75 Facts about Cambodia through the eyes of a Russian woman
1. The inhabitants of Cambodia are the Khmer. 2. Cambodia is not crowded with tourists from Russia and Germany as neighboring Thailand. 3. But there is an insane amount of tourists from China (in principle, as in all countries) and a lot of South Koreans. This is one of the few countries where I’ve seen duplicate the names not in English, but in Korean! 4. Turks and Arabs are banned from entering Cambodia and made a yearly restriction for South Korean tourists. The reason was the mass exportation of Khmer girls by citizens of these countries for sale in brothels. I do not know why South Korea was spared, but if there is another incident, they will close the border. 5. To get to Cambodia from Russia is possible only through Thailand, but there is talk of direct flights next year. 6. Angkor Wat is the most popular place for tourists. If someone you know has been to Cambodia, 95% will say that from the monuments they’ve seen only this temple complex. 7. The name Cambodia is only in Russia, but everywhere else the country is called Kingdom of Cambodia or Kampuchea. 8. The Khmers hate the Thais and vice versa. 9. One Russian lady married a Thai and moved to Cambodia. He did not follow her. And he never will. 10. Cambodia has many fruit plantations, just like Thailand, but it is more expensive to transport fruit from south to north than to bring it from neighboring Thailand, so tourists from Bangkok and Pattaya see no difference in taste. 11. the exception is coconuts: in Cambodia they are huge. 12. Some people think that durian tastes better in Cambodia than in Thailand. 13. The main diet of the Khmers is meat. 14. If there is a puddle – there will be fish, so Khmers do not really sweat for food. 15. The main myth – Cambodia is dangerous to life, there are walking with guns, killing people, hunger, riots, widespread poverty. 16. 16. There is no military action here for many years. For some reason everyone remembers only the time of Pol Pot. It’s like many foreigners think we still have the USSR. 17. There are no orphanages here. 18. There is no hunger or poverty here. 19 Most Khmer people live in small “shacks” with a satellite dish, a plasma screen on the wall, and a Lexus near the shack. 20. A car is everything to the Khmer people! 21. Education in the Kingdom is optional, so many parents might ask their children, “Do you know what 3+8 is? Well then drop out of school and start a business!” And that’s it, kids go to work for their parents. 22 However, those who do finish school have an excellent education and can speak two to five foreign languages. 23. Generally speaking, it is normal to meet a Khmer who speaks impeccable French and English. 24. Cambodia has the largest settlement of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. These people live here illegally, but no one touches them. 25. Universities in Cambodia are insanely expensive for Khmer people, and the average Khmer family has 3-5 children, so the King issued a decree that a Khmer can study at any university in the world at the expense of the state. As I recall, there may be about 1,500 such students a year. There are also incentive systems for successful students. 26. So students have to earn extra money all the time: you can often hear the phrase, “Give me a couple of dollars, because I’m a poor student. 27.
The students of history are especially impudent, they hang out in places where tourists congregate, begin to tell them some facts from history and then ask for money for the services provided. 28. In general, their intrusive service and beggars are very similar to the Brazilian. If you give even one child a dollar, a crowd of children will ask you to give them money too. These kids will chase you to your car, bang on the windows when you get in. If you make a brick face, it helps, but if you just catch their eyes, the orgy of those kids resumes. 29. Speaking of money, at the banks they exchange dollars for small bills, because in this country it’s customary to tip everyone. Everyone. Waiters, bartenders, drivers. 30. If the change in the store is less than a dollar, it will give the local currency – rieliyami. 31. hotels in Cambodia – very chic, otherwise they simply can not. 32. The Tax Code of Cambodia takes 3-4 pages. 33. There are no traffic rules. The bigger your car, the more advantages you have on the road. You can turn on your horn and drive all the way, all small cars and motorcyclists will yield to you. 34. The only thing they can stop you for is not wearing a helmet. They give you a ticket and write a piece of paper saying you can no longer be fined today. 35. The feet, according to the Khmers, are the “dirtiest” part of a person. The head is the cleanest. 36. Khmer marriages with foreigners are very rare. 37. Marriages of convenience are common. You don’t need much to celebrate a wedding – you put a table outside, invite a lot of guests, buy food and booze. All you ever get is money. Any wedding pays for itself in half. And then people get divorced. 38. In Thailand a foreigner is a farang, in Cambodia a barang. 39. Here they think one Negro is a rapper, five Negroes is a basketball team, and a neighborhood of Negroes is robbery, drugs, prostitution. 40. The French are very fond of Cambodia (and they won’t live anywhere else). 41. There is even an excursion to the village where Jolie adopted a child. In general, Jolie often comes here. 42. A smile is the most important part of communication! 43. Shouting and squealing is bad form. In the eyes of the Khmer you lose face and you do not want to communicate with you further. 44. Passports are not changed here, but pages are pasted. A thick passport for a Khmer is common 45. Khmers can go to the bathroom in a public place, talking to their friends at this very moment, they can also say “hello!” to you. It’s very hard to get used to that. 46. Renting motorcycles for foreigners in Siam Ripa is prohibited by law. So if you come without a travel agency, you have to hire a cab driver. 47. You can buy marijuana anywhere, even with a police officer. 48. The markup on any imported alcohol is $1. 49. Beach recreation is very good. 50. Pharmacies have an express test for malaria. 51. Here they don’t understand how you can leave the food prepared for the evening for tomorrow. 52. Growing rice is the most difficult and the highest paid profession. 53. A lot of rice is sold to China. You could say that the Chinese are buying up land in Cambodia to grow rice for their country. 54. Khmers are very fond of sleeping on the streets in hammocks, so there have been news of deaths from hypothermia this year. 55. To curve their fingers and hands, girls have been sleeping with special planks since childhood. 56. Russians who live in Cambodia used to live in Thailand, mostly. According to them, Thailand is too littered with tourists, and here it is quiet and cozy. 57.
White-skinned and blondes are admired by Khmer people who have never seen tourists, but the higher the status of the person, the more indifferent he is to what color you are. People with higher education, by the way, are considered high status. 58. Somehow, by some miracle, Beeline is the operator in Cambodia, but nowhere to be found and generally not very popular. 59. For poor Khmer women to marry a foreigner – the top of dreams. You can have children right away and not think about material possessions. As I was told, rich Khmers lose all their rights if they marry/marry a barang. 60. There is also sex tourism here, and again most are poor girls from Laos and Burma provinces. 61. If you want to travel around the country alone or with a couple of friends, knowing English at the level of an ordinary tourist – you can do it without problems. 62. Understanding your emotions and gestures among the Khemer – it’s some miracles! 63. And they are very hospitable, they will show you everything and tell you everything. They’ll feed you and introduce you to everybody. 64. Everyone usually wants to visit the province of Kampot – that’s where the famous Kampot pepper is grown. 65. And it is this pepper that is the main source of income from day-trippers, who can’t return it when they find a fake at home. Peppers from Kampongcham, Kampongspa, Sihanoukville, and all other parts of Cambodia are packaged and sold as Kampot peppers at a high price. 66. Everyone in Cambodia wants to open a business, especially the French, of course. 67. There are casinos on the Northern and Southern borders. 68. In Cambodia, they take fingerprints at the border. 69. To the Khmer, hell is prison, if you are imprisoned for more than 3 years, you are dead. 70. A prison is four walls with people walking around inside. Great entertainment. 71. There is a stereotype that Khmers don’t drink milk. That’s partly true. But if they drink it – will not die, believe me 72. But beef is the main product of consumption. 73. People who moved from noisy Bangkok to Cambodia in the evenings are entertained by Khmer cooking. Against the background of very spicy Thai food, Khmer food at first seems blissful, although many dishes are similar. 74. Licensed software in Cambodia costs pennies. Not even a pity to pay, to be honest. 75. If you’re a tourist or a native English speaker – you can find a job at a school as an English teacher. You won’t even be asked at what level you know it.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a small, interesting and colorful country. This undiscovered and formerly closed country can conquer even the most unsophisticated tourist, who will periodically feel like a discoverer. For the European tourists, the holidays in Cambodia are a true exotic, which is why this country is rapidly gaining popularity in tourism.
More about Cambodia
The area of the Kingdom is 181 thousand square kilometers, it was formerly called Kampuchea, and occupied not only the territory of the modern state, but also all of its neighbors. The capital of the ancient empire was a city of millions – Angkor. The modern capital of Cambodia is the largest city of Phnom Penh. Today it has more than 2 million people. For comparison, in other major cities of Siem Reap, Poipet and Sihanoukville, the population does not exceed 150 thousand people.
The main items of income of Cambodia are the export of clothing and silk products, rice, rubber, shoes, and tourism, which in the last ten years is rapidly gaining momentum.
Where is Cambodia?
The state of Cambodia is a striking representative of Southeast Asia, located almost in the very south of the Indochina Peninsula. The kingdom shares its northern border with Laos, the northwestern border with Thailand, and Cambodia shares the east and southeast with Vietnam. The southwestern coast of the country falls into the Gulf of Thailand.
Weather and Climate in Cambodia
The climate of Cambodia is tropical, really hot and very humid. The calendar year is divided into a wet, sweltering, hot summer, which lasts from May to mid-autumn, sometimes including November, and dry, cool winter – from December to March-April. Summer temperatures in Cambodia are stable at +26+32 degrees. Maximum temperature in winter is +22+23, not exceeding +25+26 degrees.
If the humidity increases a lot in summer, the thermometer column can heat up to +36 +42. It rains more often in the calendar summer and until October, with an annual rainfall of about 1000-2000 mm.
The population of Cambodia is more than 15 million people, and almost 90% of that number are Khmer. The country is also home to Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer Rouge and Cham people. And in the mountains live small isolated ethnic groups with their own culture and languages. The literacy rate is less than 75%.
Religion in Cambodia
About 95% of the population of Cambodia professes the Theravada branch of southern Buddhism. Also in the country there are Muslim and Catholic communities.
The state structure of Cambodia
The head of state is the king. Since 1993, the form of government is a constitutional monarchy; there is a multiparty democratic system in the country. The king chooses and appoints a council of ministers headed by a prime minister. Legislative power is represented by a bicameral elected parliament, which is divided into the National Assembly and the Senate.
Khmer is recognized as the official state language in Cambodia, spoken by more than 95% of the population. National minorities communicate in Vietnamese, Chinese and the Tiam language. The small mountain peoples of Cambodia have preserved each their own language and pass on their knowledge to their descendants.
The younger generation is actively learning English, while among the older population French is widely spoken.
The official currency of Cambodia, the riel (KHR), is equal to 100 sous. The National Bank issues bills of 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, as well as 1,000, 500 and 100 Riel.
Not all tourists are concerned about seeking currency exchange, because almost everywhere you can pay in U.S. dollars. In the border areas, the currencies of the neighboring country are accepted: Thai baht, Vietnamese dong and Lao kip.
History of the Kingdom of Cambodia
The history of modern Cambodia begins at the dawn of the millennium with the establishment of the State of Funan. It was at this time that Sanskrit, which is still an integral part of the Khmer language, was born.
Powerful development in the Kingdom began in 1950, in twenty years, the country has become a successful and developing state, many times superior to its neighbors. The Vietnam War and repeated provocations and attacks on Cambodia’s borders by U.S. troops cut short the powerful prosperity. The Khmer Rouge, led by dictator Pol Pot, came to power for four years.
In 1979, the Vietnamese army liberated the oppressed country, but it took years to restore the economy. Cambodia again became an independent state only in 1989. Today, the Kingdom is open to foreigners and is a myrrh of the eastern country.
- Cities and regions of Cambodia
- The entire country is divided into 23 kheta (provinces), which, in turn, are made up of districts, and those are made up of communes. Of all the provinces it is worth highlighting:
- Kaep – a small province in the southwest of Cambodia known for its sandy beaches and relaxing vacation for tourists, it includes several interesting islands;
- Kandal – one of the southern provinces, it is home to the capital Phnom Penh;
Sihanoukville – the most visited khet, located on the coast of the Gulf of Siam, known for its large port and beautiful beaches, it is this part of Cambodia where tourists who dream of vacationing at sea come;
Siem Reap is the northeastern province where the ancient city of Angkor was discovered.
The two main cities of the country, where the main attractions and the main excursions take place, are the capital Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Phnom Penh is considered the most beautiful French city on the peninsula, and Siem Reap is the gateway to explore the grandeur of Angkor.
Resorts in Cambodia
Tourists looking for where in Cambodia to relax by the sea, we recommend visiting the province of Sihanoukville and its beaches. The coastal islands (such as Koh Rong) are quite suitable for lovers of underwater or sports fishing. The islands of Ko-Tang and Ko-Rong-Samlon are great for diving. Here you can rent equipment and take advantage of the services of an instructor.
The most popular beaches in Sihanoukville are Ochutel and Serendipity beaches, Otres beach is considered a particularly cozy place. If you need a boat to visit the neighboring islands or go for a walk in the sea, you can find it on the smallest beautiful beach of the coast – Lamherkei Beach.
The most budgetary place is considered a sandy beach Victoria, and by contrast in Cambodia is a private beach Sokha, which is the property of Sokha Beach Hotel, entry to it by outsiders is prohibited. The whitest sand you’ll find on the patriotic beach – Independence Beach.
Nature of Cambodia
About ¾ of the country is located in the basin of Lake Tonle Sap. The plains of Cambodia rest against the mountains: the Dangrek range in the north, Elephanus in the south and Kravan in the southwest. Here is the highest point of the state – Mount Oral, its height is 1813 meters.
In the Kingdom of Cambodia there are many rivers, but the most important and full-flowing is the Mekong River. It flows through the country, winding and repeatedly changing its direction, then flowing into the South China Sea.
Flora and fauna of the state is very diverse, especially in the area of Lake Tonle Sap, but the area of primary forests is rapidly declining and is currently at 31%.
Attractions in Cambodia
Wondering what to see in Cambodia, go to Siem Reap. After all, this is where the ancient capital of the mighty Khmer Empire is located – the city of Angkor, which consists of two temple complexes. Angkor Wat – the largest temple in the world, all tourists in the country in the first place is to visit him. Scenes for the film “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” were filmed in one of the most interesting temples of the complex Ta Prohm, which was only partially cleared from the jungle. Angkor Thom looks more like a city with Bayon Temple at its center.
At 90 km from Angkor is lost in the jungle ruined city of Koh Ker, it was the first capital of the empire, which was later moved to Angkor. Its complex of one hundred temples is considered mystical, available to tourists preserved structures have become available only since 2007. In the center of the city was built a tall Pyramid of Death – the temple of Prasat Thom, a place in Cambodia, where enemies of the empire were sacrificed by throwing them into a deep mine.
In Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, a famous attraction is the Royal Palace, also the residence of the king, due to which a limited number of rooms are available to tourists. Inside the residence about a century ago built a remarkable Silver Pagoda. To the north of the palace is the National Museum. Its building is considered one of the most interesting monuments of architecture in the capital.
Pay attention to the Monument of Independence in the heart of Phnom Penh. One of the favorite places of pilgrims is Wat Phnom Temple, which was the first building that began the construction of the Cambodian capital.
The sad sights of the Khmer Rouge period are Tuol Sleng Prison and the Chung Ek Memorial or “Fields of Death”, where thousands of unwanted citizens were executed en masse.
Hotels in Cambodia
In a multifaceted country you will find a variety of accommodation options, hotels in Cambodia come in different stars and are as popular as getaways. In the capital of the Kingdom, one of the popular and favorite hotels among tourists is the five-star NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex . Here you will find impeccable service and a full entertainment and leisure package, the hotel has its own spa, pool and fitness room.
In tourist Siem Reap more popular are small and inexpensive hotels and gethouses, such as The Luxury Concept Hostel , because people come here often, but not for long distances. The hotel is located in the heart of the city on the road leading to Angkor. It offers a wide range of services, where every tourist will find a room to his abilities.
If you are going to Sihanoukville resorts, look no further than Independence Hotel Resort & Spa which is built on the white sandy beach of Independence. This is the perfect place to rest comfortably and explore the country. Cozy atmosphere, unobtrusive staff and homely atmosphere will add positive emotions from your vacation.
Where to eat in Cambodia?
The cuisine of Cambodia is a combination of flavors and traditions of all the states of the Indochina peninsula. Echoes of the cuisines of Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as notes from France, can be found on the menu of almost every restaurant. The traditional daily dish of Cambodians is soup, and there are a lot of national recipes, but all of them are from fish or meat. Cambodian cuisine in general is famous for its variety and abundance of meat and fish dishes, as well as seafood. Of drinks is very popular Angkor beer and Angkor Stout.
While in Siem Reap, be sure to check out the well-known all around the French restaurant Chez Sophea and Matthieu. All the classic dishes of France and Europe, you can taste in one place with a view of the temple complex: steaks, duck, foie gras, amazing chocolate desserts and much more.
Enjoy the freshest seafood on the beachfront in Sihanoukville at Happa’s Restaurant. A view of the calm sea and live music complete your dining experience.
Traditions and Holidays of Cambodia
Eastern countries are sometimes very different from European countries. This also applies to the traditions of Cambodia: in most hotels, restaurants and other establishments of the service sector there is no official markup on the price list. Tipping is not a prerequisite for service, but it is recommended to round up slightly the amount paid if you liked the quality of service. Cambodians take this sign for praise, given the low level of wages in the country. It is especially worth remembering to thank the guides who work with you throughout the tour or travel through the country.
Every month the country hosts vibrant and colorful festivals and celebrations that introduce tourists to Khmer culture, their holidays, and those of their neighbors. The Chinese and Vietnamese living in Cambodia, at the turn of the months of January and February, celebrate the Lunar New Year, but the Khmers usually celebrate it in April, as in Thailand. In February Cambodians hold a festival Mik Bochea, and in late April comes the festival of sand slides – Chnam Mai. Colorful ceremonies and processions take place all over the country.
In May, the Royal Plowing Ceremony is held first, and as early as May 3, Buddha’s Birthday is joyously celebrated. Buddhism also has its own great Lent, which lasts from July to September, during which time all the deceased are commemorated and reverence procedures are held.
Autumn is a generous and festive time of year. October is the time of the religiously colorful Bonn Katem festival. Immediately after the end of the rainy season begins three days of festivities at the Bom-Om-Tuk water festival. And on November 10-11, the annual show Hideki-togi, which delights the audience with a memorable musical and light performance.
Shopping in Cambodia
In Cambodia, the most popular markets are common, the largest of which are located in the capital and the cities of Siem Reap and Sihanoukville – that is where most tourists go shopping. Merchants begin their work around 6 am, and end close to 17:00. It is worth noting that the shops around noon are closed for a long lunch. Do not forget to haggle and always check the price, because there are two formats of prices: in riel and in dollars.
Wondering what to bring from Cambodia, pay attention to the products of “wild” silk – scarves and clothing. The highest quality silk is made in the provinces of Takeo and Kampongtyam. Folk arts and crafts flourish everywhere, thanks to this inexpensive and interesting souvenirs in the markets a great variety: trinkets of woodcarving, statues of Buddha, painted ceramics, wicker baskets, and more.
In the Kingdom as inexpensive souvenirs you can buy beautiful silverware. Wealthier tourists buy jewelry with precious stones.
Transport of Cambodia
The country of Cambodia has four airports and domestic airlines, although not cheap, there are also rail and water transport. But the most affordable and democratic way to travel around the country is a bus. There are many bus companies in the country, so you can easily get to any part of Cambodia. For short distances you can rent a tuk-tuk or take a cab.
Between cities on rivers, canals and Tonle Sap Lake can be waterways, but for tourists it’s more of a pleasant excursion, as it’s not cheap to travel.
Public transport is primarily represented by mopeds. You can buy them, rent or use the services of motorcycle cabs, whose drivers speak fluent English. For long distances it is more convenient to order a regular cab or tuk-tuk.
How to get to Cambodia?
There are no direct flights from most CIS countries to Cambodia. The most popular routes to the Kingdom go through Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. These are touristically more developed countries, through their territories tourists make airplane connections to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
From Vietnam and Thailand you can get by land or water: by bus, cab, boat or rail. In the latter case, however, you have to plan a complicated route, because there is no direct rail connection between these countries yet. Usually the train goes to the border with Cambodia, and then change to a convenient motor transport.
Do I need a visa to Cambodia?