The total area of Cambodia is around 181.035 square kilometers. The beautiful place is located on the Indo-China peninsula and border of the Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. This country shows the presence of large alluvial plain surrounded by mountains and Mekong River. The plain is present on the Tonle Sap Lake that is available as a natural storage lake for the Mekong.
Talking about the time
Being situated in the tropical zone, Cambodia remains hot almost year round. Every season here is special and includes its own beauty and refreshing weather. The average temperature is about 30 degrees while the minimum is 16 degrees. The monsoon and dry seasons are two best time to visit Cambodia. The rainy season starts from May and last to October because of the southwestern monsoons. The temperature at that time ranges from 17-35 degrees having the humidity up to 90%. April is considered as the hottest month and the temperature reaches to 38 degrees. In cool dry season, the temperature ranges from 17- 27 degrees. Both December and January is regarded as the coolest months. The time of Cambodia is around 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The beautiful history of Cambodia
It was the period of 802 to 1431 AD when the Khmer or Angkor Civilization came into existence. It stretched so much that reaches the modern Thailand-Burma border in the west and Wat Phou of Laos in the North. The rulers of ancient Khmer adopted a right political doctrine of that time that enforces the unity among the people. Not only this, they developed an intelligent irrigation system. This was done to control the water of the Mekong River. The water was used for the agriculture and enhances the prosperity. The civilization of Khmer started perishing over 5 centuries ago, but the spellbound monuments are still here. These include great Khmer temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon along with different unique sculpture like Apsara. You will wonder from where the word ‘Angkor’ came. In an ancient Indian language, Angkor means ‘nagar’ that is a city.
Literally, the Angkor Wat means ‘city of temple’ and Angkor Thom means ‘the magnificent city’. The Khmer were no doubt the great stone carving masters. The evidence is now clearly being seen as various Angkor Temples are lying on the cast plain of Siemreap. You can also see their work in the present day border to the preah vihear at Dangrek Mountain, Phnomrung and Phimai in Thailand and Wat Phu in Laos. All these structures are crafted carefully in the successive centuries.
The historians and archaeologists consider that it is not all easy to go in the depth of the Khmer civilization. Most of the information regarding this place is found after the Angkor was excavated and carved in the stone that became the imperishable materials against time. No doubt, these evidences are very important to understand the basic constituency of the society and the chronology. They were very much concerned about the religious rituals, literature of Indian epics including ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’. It is very interesting to know that the normal life of people living there was found from the Chinese annals rather than the Khmer itself. It was the middle of 13th century of Chinese Yuan Dynasty when a Chinese ambassador named Zhou Daguan visited Angkor and stayed with the Angkor people. By this, he explored the empire for about a year and wrote the chronicle of amazing empire in Chinese. He also explained the vividly of the people living there that clearly portrays the Khmer civilization. It was the Khmer history that shows the kingship was attained by doing violence and shedding the blood to sit on the throne. Various capitals were built by numerous kings and present at the area of Angkor Wat and Rolous under different name like Harihalara, Yasodharapura, Jayendanagari, Angkor Thom and a few unknown names.
Undoubtedly, Angkor Wat Thom are the leftover part of Khmer civilization and help the archaeologist, tourists and travelers to get a clear picture of the civilization.
How much population is there?
Around 13.2 million people are living in this country. The Khmer group comprises of 90-95% of the total population. There are some ethnic population too including Chinese, Vientnamese, Cham (Muslims) and Khmer Loeu (Tribes).
Talking about the religion, Theravada Buddhism is commonly followed in Cambodia. It is also practiced in Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. There was a king named Jayavaman Vii, he introduced Theravada Buddhism in this country in 12th century. Throughout the kingdom, you can see the saffron robed monks and every village of Cambodia has a Buddhist temple. Islam and Christianity is also practiced, but in minority.
The official language of Cambodia is Cambodian or Khmer. The language generally belongs to the mom-khmer (austro-asiatic) language family. The confusion created by this language makes the western difficult to understand the language and manage all the things. French is the second most important spoken in the Cambodia until 1990s when made an introduction. Some of the other languages easily spoken in this country is South Chinese and Vietnamese.
Enlighten the monarchy
Cambodia has a constitutional monarchy and offers a multiparty democracy. The constitution of royal government of Cambodia is formed on the basis of elections that is internationally recognized as free and flair. It was established on 24th September 1993. There is executive branch too that comprises of King who head the state, a prime minister, 10 deputy prime ministers, 16 senior ministers, 26 ministers, 206 undersecretaries of the state. The Bicameral legislature comprises of about 123-member that are elected by the national assembly and 61 member senate. Cambodia government also has a judiciary that incorporates Supreme Court, lower court and internationalized court with jurisdiction who take the decision regarding the serious crime.
Riel is the Cambodian currency, i.e. 1 US$ = 4,000 riels. Apart from this, the US dollars are also accepted and if you are travelling in the outskirts, you can use US dollars even f you do not have Riel with you.
Follow the travel tips
1. About Visa
You can contact Royal Embassies and consulates of Cambodia to obtain your visa. Also, you can get the visa after the arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap airport and International border check points. You just have to carry passport and 1 photograph along with you. After arrival, you can fill up the form and a month tourist Visa can be costs up to $20. If you are visiting Cambodia for the business reason, then the visa will cost up to $25.
2. International gateway
There are various airports available nearby including:
- Phnom Penh International Airport – the visa is available on the arrival and e-visa is also accepted here.
- Siem Reap International Airport – here also the visa is accepted on arrival and e-visa is also accepted.
- Sihanoukvile International Airport – visa is accepted on arrival and e-visa can also be accepted.
3. Airport tax
The international departure tax generally costs around US $25/person, while the domestic departure tex cost around US $6/person.
It is not at all obligatory and widely practiced with the tour guide. Driver in hotels and restaurants can also ask for the tips as a service charge and can be shown on the bills.