Cambodia was once home to one of the most iconic civilisations in history. For centuries, kings ruled over most of what is now Southeast Asia from the heart of their kingdoms in the northernmost region of Cambodia.
From their seats of power, the commanded the construction of amazing cities and incredible temples, with intricate designs relating to their myths and legends. The city of Angkor, where this all emanated from, is estimated to have been one of the largest cities in the world at the time!
In the 15th century, the incredible city was attacked repeatedly, until its eventual abandonment. After this time, the jungle reclaimed the buildings and the vast cityscape was lost to the outside world, until it was rediscovered, 300 years later by a French explorer by the name of Henry Mahout.
It is widely considered that the city of Angkor contained some of the finest examples of architectural artistry in history, with the temples decorated so finely with carvings of scenes from myths and legends.
The country of Cambodia has remained undisturbed for much of the last century, which means it offers a true look at south-east Asia prior to the surge in tourism.
- Country full name: The Kingdom of Cambodia
- Area: 181,035 km²
- Population: 15 million, majority is Khmer people and other ethnic minorities
- Capital City: Phnom Penh, 1.3 million people
- Commercial City: Phnom Penh
- National Language: Khmer
- Religion: Buddhism (95%)
- National flower: Romdul (Mitrella Mesnyi)
- Currency: Cambodian Riel (KHR)
- International Dialing Code: +855
Tropical monsoon climate is the common feature of almost countries in the Southeast Asia region and so is Cambodia. There are dry and rainy season in Cambodia.
Dry season starts from Dec – Apr annually with average temperature from 22-35oC, the coolest time is Jan-Feb and rainy season starts from May – Nov with average temperature from 20-32oC, some people have thought that rainy weather is not good for travelling, but it is quite different in Cambodia. Here is well-known all over the world by “stupa gardens”, travellers come here in the rainy season will have chance to enjoy ancient and magical beauty of temples and pagodas, romantic lakes and green fields… all become more lively and colorful.
Life style and cultural differences:
Greetings: Joining your palms in front of the heart and slightly lowering the head “Sampeah” is Cambodian’s common greeting manner, respectfully repeat the same as the way they do is much appreciated. Handshakes then are fine but using your left hand is unacceptable and considered “dirty” as per their custom, travellers should carefully take this note.
Communication: When a restaurant servant or shop seller gives you foods / things that exactly NOT the one you ordered or in any similar circumstances, please keep calm to solve the problem softly. Showing your angrily bad temper is unacceptable because it is sign of “out of control” and impoliteness.
The taboos: Becoming a knowledgeable traveller is very necessary to obtain the utmost joys of the trip, understanding the taboos when travelling to Cambodia will help you to win the local’s hearts, please remember:
- Do not touch Cambodia children’s head as it is considered the most sacred organ, only the God or their parents can touch;
- Do not show your bad respect towards sacred things in the pagodas, Buddhist monks or their national religion, if you do that you may be sent to jail;
- Do not say anything bad or libel their Royal Empire otherwise you will get serious trouble;
- Do not touch Cambodian by your legs which are considered low-pitched or you are thought to be humiliated.
- Do not show your affection and flirt Cambodian women disrespectfully in the pubic areas or you will know the consequences.
Public holidays: There are so many off-day holidays a year in Cambodia. Traveler should not be disappointed due to the close of Offices, Companies, Government agencies, Banks, Shops … that instead by making a better plan for your trip to avoid this disadvantage.
Funnies: How to say some simple Khmer words / sentences or learn more at: https://wikitravel.org/en/Khmer_phrasebook
- 01 Jan, Solar New Year, International New Year day
- 07 Jan, Victoria day, Celebration of the victory against Pol Pot’s Genocidal regime in 1979
- 22 Feb, Meaka Bochea, Buddhism religious festival
- 08 Mar, Women’s day, International women’s day
- 13-16 Apr, Khmer New Year, “Choul Chnam Thmey” or “Water splashing” traditional new year
- 01 May, May day, International labor day
- 13-15 May, Sihamoni King’s birthday, Celebrate Sihamoni King’s birthday
- 21 May, Visak Boche, Celebrate Sakyamuni’s date of birth
- 24 May, Royal phloughing day, Celebrate King’s plowing day on the first day of planting season
- 18 Jun, Monineath Sihanouk Queen’s birthday, Celebration of Monineath Sihanouk Queen’s birthday
- 24 Sep, Constitution day - Declaration of Cambodian’s
- 30 Sep, 1-2 Oct, Phchum Ben festival, Festival to pay the homage to death (ancestors, relatives…)
- 15 Oct, Norodom Sihanouk’s death anniversary, Celebration of Norodom Sihanouk’s death anniversary
- 23 Oct, Paris Peace Agreement day, Celebration of the day Paris agreement signed
- 09 Nov, National day, Celebration of Independence day in 1953
- 13-15 Nov, Boat racing festival,
- 10 Dec, Human rights day, International Human right day