Cambodia is a country that has undergone many changes in recent years. Like the rest of Southeast Asia, Cambodia has increased its tourism income in recent years. Angkor Wat is one of the most visited places in Southeast Asia and is the pride of the Cambodians. This country is recovering from its recent violent history. An open wound that is still present in the memories of its inhabitants. This is an article that will help you to know more about a place that could be your next travel destination. Here you have 18 curiosities of Cambodia that will help you better understand its history before traveling there.
18 curiosities of Cambodia that you did not know
- Cambodian Language: One of the curiosities of Cambodia that most surprises its visitors is its language. Khmer language is extraordinary. With an alphabet unknown to most in the West. The khmer language has the highest number of letters, 72, of which 32 are vowels.
- Flag and coat of arms: Cambodia has the only flag and coat of arms in the world in which a historic building appears. Angkor Wat, which we will talk about later.
- Official Currency: The official currency of Cambodia is the ‘Cambodian riel’. However, in most restaurants, hotels, shops for tourists, you can use the US dollar.
- Religion: Buddhism is the main religion of Cambodia. About 95% of its inhabitants are practitioners.
- Phnom Penh: It is the capital and the most populated city in the country. With a population of 1.5 million inhabitants. It is the main economic, political and cultural center of the country.
- Palafittes: Cambodia is a country in which there is a lot of misery. Extreme poverty is suffered by a large part of the population. So, it is very common that the predominant type of housing are the palafittes. Palafittes are very simple houses built on the water on the banks of the rivers.
History of Cambodia
- Khmer Empire: One of Cambodia’s curiosities is that Cambodians treat themselves as Khmers and Cambodia as Khmers land. The Khmer Empire comprised what is now Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.
- French colony: Cambodia was a French colony for 90 years. Between 1863 and 1953.
- Cambodian Genocide: An episode of pain and violence broke out in the 70s. A part of Cambodian history that represented the death of 30% of Cambodia’s population. The genocide was committed by the Khmer Rouge regime, a communist regime that bled the country 4 decades ago.
- Population: Due to the genocide of the 70s, the current population of Cambodia is mostly young.
Culture, economy and nature
- Martial arts: You probably did not know that Cambodia has its own martial art. That’s right, the Pradal Serey or Kun Khmer. It is a form of struggle widely spread in the country. It is very similar to Muay Thai in Thailand. In fact, the word “pradal” in the Cambodian language or Khmer means fighting.
- Gestures: For the Cambodian culture there are many gestures that do not look very good. For example, the legs should always be picked up. Since the soles of the feet should not be shown. It is also important that you do not touch the head or shoulders of another person, Cambodians consider it rude. Make sure that on your trip to Cambodia you receive the things with your right hand, it is a gesture of good education.
- Footwear: The shoes are for exclusive use on the street. When you enter a house or a temple you must take off your shoes.
- Tropical Country: One of the curiosities of Cambodia is that it is covered almost entirely by tropical forests. In addition to that, the country is crossed by 3 mountain ranges. When you arrive in Cambodia you will notice that green predominates throughout the national geography.
- Rice: Although Cambodia is a relatively small country next to its neighbors, Cambodia is one of the largest rice producers in the world. This is also linked to their traditions and customs. Well, at the table of a Cambodian there must always be rice. There is no day when a Cambodian does not eat rice.
- Angkor Wat: Cambodia’s top tourist destination, the most visited place in the country. It is the largest temple complex in the world with an area of 400 square kilometers. It was built in the 12th century and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.
- Responsible archeology: When the treasure that represents Angkor Wat was discovered, it was covered in jungle. This jungle that protected the complex was removed, so now its deterioration is much faster. Without the vegetal layer that protected the structures, the erosion causes that the construction begins to disappear.
- When to travel? the inclemencies of the weather make strong winds do not allow to enjoy the place. That is why the best time to travel to Cambodia is between the months of December and April.