cambodia map, indochina mapThe Kingdom of Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of almost 15 million people, with Phnom Penh being the capital city. Cambodia is the successor state of the once powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.
A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or "Khmer", which strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes.

Cambodia has an area of about 181,040 square kilometres (69,900 sq. mi), sharing an 800 kilometre (500 mi) border with Thailand in the north and west, a 541 kilometre (336 mi) border with Laos in the northeast, and a 1,228 kilometre (763 mi) border with Vietnam in the east and southeast. It has 443 kilometres (275 mi) of coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.

The most distinctive geographical feature is the lacustrine plain, formed by the inundations of the Tonle Sap (Great Lake), measuring about 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq. mi) during the dry season and expanding to about 24,605 square kilometres (9,500 sq. mi) during the rainy season. This densely populated plain, which is devoted to wet rice cultivation, is the heartland of Cambodia. Most (about 75%) of the country lies at elevations of less than 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level, the exceptions being the Cardamom Mountains (highest elevation 1,813 m / 5,948 ft) and their southeast extension the Dâmrei Mountains ("Elephant Mountains") (elevation range 500–1,000 m or 1,640–3,280 ft), as well the steep escarpment of the Dângrêk Mountains (average elevation 500 m / 1,640 ft) along the border with Thailand's Isan region. The highest elevation of Cambodia is Phnom Aoral, near Pursat in the centre of the country, at 1,813 metres (5,948 feet).

Cambodia Sightseeing

Cambodia offers much for the sightseer and adventurer. From the famed Angkor Wat, the largest ancient temple in the world, to museums and galleries, there is something for everyone.

Angkor Wat
The number one reason to come to Cambodia – although not the only reason – the temple complex in Siem Reap houses a plethora of sites to explore. Apart from Angkor Wat, two other attractions are Bayon and Ta Prohm temples.

Battambang
Cambodia’s second city, Battambang contains impressive colonial architecture and is an up-and-coming destination now used frequently by visitors as a base from which to view nearby temples and villages.

Kompong Luong
The floating town of Kompong Luong is home to thousands of residents on Tonlé Sap lake. It’s quite impressive to see homes, restaurants, schools and other town structures rising and falling with the tide. You’ll find the village 40kms north of Pursat.

Kompong Luong
The floating town of Kompong Luong is home to thousands of residents on Tonlé Sap lake. It’s quite impressive to see homes, restaurants, schools and other town structures rising and falling with the tide. You’ll find the village 40kms north of Pursat.

Sihanoukville Beach
The beach at Sihanoukville is the only place where you can take part in water sports like scuba diving. It’s also a great base for exploring Ream National Park. There are several good beach areas and even a nearby waterfall where you can swim. Also in the vicinity is the resort town of Kampot.

Tuol Sleng S-21, Museum of Genocide
A high school in the capital turned into a gruesome torturing prison – this is one of the must-sees of Cambodia. Somewhere around 17,000 political prisoners were tortured in this facility and also killed here or in the infamous Killing Fields nearby, all in just the span between 1975 and 1979. Make sure to pick up a guide for this tour, as many have personal experience with the prison and can add a lot to the experience. 

Shopping

Siem Reap Shopping

Siem Reap has two main markets: the Central Market and the Old Market. Here, bargaining and haggling skills will be needed as you negotiate prices for the many items on sale such as glassware, freshwater pearls, natural Cambodian silk, and bed covers.

You can get tailor-made suits and dresses along with blouses and hats at the three-storey boutique Samatoa. If you want to shop out of town head to the Angkor Night Market; this Balinese-influenced market is open from 16:00 to midnight daily and makes a cool change from the heat and clutter of the inner-town markets. Here, you'll find around 130 stalls offering a vast array of products, many of which you won’t find elsewhere. The many silver betel nut holders, often in the shape of animals, make good souvenirs or presents for back home. 

Phnom Penh Shopping

You'll find Cambodian silk for sale in Phnom Penh at the Russian Market (a Cold War era goods depot) and silk shops and boutiques across town, many specializing in silk creations such as tailored Asian and Euro-Asian fashions, accessories and soft furnishings.

Also available at traditional markets are pounded silverwork, often in the shape of animals. Statues and carvings of traditional and religious subjects are widespread but don't for one minute believe you are buying an antique; these are replicas through and through.

In the last few years the art scene in Cambodia has flourished and you can see evidence of this is streets 240 and 178 and if you are after gems from West Cambodia make sure you know enough about your subject otherwise you could end up regretting it back home when you verify the stones. 

Full country name: The Kingdom of Cambodia

  • Area: 181035 sq. Km.
  • Population: 12 mln. p.
  • Capital: Phnom Penh
  • Nation: 94% ethnic Khmers, 4% Chinese 2% Vietnamese.
  • Language: Khmer language, French, English
  • Religion: 95% Buddhism, Muslim and Catholics
  • Government: Constitutional monarchy