Cambodia – The land of Angkor For over five hundred years, Angkor was at the core of one of humankind's greatest civilizations. The mighty “Devaraja” or God-kings ruled vast swathes of what is now Southeast Asia from their heartland in the northern plains of Cambodia. They built immense and dazzling cities and temples decorated with intricate stone carvings to honor both their gods and themselves.At its height in the late 12th century , Angkor is believed to have been home to about one million people. One of the largest cities on earth at that time. Like other great empires before and since, the mighty Khmer civilization eventually declined. In the 15th century, the Ayutthaya Thais sacked the city several times until eventually it was abandoned and entire population, including the Royal Court moved to current day Phnom Penh. Once abandoned, the jungle quickly reclaimed the temples and they remained lost to the outside world until their rediscovery in 1860 by the French explorer Henri Mahout. It has been said the temples of Angkor represent the finest architectural artistry in human history.
To comprehend their grandeur and magnificence requires imagination. Imagine the Great Egyptian Pyramids at Giza if every stone were carved with portrayals of fantastic myths and legends. To better grasp the sheer scale, both St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London would fit easily inside the perimeter walls of Angkor Wat. The country of Cambodia itself remained a quiet, undisturbed backwater for much of the last century. Now emerging from years of isolation, the country offers a true taste of Southeast Asia before the arrival of mass tourism and rampant commercialization. Together with the other countries of Indochina, Cambodia has had its fill of tragedy. Yet its people are nothing if not pragmatic and forward looking. Cambodia today has much to offer the curious and adventurous traveler.
Cambodia Geography Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi) and lies entirely within the tropics. It borders Thailand to the north and west, Laos to the northeast, and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It has a 443-kilometer (275 mi) coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia with population approximately 2 Million, 290 square kilometers. It is considered the center of Industry, Administration, Commerce, and Tourism.
Climate and Seasons Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate with wet and dry seasons. November to February is cool and dry season while March to May is hot and dry. Hot and wet is from June to August, and September to October is the cool and wet monsoon season.
Note: The climate is changing all over the time due to the world climate change.
Cambodian People About 90% of the 14,241,640 (est. July 2008) million population is ethnic-Khmer. The rest of the population is comprised of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham, and Cambodia's ethnic minority groups. Minority groups include the Saoch, the Pear, the Brao, and the Kuy, nearly all of which live in the country's mountainous regions. Cambodian Language 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. Cambodia Religion During the Khmer Rouge genocide, all religion was banned. In the 1980s, Theravada Buddhism was reinstated as the national religion, and today, people practicing Theravada Buddhist is 95%, and other 5% including Muslim, Christian, and Animist.
Cambodia Festival & 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, at the time of the full moon, and the most extravagant and exuberant in the Khmer calendar, outdoing even the new year celebrations and to remind to Khmer forefathers who well combated on water, Cambodians celebrate the Water and Moon Festival. The three-day festival takes place when the Tonle Sap River reverses its flow towards the Mekong. Other official festivals and holidays include Victory over Genocide Day (January 7th), Meak Bochea (February 9), Visak Bochea (May 08), Royal Ploughing Ceremony (May 12), King Norodom Sihamoni's Birthday (May 13-14-15), King's Mother Birthday (June 18), Bonn Pchom Ben (September 18-19-20), Constitution and King Sihanouk Coronation Day (September 24th), King Father's Birthday, Norodom Sihanouk (October 31st), and Independence Day (November 9th).
Cambodia Handicrafts & Souvenirs Cambodia has some of the most beautiful religious carvings, statues and bas-reliefs anywhere in the world. Vidotour supports the Kingdom of Cambodia and UNESCO's efforts to stop the flow of these priceless and irreplaceable objects of art out of the country. For those wishing to take home such figures, excellent quality replicas are now available in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. 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 hanging, tablecloth, or scarf.