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Cambodia overview
Cambodia (officially the Kingdom of Cambodia) is located in the south of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The country was blessed with diverse flora and fauna which are typical for the tropics. Its long-lasting history is also the attractions which are waiting tourists to discover.

 
Cambodia History

Cambodia's history has begun since 6,000BC. Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene. In the late 3rd millennium BC, rice growing appeared in the north. The farmers have applied iron facilities into work by about 500 BC. The existence of trade, social structure and labor organization were found in the 4th century BC.

 
The Funan and Chenla Kingdom were the first states in the history of Cambodia. These empires lasted from the 1st century to 9th century. From the 9th century to 13th century, the Khmer Empire was founded and made the golden age of Khmer civilization. It had become the most powerful empire in the South East Asia since the 12th century and remained as a power till the 15th century. In around 13th century, Theravada Buddhism grew and eventually became the popular religion in Angkor Kingdom. The Empire’s centre of power was Angkor built in 12th century. The Angkor Complex now is famous for Angkor Wat with well-preserved religious temples. At the following time, the Khmer Empire stuck in the long wars with the neighbor nations. The negative consequence is the stagnation in economy, society and culture. Cambodia lost many region of the territory and remained under the protectorate of Siam. In the period of 1983 – 1954, Cambodia came under the domination of French colonial domination. According to Geneva Accords – the result of Geneva Conference on Indochina in Paris in 1954, the Viet Minh troops won the war against French colonial and France had to withdraw its troops from Indochina. Cambodia also won the independence and founded its own state led by King Sihanouk. The new state was a close ally of North Vietnam’s government and a base for Viet Minh’s army to fight Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). This made Cambodia become a target of US bombing campaign. At the same time, there was a political crisis inside the country as the development of Khmer Rouge. In 1970, Khmer Rouge overthrew King Sihanouk and renamed the country as the Khmer Republic.

 
A civil war was triggered between the forces supporting the King and Khmer Rouge while the Communist insurgency inside Cambodia continued to grow. The government implemented one of the most radical and brutal restructurings of a society ever attempted. Under the regime of Khmer Rouge, approximately one to three million Cambodians died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease. In the late of 1978, Vietnamese army and the Kampuchean (or Khmer) United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) launched a full scale intervention in Cambodia, toppling the Pol Pot government. The People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) was established.


Location: Cambodia occupies an area of 181.035 square kilometers on the Indochina peninsula and borders Thailand, Lao and Vietnam. The country consists chiefly of a large alluvial plain ringed by mountains and the Mekong River. The plain is centered on Tonle Sap Lake, which is a natural storage lake of the Mekong, which regulates the course, in case of flooding, and minimizes the effects.

Cities: Phnom Penh, the capital and province Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, Kratie, Kampong Thom, Banteay Meanchey, Mondulkiri, Rattanakiri, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Pailin, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Prey Veng, Oddor Meanchey, Pursat, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Kampong Speu

Climate: Cambodia has sun almost year round. Average temperature 27 degrees Celsius; minimum temperature is about 15 degrees. Dry season from November to April, temperature ranging from 15-27 degrees. December and January is the coolest period. Rainy season from mid-May to October, temperature ranging from 27-35 degrees with humidity up to 90%. The hottest month is April.

Population: The total population is over 17 millions (with an important population growth of 2,5%) with 90% constituted by Khmers. Other ethnic backgrounds: Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham (Muslims) and Khmer Loeu (hill tribes).

Religion: The official religion of Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism, that was introduced into Cambodia in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. There are also around 500.000 Muslims and 60.000 Christians.

Rivers and lakes : The Mekong river flows through Cambodia from Lao, North, to Vietnam, South. Phnom Penh was built in an auspicious location where the Mekong intersects with the Bassac and Tonle Sap rivers. The Tonle Sap lake and the Tonle Sap river create a unique phenomenon over the world, reversing its direction twice a year.

Mountains: The Dangrek mountains run along the Northern border, the Cardamom mountains run Southwest of Battambang. The Elephant mountains run East and Southeast of Phnom Penh. The country's tallest mountain, Phnom Aoral, 1.813 m, lies East of the capital between Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Speu provinces.

Forests: The last virgin rain forests are protected, by Royal decree, in the Northeastern and Southeastern regions of Cambodia, as well as the Cardamoms Mountain, which are rich in rare woods. In November 1993, by that decree, the King established a system of 23 protected areas covering 3,4 million hectares.

Animals: The Ko Prey, jungle cow, Cambodia's national animal, is one of the most endangered species in the world. Hunting this animal is strictly forbidden by Royal decree. About some tens of Ko Prey are believed to exist in the Northeast. Cambodia still possesses wild animals such as crocodiles, monkeys, deers and also  rhinoceros, wild elephants and some species oft he beautiful black panther, 

Language: Except Khmer, which is the official language, French is only spoken by old and educated people. As everywhere, the trend among younger cambodians has been to study English as a second language for economic reasons.

Currency: The unit is the Riel. Riel denominations are 100, 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 20.000. There are no coins. American dollars are generally accepted throughout the country, as well as Thai Baths.
 

Working hours:

Government Offices

7.30 - 11.30 / 1400-17.00

 Business Offices

8.00 - 11.30 / 14.00-17.00

Shops 

7.00 - 19.00

Banks

8.00 - 15.00

Telecommunications:

 Code

Fixed phone

Mobile phone

 Country code

855

855

Phnom Penh code

(0)23

11,12,15,16,17,18,92

Angkor (Siem Reap) code

(0)63

11,12,15,16,17,18,92

Electricity: 220 volts

 

Health: Although no vaccination is required, it is recommended to protect oneself against cholera, typhoid and hepatitis, especially if you travel to the provinces.  

Annual main events:

January

1, International New Year Day.
7, Victory Day over Genocide.

 February

13, Meak Bochea.
Tet Festival, New Year of both Chinese and Vietnamese lunar calendar (January or February).

March

8, International Women Day.

April

14 - 16, Bonn Chaul Chhnam, Khmer New Year.

May

1, International Labour Day.
12, Visak Bochea, Buddha's Birthday.
13, 14, 15, His Majesty the King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday.
16, Bonn Chroat Nongkoal, Royal Ploughing Cremony.

June

1, Children's Day.
18, Samdech Preah Akeak Mohesey Norodom Monineath Sihanouk's Birthday.

September

21 - 23, Pchum Ben, Spirit Commemoration Day.
24, Constitution Day.

October

29, Coronation Day of His Majesty the King Norodom Sihamoni.
30, Norodom Sihanouk's Birthday.

November

4 - 6, Water Festival.
8 - 5, Bonn Kathen.
9, Independence Day.

December

10, Human Rights Day.
25, Christmas.


Cambodia Geography

 
Cambodia (officially the Kingdom of Cambodia) is located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The country shares the border with Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. Its territory covers an area of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi). It has a 443-kilometer (275 mi) coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi) and lies entirely within the tropics, between latitudes 10° and 15°N, and longitudes 102° and 108°E.
The typical geographic landscape in Cambodia is the low-lying central plain that is surrounded by uplands and low mountains. It involves the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the Mekong River. Extending outward from this plain are thinly forested transitional plains with elevations of no more than about 100 meters above the sea level. Dominated the drainage of the country is Tonle Sap Lake and Mekong River. The Tonle Sap Basin and the Mekong Lowlands cover 75% of the territory. The Mekong flows about 486 kilometers through Cambodia and fertilizes agricultural land with rich sediment of annual floods in rainy season. Tonle Sap Lake is connected to Mekong River by Tonle Sap River. It’s the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. During the rainy season, the lake expands to about five times of its usual size and reserves a huge amount of water to drain back into Mekong River in dry season.

In the south-west, much of the area between the Gulf of Thailand and the Tonle Sap Lake is covered by a highland region formed by two distinct upland blocks: the Cardamom Mountains and the Elephant Mountains. The Cardamom Mountains is more than 1,500 meters high. The highest peak of Cambodia is Phnom Aoral which is 1,813 meters and located in the eastern part of that range. The Elephant Mountains rises to elevations of between 500 and 1,000 meters.

Cambodia Climate

 
Cambodia's territory is entirely in the tropics and its climate is the outcome of monsoon's operation. Like that of the rest of South East Asian nations, Cambodia’s climate has 2 seasons: tropical rainy and dry season because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences. From November to February, the northeastern monsoon blows and carries little rain. The weather at that time is cool and dry. From May to October, there are heavy rains and strong winds with high humidity due to southwestern monsoon. It’s the rainy season. The hottest month in the year is April when the maximum daily temperature can reach 40°C and the weather is coolest in January. All around the year, the average temperature range is from 21 to 35°C (69.8 to 95°F).

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