Kingdom of Cambodia
Once known as the Khmer empire, Cambodia is perhaps best known for its monumental temples, especially that of Angkor Wat – finalist in the election of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2006. It is without doubt a country of incredible beauty, scattered with these temples, fertile rice fields and a rich and interesting history. For this reason it is unsurprising that Cambodia has taken a firm place on the tourist map. Having been a protectorate of France for almost 100 years, the country gained its independence in 1953. Following this however, Cambodia experienced years of civil war, turmoil and political corruption, as well as suffering from its involvement in the Vietnam war.
Despite holding this dark history, Cambodia really is an extraordinary country and has prevailed due to what has been described as the unbreakable spirit of the Cambodian people. The people here are known for their friendliness and their smiles.
Cambodia has monsoon climate with temperatures ranging from 21°C - 35°C (The average year-round temperature is 27.7°C). Its monsoon season spans from May - October, whilst dry season lasts from November to December . Dry season is the most popular time to visit however rainy season can be incredibly beautiful in Cambodia due to the richer colours that it causes. The rain also can help to make temperatures more pleasant. Post-monsoon season is also a favourite time to visit because of the stunning green countryside
Whilst temperatures do not vary hugely, during the winter the northern parts of the country can be colder.
Buddhism is an important aspect of Khmer cultural and is practiced by 95% of the Cambodian population.
In true Asian style, the staple food in Cambodia is rice whilst fish from the Mekong river plays another major part in Khmer cuisine. You can also expect to find use of noodles, soups, stir-fries, curries and salads and so there is something to suit everyone’s taste. The french colonial influence can even be seen in the use of toasted baguette with Cambodian red curry.
It has to be said that the Cambodian cuisine is relatively unknown compared to that of Thailand and Vietnam.
Taxis are becoming increasingly popular in Cambodia however there are still very few metered taxis, especially anywhere outside of Phnom penh.
This are a cheap and practical way to get around in towns/cities. In Phnom Penh, drivers can be flagged down on main roads or found waiting around markets and hotels. You should expect to bargain and set a price before the journey.
Motorcycle taxis are a quick and cheap way to get around in a city. Prices may rise at night and like the cyclo, you should expect to bargain and agree on a price before the journey. It should be noted that Cyclo/moto drivers may speak little to no English.
Cart rides are common in the more remote/rural parts of Cambodia
Whilst Cambodia has no train service, buses provide a good alternative for the longer distance journeys/ travel into neighbouring countries.
Commercial flights connect the main tourist areas in Cambodia
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