An Introduction to Cambodia

Overview          Itinerary          Deals

Cambodia also Kampuchea officially the Kingdom of Cambodia is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 square miles) in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 16 million. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practised by approximately 95 percent of the population. The country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic and cultural centre of Cambodia. The kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch, currently Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently Hun Sen, the longest serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985. In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name "Kambuja". This marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region, including the construction of more than 1,000 temples and monuments in Angkor alone. Angkor Wat is the most famous of these structures and is designated as a World Heritage Site. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was then ruled as a vassal state by its neighbours. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, which doubled the size of the country by reclaiming the north and west from Thailand. Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carrying out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1979–91). Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992–93). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 factional fighting resulted in the ousting of the government by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2018. Cambodia is a member of the United Nations since 1955, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit, the WTO, the Non-Aligned Movement and La Francophonie. According to several foreign organisations, the country has widespread poverty, pervasive corruption, lack of political freedoms, low human development and a high rate of hunger. Cambodia has been described by Human Rights Watch's Southeast Asian Director, David Roberts, as a "vaguely communist free-market state with a relatively authoritarian coalition ruling over a superficial democracy". While per capita income remains low compared to most neighbouring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia, with growth averaging 7.6 percent over the last decade. Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction, garments and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade. The US World Justice Project's 2015 Rule of Law Index ranked Cambodia 76 out of 102 countries, similar to other countries in the region.

Geography :

Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 square miles) and lies entirely within the tropics, between latitudes 10° and 15°N, and longitudes 102° and 108°E. It borders Thailand to the north and west, Laos to the northeast, and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It has a 443-kilometre (275-mile) coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia's landscape is characterised by a low-lying central plain that is surrounded by uplands and low mountains and includes the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the upper reaches of the Mekong River delta. Extending outward from this central region are transitional plains, thinly forested and rising to elevations of about 650 feet (200 metres) above sea level. To the north the Cambodian plain abuts a sandstone escarpment, which forms a southward-facing cliff stretching more than 200 miles (320 kilometres) from west to east and rising abruptly above the plain to heights of 600 to 1,800 feet (180–550 metres). This cliff marks the southern limit of the Dângrêk Mountains. Flowing south through the country's eastern regions is the Mekong River. East of the Mekong the transitional plains gradually merge with the eastern highlands, a region of forested mountains and high plateaus that extend into Laos and Vietnam. In southwestern Cambodia two distinct upland blocks, the Krâvanh Mountains and the Dâmrei Mountains, form another highland region that covers much of the land area between the Tonle Sap and the Gulf of Thailand. In this remote and largely uninhabited area, Phnom Aural, Cambodia's highest peak rises to an elevation of 5,949 feet (1,813 metres). The southern coastal region adjoining the Gulf of Thailand is a narrow lowland strip, heavily wooded and sparsely populated, which is isolated from the central plain by the southwestern highlands. The most distinctive geographical feature is the inundations of the Tonle Sap, measuring about 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 square miles) during the dry season and expanding to about 24,605 square kilometres (9,500 square miles) during the rainy season. This densely populated plain, which is devoted to wet rice cultivation, is the heartland of Cambodia. Much of this area has been designated as a biosphere reserve.

Climate :

Cambodia's climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons, which are known as tropical wet and dry because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences. Cambodia has a temperature range from 21 to 35 °C (70 to 95 °F) and experiences tropical monsoons. Southwest monsoons blow inland bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to October. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to April. The country experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February. According to the International Development Research Center and The United Nations, Cambodia is considered Southeast Asia's most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change, alongside the Philippines. Rural coastal populations are particularly at risk. Shortages of clean water, extreme flooding, mudslides, higher sea levels and potentially destructive storms are of particular concern, according to the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance. Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22 °C (72 °F) and is generally accompanied with high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can rise up to 40 °C (104 °F) around April. Disastrous flooding occurred in 2001 and again in 2002, with some degree of flooding almost every year.

Ecology :

Cambodia's biodiversity is largely founded on its seasonal tropical forests, containing some 180 recorded tree species, and riparianecosystems. There are 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 240 reptile species, 850 freshwater fish species (Tonle Sap Lake area), and 435 marine fish species recorded by science. Much of this biodiversity is contained around the Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding biosphere. The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is a reserve surrounding the Tonle Sap lake. It encompasses the lake and nine provinces: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey, Pailin, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Other key habitats include the dry forest of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiriprovinces and the Cardamom Mountains ecosystem, including Bokor National Park, Botum-Sakor National Park, and the Phnom Aural and Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuaries. The Worldwide Fund for Nature recognises six distinct terrestrial ecoregions in Cambodia – the Cardamom Mountains rain forests, Central Indochina dry forest, Southeast Indochina dry evergreen forest, Southern Annamite Range tropical forest, Tonle Sap freshwater swamp forest, and Tonle Sap-Mekong peat swamp forest.

Environment :

Cambodia has a bad but improving performance in the global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) with an overall ranking of 146 out of 180 countries in 2016. This is among the worst in the Southeast Asian region, only ahead of Laos and Myanmar. The EPI was established in 2001 by the World Economic Forum as a global gauge to measure how well individual countries perform in implementing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The environmental areas where Cambodia performs worst (i.e. highest ranking) are air quality (148), water resource management (140) and health impacts of environmental issues (137), with the areas of sanitation, environmental impacts of fisheries and forest management following closely. Cambodia performs best when it comes to handling the nitrogen balance in the agricultural industry specifically, an area where Cambodia excels and are among the best in the world. In addition, Cambodia has an unusually large area of wildlife protections, both on land and at sea, with the land-based protections covering about 20% of the country. This secures Cambodia a better than average ranking of 61 in relation to biodiversity and habitat, even though illegal logging, construction and poaching are heavily deteriorating these protections and habitats in reality.

Tourism :

The tourism industry is the country's second-greatest source of hard currency after the textile industry. Between January and December 2007, visitor arrivals were 2.0 million, an increase of 18.5% over the same period in 2006. Most visitors (51%) arrived through Siem Reap with the remainder (49%) through Phnom Penh and other destinations. Other tourist destinations include Sihanoukville in the south west which has several popular beaches and the sleepy riverside town of Battambang in the north west, both of which are a popular stop for backpackers who make up a large of portion of visitors to Cambodia. The area around Kampot and Kep including the Bokor Hill Station are also of interest to visitors. Tourism has increased steadily each year in the relatively stable period since the 1993 UNTAC elections; in 1993 there were 118,183 international tourists, and in 2009 there were 2,161,577 international tourists. Most of the tourists were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Americans, South Koreans and French, said the report, adding that the industry earned some 1.4 billion US dollars in 2007, accounting for almost ten percent of the kingdom's gross national product. Chinese-language newspaper Jianhua Daily quoted industry officials as saying that Cambodia will have three million foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 and five million in 2015. Tourism has been one of Cambodia's triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reapprovince, the beaches in Sihanoukville and the capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign tourists.

Economy :

In 2017 Cambodia's per capita income is $4,022 in PPP and $1,309 in nominal per capita. Cambodia graduated from the status of a Least Developed Country to a Lower Middle Income country in the same year 2016. Most rural households depend on agriculture and its related sub-sectors. Rice, fish, timber, garments and rubber are Cambodia's major exports. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reintroduced more than 750 traditional rice varieties to Cambodia from its rice seed bank in the Philippines. These varieties had been collected in the 1960s. Based on the Economist, IMF: Annual average GDP growth for the period 2001–2010 was 7.7% making it one of the world's top ten countries with the highest annual average GDP growth. Tourism was Cambodia's fastest growing industry, with arrivals increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to over 2 million in 2007. In 2004, inflation was at 1.7% and exports at $1.6 billion US$. In the Cambodia country assessment "Where Have All The Poor Gone? Cambodia Poverty Assessment 2013", the World Bank concludes: "Over the seven years from 2004 through 2011, Cambodian economic growth was tremendous, ranking amid the best in the world. Moreover, household consumption increased by nearly 40 percent. And this growth was pro-poor—not only reducing inequality, but also proportionally boosting poor people's consumption further and faster than that of the non-poor. As a result, the poverty rate dropped from 52.2 to 20.5 percent, surpassing all expectations and far exceeding the country's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) poverty target. However, the majority of these people escaped poverty only slightly: they remain highly vulnerable—even to small shocks—which could quickly bring them back into poverty."

Package Itinerary

CAMBODIA - ITINERARY FOR 03 NIGHTS 04 DAYS

Day 01: Arrival - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tour

Upon Arrival At Siem Reap Airport, Meets And Transfers To Hotel For Check In. Visit To Rolousgroup :Lo Lei, Preahko And Ba Kong Temples. Overnight At Hotel

Day 02: Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tours

Breakfast At Hotel. Visit The Antique Capital Of Angkor Thom (12 Century): The South Gate With Its Huge Statues Depicting The Churning Of The Ocean Of Milk, The Bayon Temple, Unique For Its 54 Towers Decorated With Over 200 Smiling Faces Of Avolokitesvara, The Phimeanakas, The Royal Enclosure, The Elephants Terrace And The Terrace Of The Leper King. Lunch Not Included Visit To The Most Famous Of All The Temples On The Plain Of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The Temple Complex Covers 81 Hectares And Is Comparable In Size To The Imperial Palace In Beijing. Its Distinctive Five Towers Are Emblazoned On The Cambodian Flag And The 12th Century Masterpiece Is Considered By Art Historians To Be The Prime Example Of Classical Khmer Art And Architecture. Enjoy Wonderful Sunset From The Top Of Pre Rup Temple. Overnight At Hotel

Day 03: Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tours

Breakfast At Hotel, Visit To Banteay Srey, Known As Citadel Of Women Or A Pink Temple, And Banteaysamre Temples, Visit To The Unique Interior Brick Sculptures Of Prasat Kravan, Srahsrang ("The Royal Baths" Was Once Used Or Ritual Bathing),Banteaykdei(Surrounded By 4 Concentric Walls), Ta Prohm, One Of The Area’s Most Beautiful Temples. Ta Prohm Has Been Relatively Untouched Since It Was Discovered And Retains Much Of Its Mystery. Neakpean, A Fountain Built In The Middle Of A Pool (Representing The Paradisiacal Himalayan Mountain-Lake) And Preah Khan Temple, Built By The King Jayavarman Vii. Preah Khan Is, Like Ta Prohm, A Place Of Towered Enclosures And Shoulder Hugging Corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, However, The Temple Of Preah Khan Is In A Reasonable State Of Preservation And Ongoing Restoration Efforts Should Maintain And Even Improve This Situation. Overnight At Hotel

Day 04: Siem Reap - Boat Trip – Departure

Breakfast At Hotel, In The Morning, We Will Enjoy A Boat Ride On The Tonle Sap Lake At Kampong Phluk Village. This Is The Largest Permanent Fresh-Water Lake In South East Asia And Flows Into Tonle Sap River, Joining The Mekong In Phnom Penh. We Will See A Fishermen's "Floating Village" With Floating Schools, Floating Police Station, Etc. It Is Same As A Big Village Floating On The Lake, And The "Village" Move From Place To Place Following Water Levels And Current. Transfer To Siem Reap Airport For Flight To Next Destination.

CAMBODIA - ITINERARY FOR 02 NIGHTS 03 DAYS

Day 01 : Arrival - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tour (No Meal)

Upon arrival at Siem Reap airport, meets and transfers to hotel for check in Lunch not included Visit to the unique interior brick sculptures of Prasat Kravan, SrahSrang ("The Royal Baths" was once used or ritual bathing),BanteayKdei(surrounded by 4 concentric walls), Ta Prohm, one of the area’s most beautiful temples. Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. NeakPean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool (representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake) and Preah Khan temple, Built by the King Jayavarman VII. Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Dinner not included and night at hotel

Day 02 : Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tours (B)

Breakfast at hotel Visit the antique capital of Angkor Thom (12 century): the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, the Bayon Temple, unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara, the Phimeanakas, the Royal Enclosure, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Lunch not included Visit to the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Enjoy wonderful sunset from the top of Pre Rup Temple. Dinner not included and night at hotel

Day 03 : Siem Reap - Boat Trip – Departure (B)

Breakfast at hotel In the morning, we will enjoy a boat ride on the Tonle Sap Lake at KAMPONG PHLUK VILLAGE. This is the largest permanent fresh-water lake in South East Asia and flows into Tonle Sap River, joining the Mekong in Phnom Penh. We will see a fishermen's "floating village" with floating schools, floating police station, etc. It is same as a big village floating on the lake, and the "village" move from place to place following water levels and current. Lunch not included Transfer to Siem Reap airport for flight to next destination

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