Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and the Gulf of Thailand coastline.
16.7 million (2020)
Do remove your shoes when you enter someone’s house or when visiting a pagoda.
The head is considered to be the most sacred part of the body so don’t touch or pat someone’s head.
Top three foods the country is known for:
- Fish Amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves),
- Char Kroeung Sach Ko (stir fried lemograss beef),
- Nom Banh Chok (khmer noodles),
- Bai Sach Chrouk (grilled pork and broken rice)
What the country is known for :
- Angkor Wat temples,
- Phnom Phem Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda,
- Infamous Khmer Rouge,
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeng Ek Memorial,
- Rice production,
- Siem Reap beaches,
More About Cambodia
I had the pleasure of visiting Cambodia in 2015, when my cousin was working there. When your cousin invites you for a sister trip to a country you have never heard about, you google it and book your ticket – it’s the caring thing to do. She was living and working in Phnom Penh, so accomodation and basics logistics were taken care of. The first impression of Cambodia, was surprise. I am not sure what I expected but after the other countries i had visited in Asia, this was not it.
Cambodia was a little confusing for me, it had a start combination of developed and developing. Infrastructure was good and available, lots of construction going on all over the place, and yet there were also a lot of derelict buildings all over. It seems like a country of contrasts with its grand palace, silver pagodas, mansions and some amazing shopping malls not too far from derelict buildings, rubbish heaps and unauthorised housing structures.
I believe in trying to get some context of every country I visit. For Cambodia, a visit to Choeng ek Memorial (the Killing Fields) from Phnom Penh and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is very helpful. One gets more of an understanding of the Cambodian Genocide that took place in the Country between 1975 and 1979 under the rule of the Khmer Rouge, which was led by Pol Pot. Granted the museum and the killing fields are emotionally heavy places to visit but they honour the victims whose lives were cut short by shedding light on Cambodia’s dark temple. As you explore the rest of the country one can see some of the remnants of that not so distant history. Researchers, in a journal published in the World Psychiatry Journal in 2016 noted that over 40% of the population suffer from anxiety or PTSD.
The north of the country is the ancient temple of Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap. The infrastructure of this temple is incredible it is the really the setting for Tomb Raider, with trees growing around and above and around the walls. I believe the structure of the roots of these trees is what inspired the ‘tree of life’. A walking tour is highly recommended to get an understanding of how this incredible temple came to be as well as its use over time. There are many iconic temples one can visit around Cambodia. Other popular temples are The Bayon Temple which has over 200 carved stone faces, and Ta Prohm temple which made an appearance in the 2001 movie Tomb Raider starring Hollywood actress Lara Croft. There are also a variety of lovely beaches one can escape to to enjoy some time around the water.
A variety of delicious food offerings are available. The influences from different parts of the Asia, have resulted in interesting fusions in the culinary offerings with offers of a variety of rice and noodle dishes. The street markets are definitely not to miss. For the adventure eater, Cambodia has lots of interesting delicacies to try out from insects, to snakes or frogs.
Do you speak English?
Tae anak niyeay pheasaeaangklesa te?
Where is the toilet?
Tae bangkon nowenea?
May I please have some water?
Tae khnhom som tuk khleah ba te?
I would like some food please
Khnhom chngban ahar khleah
Where can I get a taxi?
Tae khnhom ach ttuol ban taksai nowenea?
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