According to countryaah, the Kingdom of Cambodia is located in southeastern Asia sandwiched between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The country is located on the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia is best known in the western world for its beautiful temple complexes, which largely date from the ninth century AD. Most tourists who visit the country come to Cambodia for one of the beautiful temple complexes. Usually a trip to Cambodia ends with a visit to the city of Sihanoukville with its beautiful pristine beaches.
Not much is known of the country’s earliest history, but it is known that it was part of the Khmer Empire from the ninth to the fourteenth century. Most of the country’s historic temples were built during this period. In the centuries that followed, the country was ruled by several kings and under several kingdoms. Until the French came to power here in the mid-nineteenth century and made the country part of Indochina. This included parts of Laos, Cambodia and parts of Vietnam.
In 1953 the Kingdom of Cambodia gained its independence from France. This was the beginning of many power changes and coups. Cambodia was badly hit by American bombing during the second Indochina War, better known in the west as the Vietnam War. More than half a million civilians were killed in these bombings.
After the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge took over power here under the leadership of Pol Pot. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 3,000,000 civilians were killed during this reign of terror.
The country has since been involved in multiple wars and civil wars, and incidents still occur regularly in the border areas with Thailand to this day.
It is therefore best to avoid these areas during a trip to Cambodia. In the capital Phnom Penh or in the area around the city of Sihanoukville you will hardly notice these disturbances.
Cambodia’s biggest tourist sites are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A visit to the country is not complete without seeing the temples of Angkor. Its construction probably started in the ninth century AD and took all in all five centuries. This temple complex is one of Cambodia’s most distinctive buildings.
In the capital Phnom Penh you will find the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, the temple Wat Phnom and the National Museum of Cambodia. Much of the French colonial period can still be found in the city. This is mainly in the architecture of many of the buildings.
Near the city of Battambang you can find the temple complex Wat Banan and the caves of Phnom Sampeu. In the region around the city you will find the national park Phnom Sam Pov.
The city of Sihanoukville is mainly known for its beaches. This area is known for its water sports facilities, especially diving. Off the coast is the beautiful island of Koh Russei.
Choeung Ek, better known to us as the Killing Fields, is located just outside the capital Phnom Penh and is one of the most horrific places in Cambodia. Here, 17,000 men, women and children were murdered in gruesome ways by the Khmer Rouge. Every year on 9 May, the victims of this genocide are commemorated here. At Choeung Ek is the Tuol Sleng museum which is dedicated to this.
Cambodia has two inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In both cases, these are temple complexes that were built here in the ninth century AD. In 1992, the temple complex of Angkor was the first to be listed here. This temple complex was built over the course of five centuries and consists of several complexes. The most important of these are Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom.
In 2008, the Preah Vihear Temple was added to the list. This temple complex is about eight hundred meters long and was built in the Dongrek Mountains in the border area between Cambodia and Thailand. This region is a conflict area where fights regularly occur. During one of these battles, part of the temple collapsed in 2011.
Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate with a distinct rainy season. This rainy period lasts from the beginning of April to the end of November. The other months of it are particularly dry here. The average annual precipitation here differs greatly per region. In the coastal area of Cambodia and on the windward side of the mountains, the average precipitation here is considerably higher than on the Cambodian lowlands. The average precipitation is highest in the Olifants Mountains. More than 5000 millimeters of precipitation can fall here in one year. In the capital Phnom Penh and in the other low-lying parts of Cambodia, the annual precipitation is “only” around 1,500 millimeters on an annual basis.
The average daytime temperature here is above thirty degrees Celsius all year round. In the evening and night it cools down by about ten degrees. During the rainy season, the average humidity is quite high here.
The sea temperature here is warm with an average temperature just below thirty degrees Celsius.
In the second half of the year you have a small chance of tropical storms or hurricanes. Not many hurricanes make landfall in Cambodia, but those that do leave a trail of destruction.
Cambodia is located in southeastern Asia on the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. It has land borders with Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. The borders of Cambodia are for the most part formed by low mountains that enclose the Cambodian plains. In this low plain is the Tonlé Sap Lake, where during the rainy season the water flows from the Mekong River via the Tonlé Sap River. During the dry period, the water flows out again via the Tonlé Sap River to the Mekong River. This is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. The largest and most important rivers in the country are the Mekong River, the Tonlé Sap River and the Bassac River.
Two mountain ranges run along the borders of the country, the Cardamom Mountains and the Olifants Mountains. In the Chuor Phnom Damrei or Elephant Mountains you will find the highest point of Cambodia, the 1771 meter high Phnom Aural.
The capital Phnom Penh is the largest and most important city in the country other major places in Cambodia are Battambang, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Krong Koh Kong.
Non-essential travel to certain areas is not recommended. This mainly applies to the border area with Thailand. Fighting regularly takes place between the Cambodian army and the Thai army in the provinces of Preah Vihear and Oddar.
Landmines or other undetonated explosives may be located in rural areas of Cambodia and in the various border areas. Leaving the main road is strongly discouraged here. These areas are sometimes marked with signs, follow the instructions on these signs at all times.
A visit to Cambodia during the rainy season is not recommended because major floods regularly occur here. The provinces of Siem Reap, Kompong Thom and Kratie have the greatest risk of flooding.
Pickpocket gangs are active in Cambodia’s tourist areas and tourists are robbed with some regularity. If you are robbed, it is best not to resist and cooperate with the robbers. However, it is wise not to walk around too flashy with jewelry or equipment.
Anyone wishing to visit Cambodia must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months on the day of the return journey. You also need to buy a tourist visa at one of the two airports or at one of the border crossings. For this visa you need to bring two passport photos. Nowadays you can also arrange your visa for Cambodia via the internet. That saves you a lot of hassle when you arrive in Cambodia.
If you want to stay in Cambodia for more than 30 days, you must apply for a residence visa at the embassy in advance.
|Capital city||Phnom Penh|
|Phone (country code)||855|
|Language(s) (colloquial)||Khmer, French and English|
|Time difference summer||In Cambodia it is 5 hours later than in the Netherlands|
|Time difference winter||In Cambodia it is 6 hours later than in the Netherlands|
|Daylight Saving Time Control||no|