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Cambodia Travel guide

The Kingdom of Cambodia, formerly Kampuchea, is a Southeast Asian nation that borders Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The capital city is Phnom Penh

Official Name: Kingdom of Cambodia

Geography:
Area
: 181,040 sq. km. (69,900 sq. mi.)
Cambodia is located on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast. Cambodia has a sea coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The Dangrek Mountain range in the north and Cardamom Mountains in the southwest form natural boundaries. Principal physical features include the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Cambodia remains one of the most heavily forested countries in the region, although deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
Cities: Capital–Phnom Penh (pop. 1.2 million), Battambang, Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Kompong Speu, Kompong Thom.
National Flag :The flag of Cambodia symbolizes the country’s slogan: Nation, Religion, King. The two large blue stripes represent royalty and the center red stripe represents the nation. The image of the white temple stands for the nation’s religion.   National FlowerThe romduol, a small yellowish-white flower, is the national flower of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Since ancient times, Cambodian women have often been compared to the Romduol flower because of its attractive fragrance; a unique scent that is prominent in the late afternoon and can travel over long distances with the wind. With its sturdy stems that measure up to 30cm, the Romduol plant can grow to a height of 12 meters. These plants are being planted to enhance public parks.
Currency & Exchange:
The Cambodian official currency is Khmer Riels, However US Dollar is widely accepted in Cambodia. US Dollar has been used as commonly as Khmer Riels for High-Value items particularly dealing in the Hotels, Restaurant, Shops, high value possessions and Taxi.Cambodian hard currencies printed in : 50 Riels, 100 Riels, 200 Riels, 500 Riels, 1,000 Riels, 2,000 Riels, 5,000 Riels, 10,000 Riels, 50,000 Riels, 100,000 Riels. Tourist should carry some Khmer Riels for some small value deals.Credit card, Master Card, RJB, and Travel Checks are accepted in major Hotels, Restaurants, and Shops. Most Banks in Cambodia accepts above Cards for encashment manually or ATM machines and located in most high-population provinces such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanouk Ville and Battambong.Currency policy in Cambodia haven’t yet applied and seem to be freely convenience for tourist as they are at home unlike in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. US Dollar against Khmer Riels, Rate at Shop, Restaurants and Hotels are approximately around 4,000 Riels/ USD. You can do the exchange in many places outside the banks and they are located almost everywhere near the markets.Terrain: Central plain drained by the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Forests away from the rivers and the lake, mountains in the southwest (Cardamom Mountains) and north (Dangrek Mountains) along the border with Thailand.
Climate: Tropical monsoon with rainy season June-Oct. and dry season Nov.-May. ClimateLike most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s climate is hot and warm almost all year round. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle of rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry season from November to April. December to January are the coolest months, while the hottest period is in April. The average temperature is around 27-28º
People Nationality: Noun and adjective–Cambodian(s), Khmer.Cambodia’s population is approximately 14 million. Ninety per cent of residents are Khmer; the rest are Cham (Khmer Muslim), Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Phnorng, Kuoy, Stieng, Tamil, etc. Population density is 78/ km2.
Avg. annual growth rate (2005) 1.96%.Health: Infant mortality rate–69/1,000. Life expectancy–57 years male; 61 years female.Ethnic groups: Cambodian 90%; Vietnamese 5%; Chinese 1%; small numbers of hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian.
Ninety percent of Cambodia’s population is ethnically Cambodian. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Vietnamese, hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of 95% of the population; Islam, animism, and Christianity also are practiced. Khmer is the official language and is spoken by more than 95% of the population. Some French is still spoken in urban areas, and English is increasingly popular as a second language.Religions: Theravada Buddhism 95%; Islam; Christian.Languages: Khmer (official) spoken by more than 95% of the population; some French still spoken in urban areas; English increasingly popular as a second language.

Education: Years compulsory–none. Enrollment–primary school, 91.9%; grades 7 to 9, 26.1%; grades 10 to 12, 9.3%; and post-secondary, 1.4%. Completion rates–primary school, 46.8%; lower secondary school, 20.57%; upper secondary school, 8.92%; university, 6%. Literacy (total population over 15 that can read and write, 2006)–73.6% (male 84.7%; female 64.1%).

Government
Type: Multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy. Independence: November 9, 1953. Constitution: September 24, 1993; amended March 6, 1999.
Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy, and its constitution provides for a multiparty democracy. The Royal Government of Cambodia, formed on the basis of elections internationally recognized as free and fair, was established on September 24, 1993.
The executive branch comprises the king, who is head of state; an appointed prime minister; seven deputy prime ministers, 15 senior ministers, 28 ministers, 135 secretaries of state, and 146 undersecretaries of state. The bicameral legislature consists of a 123-member elected National Assembly and a 61-member Senate. The judiciary includes a Supreme Court and lower courts. Administrative subdivisions are 20 provinces and 4 municipalities.

Principal Government Officials
King and Head of State: His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni
Prime Minister and Head of Government: His Excellency Hun Sen
President of the Senate: His Excellency Chea Sim
President of National Assembly: His Excellency Heng Samrin

Economy
Cambodia’s real GDP grew at 5.5% in 2002 and 5.2% in 2003, with almost all of the growth coming from the garment sector. Growth in 2004 was strong at 5.5%, with the garment sector providing the biggest input into GDP growth. Inflation steadily increased from 1.3% in 2003 to 3.9% in 2005 to 6.7% in 2005. The national currency, the riel, was relatively stable over 2002 but depreciated slightly against the U.S. dollar in 2003. The National Bank of Cambodia made a series of limited yet effective interventions in 2004 to keep the riel to dollar rate at roughly 4,000 to one. The economy is heavily dollarized; the dollar and riel can be used interchangeably. FDI was recorded at $142 million in 2000 and gradually dropped to $121 million in 2004. In 2005, for the first time in five years, FDI increases to $216 million. In recent years Cambodia is showing a steady growth as the progressive economy. GDP (2005): $6.2 billion. Per capita GDP (2005): $448. Annual growth rate (2005): 13.4%. Inflation (2005): 6.7%. Natural resources: Timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese and phosphate, hydroelectric potential from the Mekong River. Agriculture (32.3% of GDP, 2005): About 4,848,000 hectares (12 million acres) are unforested land; all are arable with irrigation, but 2.5 million hectares are cultivated. Products–rice, rubber, corn, meat, vegetables, dairy products, sugar, flour. Industry (25.3% of GDP, 2005): Types–garment and shoe manufacturing, rice milling, tobacco, fisheries and fishing, wood and wood products, textiles, cement, some rubber production, paper and food processing.

Services (37% of GDP, 2004 est.): Tourism, telecommunications, transportation, and construction

Central government budget (2005): Revenues–$642 million; expenditures–$812 million; foreign financing–$273 million.

Trade: Exports ($2.9 billion, 2005)–garments, shoes, cigarettes, natural rubber, rice, pepper, wood, fish. Major partners–United States, Germany, U.K., Singapore, Japan, Vietnam. Imports ($3.8 billion, 2005)–fuels, cigarettes, vehicles, consumer goods, machinery. Major partners–Thailand, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, United States.

Economic aid received: Pledges of $601 million in grants and concessional loans for calendar year 2006. Major donors–Asian Development Bank (ADB), UN Development Program (UNDP), World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Thailand, U.K., U.S. According to the Cambodian Government, 95.2% of the $504 million pledged by donors for 2005 was actually disbursed.

Principal foreign commercial investors: Malaysia, Taiwan, U.S., China, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand.

Exchange rate (2007): 4,000 riel per U.S. $1.

World Heritage Site: Angkor Wat (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Over a period of 300 years, between 900 and 1200 AD, the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor produced some of the world’s most magnificent architectural masterpieces on the northern shore of the Tonle Sap, near the present town of Siem Reap. The Angkor area stretches 15 miles east to west and 5 miles north to south. Some 72 major temples or other buildings dot the area. Suryavarman II built the principal temple, Angkor Wat, between 1112 and 1150. With walls nearly one-half mile on each side, Angkor Wat portrays the Hindu cosmology with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods; the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world; and the moat, the oceans beyond. Angkor Thom, the capital city built after the Cham sack of 1177, is surrounded by a 300-foot wide moat. Construction of Angkor Thom coincided with a change from Hinduism to Buddhism. Temples were altered to display images of the Buddha, and Angkor Wat became a major Buddhist shrine.

During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned after Siamese attacks. The exception was Angkor Wat, which remained a shrine for Buddhist pilgrims. The great city and temples remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century when French archaeologists began a long restoration process. France established the Angkor Conservancy in 1908 to direct restoration of the Angkor complex. For the next 64 years, the conservancy worked to clear away the forest, repair foundations, and install drains to protect the buildings from their most insidious enemy: water. After 1953, the conservancy became a joint project of the French and Cambodian Governments. Some temples were carefully taken apart stone by stone and reassembled on concrete foundations. Tourism is now the second-largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia’s economy, and Angkor Wat has helped attract international tourism to the country.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with most countries. The country is a member of most major international organizations, including the UN and its specialized agencies, and became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1998.

Cambodia is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). On October 13, 2004, Cambodia became the 148th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations. It is meant to say a valid passport and visa are required for entry. Visas can be obtained at Phnom Penh International Airport or Siem Reap (Angkor) Airport. All travelers have to do is bring along two passport size photos and fill up visa application. A one-month tourist visa costs US$20 while a business visa costs US$25.00. Visa application form will be provided on inbound flights. Visas are also available at Thai/Cambodian overland border crossing.

Tourist visas can be extended for one month, but only one time. Business visas can be renewed indefinitely. Renew visas through a travel agent or the ‘Department for Foreigners’ on Confederation de Russie (‘Airport Road’), located opposite Phnom Penh International Airport. Renew Diplomatic, Courtesy and Official visas at the Consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Passport and Visas:
Cambodian e-Visa :
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched e-Visa which enables you to apply for a Cambodia travel visa online. Instead of applying through Cambodian Embassy, all you need is to complete the online application form and pay with your credit card. You will get your visa approved within 3 business days. Now you can obtain the Cambodian Visa by applying online now at http://www.evisa.mfaic.gov.kh Just log in and apply your Cambodian visa at your finger click.


Airport Tax:

International Departures: US$25
Domestic Departure: US$6

Border Information in Cambodia

By Airport
1. Phnom Penh International Airport
2. Siem Reap Angkor International Airport
3. Sihanouk Ville International Airport

By Overland and River Border

1. Thailand- Cambodia
There are everyday direct flights from Thailand to Cambodia either to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Other alternative you could go to Cambodia by overland border as following:

a). Aranyaprathet / Poipet, Cambodia (Working hours 8:00 am to 8:00 pm)
This official land border is good for tourists who wish to visit Siem Reap, Battambong and it takes about 5 hours by open-bus or shared taxi to get Siem Reap. Road condition from Poipet to Siem Reap is not that developed but a four wheels drive will be the best transportation recommended for this wet season (July to November). In the dry season from (December to June) is considerable for time to travel by this road.

b). Hat Lek / Cham Yeam-Koh Kong, Cambodia (Working hours 8:00 am to 8:00 pm)
This official overland border is good for tourist who wish to visit Sihanouk Ville, Phnom Penh, and the tourist could go to Sihanouk Ville by Boat which depart very morning 8:00 am. It takes 4 hours to reach Sihanouk Ville while at least 5 hours by taxi to Sihanouk Ville. The road condition from Koh Kong to Sre Ambil is a bit difficult while from Sre Ambil to Phnom Penh, Sihanouk Ville, Kampot are years round good condition and well-maintenance. You also could get upon arrival visa at this border check points as well.

c). Chong Jom / O’Smach, Cambodia
This is also an official overland border in the remote provinces, Oddor Meanchey, where tourist could obtain their upon arrival visa at the check points. Fewer tourists get into Cambodia by this check point.

d). Chong Sa Ngam / Anlong Veng, Cambodia
This is remote border, where was former Khmer rouge resident located and the last district to re-united after a long war in Cambodia. Tourist passes this border mostly from Sisaket, Thailand. Visa upon arrival is available.

2. Vietnam- Cambodia
There are everyday direct flights from Vietnam to Cambodia either to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Other alternative you could go to Cambodia by overland border as following:

a). Moc Bai / Bavet, Cambodia (Working Hours 8:00 am- 5:00 pm)
This is a biggest official border get between Vietnam and Cambodia, It takes about 5 hours to travel from Bavet to Phnom Penh and Visa upon arrival is available. There are several local taxi, mini-van, bus are waiting to transfer you until late evening. The road condition is good and well-maintenance.

b). Chau Doc / Kaam Samnor, Cambodia (Working Hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm)
This is an official river-border on the Mekong River, is becoming the popular get way for tourists come to Cambodia from Vietnam by boat, ferry. It takes about 6 Hours to reach Phnom Penh Port. If you wish to go to visit Siem Reap, the only way is to take private taxi otherwise you will stay overnight in Phnom Penh wait for the morning or noon bus. Cambodian visa is available upon arrival.

c). Tinh Bien / Phnom Den, Takeo, Cambodia (Working Hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm)
Tourist Visa upon arrival is unknown, but it is good for those who prefer to visit Kampot and Sihanouk Ville rather than Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. It takes 2-3 hours to get Kampot and Sihanouk Ville by mini-van or taxi.

3. Laos-Cambodia
There are everyday direct flights from Lao to Cambodia either to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Other alternative you could go to Cambodia by overland border as following:

a). Voeung Kam / Dom Kralor, Cambodia
Tourist Visa is available upon arrival; it is good for tourist coming from Laos to Visit Cambodia through Steung Treng to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. The road condition is comparatively good condition. From this border, there is another border on the river-crossing which the Visa might not be available on arrival. From the border, you could choose 3 different tastes of Cambodia, [1] City of Phnom Penh, [2] Heritage Angkor-Siem Reap and [3] Tribe-Hills (Mondolkiri and Rattanakiri).

Communication:
The country code for Cambodia is 855. The telephone networks consists of satellite, landlines, cellular, GSM and radio systems which connect Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kompong Cham and other provinces internationally. International dialing can be done at main postal offices, private business centers or hotel or at public phone booths, which can be found at postal office, main streets, gas stations, major restaurants, hotels etc. If you want a lower rate and clear sound is not a factor, there are many Internet cafés offering International calling.

Postal Services:
The main postal service in Phnom Penh is located on the corner of street 102 and 13, which is east of Wat Phnom Penh. From there, you can send parcels, telegrams etc. It opens daily from 7:30AM to 5:00PM

Business Hours:
Government offices are open from 7:30AM to 5:00PM on weekday; the lunch break is from 12:00 to 2:00PM. Most businesses, restaurants open from 7:00AM to 8:00PM while most banks operate from 7:30AM to 3:30PM on weekday and some are half day on Saturday.

Note: For latest information and details, please check with your Travel Agent before you travel

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