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Regional Information Features: Cambodia

Cambodia: Kingdom of Cambodia
: Phnom Penh
Population: 12,775,324
Currency: riel (KHR)
Languages: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Religions: Theravada Buddhist 95%, other 5%
Borders: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km

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Cambodia is a small country in central Indo-China, wedged between Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west and Laos to the north. It occupies an area of 176,520 sq km. The mighty Mekong River carves its way through Cambodia and eventually filters out in to the South China Sea via the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. The population of Cambodia is 12,775,324 with Phnom Penh, the capital, being the largest city. The earliest civilization of any kind in Cambodia was the Khmers. Around the town of Siem Reap in northern Cambodia there are many outstanding examples of ruined temples that were built by the Khmers. The largest of the early Khmer temples is the Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious edifice in the world. For many visitors to Cambodia, the temples of Angkor are a sight not to be missed. The French once colonised Indochina, including Cambodia (then Kampuchea) and Vietnam. Many of the older generation still speak French and there are signs in the cuisine and architecture of French colonisation.

For years, Cambodia's tourism industry suffered mainly due to war. In 1975, the Vietnam War burst at the seams and overflowed into Cambodia where fighting and violence quickly escalated. On 17 April 1975, the Khmer Rouge, a guerrilla force, took Phnom Penh. In the years that followed, the Khmer Rouge marched the population into fields, where they were made slaves. The Khmer Rouge announced that the year became the year zero and soon, teachers, monks, high ranking officials and such were executed. It is not known exactly how many people died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge but it is estimated at around 1 million.

Today Cambodia is open to visitors though caution should certainly be exercised in sensitive rural areas. There are still many mines littered around the country that have been left over from the war and many people still carry guns.

Cambodia has a monsoonal, tropical climate with an average daily temperature of 30�C. The wet season runs from May to November and the dry from December to April. The hottest recorded temperature in Phnom Penh was 41�C.

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Worldworx Travel> Features> Cambodia




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