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Cambodia

 

Previously known as Kampuchea, the Kingdom of Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia and shares borders with Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. On the southeast side of the country is the Gulf of Thailand. Topography of Cambodia consists for the most part of plains with mountainous regions to the southwest and north. The chief physical features of the country are the Mekong River which extends from the north all the way to the south of the country, and Tonlé Sap Lake. This is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and an ecological hotspot in addition to being a UNESCO biosphere. Administratively, the country is made up of twenty municipalities, three of which have short marine boundaries. Its coastline extends 435 km with wide-ranging mangroves, with some that are hardly touched.

After many years of civil war the country is finally on the right path to rebuild and move forward. Cambodia’s natural resources include gas and oil, gemstones, timber, manganese, iron ore, phosphates, potential for hydropower. It also has a very big potential for tourism due to unspoiled natural beauty.

The people of Cambodia, over ninety percent, are ethnic Khmer. The remaining are made up of Chinese-Khmers, Chams, ethnic hill-tripe people and Vietnamese. The country’s population mostly dwells in rural areas and are mostly farmers and artisans. About ten percent of the population resides in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

Culture of Cambodia is varied and rich dating back centuries. The people have developed a unique set of traditions based on the customs of the indigenous Hinduism and Buddhism. They are raised to respect their culture and live their lives according to their traditions. They always great using the Sampeah, which entails  pressing the two hands together in front of the chest and bowing with the greeting “Chumreap Suor”. Typically, the higher the hands are held, the lower the bow and greater the respect that is conveyed.   

The food in Cambodia is very closely related to the neighbouring countries of Laos and Thailand and to a lesser degree Vietnam. Rice is the main staple food with the Battanband being the country’s rice bowl. A majority of the local dishes are cooked in a wok called chnang khteak. With a growing number of restaurants in Phnom Penh, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes are fairly common however it is the local dishes that are expertly prepared.

 

Fast Fact:

Capital:    Phnom Penh

Government:    Constitutional Monarchy

Currency:    Cambodian riel

Official language:    Khmer language, English spoken widely

Climate:   Tropical monsoon with rainy season June-Oct. and    dry season Nov.-May.

Ethnic groups:    Cambodian; Chinese & Vietnamese, Burmese, small numbers of hill tribes like Chams and Khmer Loeu.

Religions:    Thearavada Buddhism (official), Islam, Christianity, animism, atheism

Languages:     Khmer (official), some French, English (popular second language)

Country Calling Code:    +855

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