely climb above 35C and the cool season may push the mercury as low as 20C.

Currency: The local currency is Riel, USD1= 3,900 Riels. Some popular Riel denominations include: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 notes.

Time zone: GMT + 7 hours

Visa: Most counties entry visa which can be applied for on line. The visa fees is approximately $40 per person.

Places of interest in Cambodia:

  • Temples shrouded with mystery and history. Siem Reap was the location where Tomb Raiders was filled staring Angelina Jolie.
  • Angkor Wat – built in 1100’s, found by French in 1800’s, is now one of the wonders of the world.
  • Guided sunset tour on quad bikes across rice fields, and rough terrain offering sunset photographs.
  • Cambodia features some lovely beaches like Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem, Occheuteal, Otres Beach, and more.
  • Battambang along the Sangker River is one of the country’s best preserved colonial era towns. Shop houses cater to everything from fair trade cafes to bike excursions.
  • Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri where tourists "walk with the heard".
  • Very unique natural sap and massages.
  • National Ballet perform ancient Apsara dance in the royal Palace.