Geography & Climate

Occupying an area of approximately 181,000 sq km, Cambodia is bordered to the north and west by Laos and Thailand, to the east by Vietnam, and to the south by the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia's climate is characterised by three distinct seasons, unofficially known to resident expats as ‘hot, hotter and hottest.’ The rainy season extends from May to October. It is followed by a short, cool dry season from November to January, which develops into a hot dry season from February to May. Average daytime temperatures generally range from 25C to 30C, but can drop to 20C during the coolest months and hit 40C during the peak of the dry season.

Cambodia at a Glance

Area: 181,035 sq km
Population: 15 million
Local Time: GMT +7 hrs
Tourist Visa: US$30 for 1 month
Int. Tel. Code: +855
Capital: Phnom Penh
Language: Khmer
Money: US$1 = 4000r (riel)
Business Visa: US$35 for 1 month
Power: 220V, 50C

Government

A Constitutional Monarchy was instituted under the leadership of HM King Norodom Sihanouk, following democratic elections in 1993. The Cambodian People’s Party runs the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen (CPP).

Population and People

Cambodia's population is about 15 million and expanding rapidly. Khmers make up 90 percent of the population, while a variety of other ethnic groups make up the rest. They include a diverse group of Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham, and a number of tribal groups such as the Bunong, Kreung, Tampuon, Kuoy and Jarai among them.

Language

Cambodia's national language is Khmer, which is also referred to as Cambodian. English is the first language among young students, while French is still spoken by some of the older generation. Chinese and Vietnamese are also widely spoken in urban areas and Thai is quite well understood in Western Cambodia.

Religion

Cambodia's official religion is Theravada Buddhism. It was introduced in Cambodia in the 12th century. It is enhanced by traditional animist beliefs and Brahmanist practices long imported from India to form a very Cambodian fusion religion. There are also 500,000 muslims, mostly of Cham origin.

Festivals & Public Holidays in Cambodia

International New Years Day: January 1
Victory over Genocide Day: January 7
International Women’s Day: March 8
Khmer New Year: April 13-16
International Labor Day: May 1
King Sihamoni’s Birthday: May 13-15
Royal Ploughing Ceremony: May
Pchum Ben [3 days]: September/October
King's Coronation Anniversary: October 29
King Father’s Birthday: October 31
Water Festival [3 days]: October/November
Independence Day: November 9