Country Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Motto: Nation – Religion – King
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Land Area: 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles)
Population: 14.8 million
Capital: Phnom Penh
Major language: Khmer, secondarily English and French
Major religion: Theravada Buddhism (97%), ethnic Vietnamese, ethenic Chinese, Cham, several hill tribes in the northeast
Life expectancy: 55 years (men), 59 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 riel= 100 sen
GNI per capita: US$320 ( World Bank 2005)
Main exports: Clothing, timber, rubber
Internet domain: .kh
International dialling code: +885
Cambodia covers a land area of 181,040 square km and shares its borders with Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The three most dominants topographical features are the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
CLIMATE AND SEASONS:
Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate with wet and dry seasons. From March to May is very hot with occasional rain; June to October is the humid and wet monsoon season; From November to February is dry season but cooler.
About 90% of the 19 million populations are ethnic-Khmer. The rest of the population is comprised of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodia’s ethnic minority groups. Minority groups included the Saoch, the Pear, the Brao, and the Kuy, nearly all of which live in the country’s mountainous regions.
Cambodia’s language, Khmer, is a non-tonal language. Before 1975, many educated, urban citizens spoke French. Today, city dwellers may speak English, Chinese, Vietnamese or French.
During the Khmer Rouge genocide, all religion was banned. In the 1980s, Theravada Buddhism was reinstated as the national religion, and today, 96% of the population practices some form of Buddhism. A small amount of the population practices Taoism and Confucianism (mostly Chinese), Catholicism (mostly Vietnamese), and Sunni Muslim (Cham)
FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS
Chaul Chhnam, the Cambodian Lunar Year, is the most celebrated holiday. It takes place in April, at around the same time that Buddhists celebrate the birthday and enlightenment of the Buddha. In late October or early November, Cambodians celebrate the Festival of the Reversing Current, also known as the Water Festival. This three-day festival takes place when the Tonle Sap River reverses it flow towards the Mekong. Other official holidays included National Day (January 7th), Genocide Day (May 9th), Constitution Day (September 24th), King Shihanouk’s Birthday (October 31st), and Independence Day (November 9th)
HANDICRAFTS AND SOUVERNIRS
Cambodia has some of the most beautiful religious carvings, statures and bas-reliefs and anywhere in the world. These items are available in Phom Penh & Siem Reap in excellent quality replicas.
In addition to stone carving, Cambodia has excellent silverware of both classical Khmer and Chinese design. One of the lasting images from a trip to Cambodia is of the krama – a large, rectangular scarf patterned with red or blue checks. These scarves are used as headdresses, skirts, aprons and carrying aids. Many visitors buy this quintessentially Cambodian textile for use as a wall handging, tablecloth or scarf.
For most visitors to the kingdom, visa are obtainable upon arrival at both Pochenton and Siem Reap International Airports in Phnom Penh and SiemReap and land border with Thailand. At land crossing checkpoints with Vietnam & Laos, visitors will need to have already obtained their visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas.
Visa Fee: US$20 of tourist Visas & US$25 for business Visas. The fee is payable only in cash.
BUSINESSES HOURS (LOCAL TIME IS GMT PLUS 7 HOURS)
Most business offices are open from 08:00 till 12:00 and from 13:00 till 17:00, Monday through Friday. Banks generally operate from 08:00 till 15:00hrs. Most private companies work on Saturday, while government offices are closed
Vaccination is not required for entry into Cambodia, but Great Angkor Tours suggests you check with doctor as some countries recommend their citizens be inoculated before embarking on an oversea adventure.
There are also four cellular phone service provides offering convenient communication via the GSM system, therefore many citizens now carry mobile phones. Phone IDD and facsimile are also available.
It is easy and cheap to access the Internet and email in Cambodia. There are a plenty of Internet cafes and many are open until late at night. Currently the charge is between 50cents to $1U.S dollars per hour.
From Pochentong International Airport in Phnom Penh:
International Departure Tax
US $ 20 per person and domestic $5 per person
From Siem Reap International Airport
International Departure Tax US $ 15 & domestic $5 per person
Rice, accompanies by pieces of salted, dried or cooked fish seasoned with chili, mint or garlic, is the principle ingredients of a typical Cambodian dish, and almost always soup will be served with the main course. Especially Phnom Penh but also Siem Reap, has an increasing selection of restaurants offering traditional Khmer as well as international cuisine.