As a country once home to the Khmer civilization, Cambodia has many unique cultural aspects. Its culture is so rich that it has four cultural heritage artifacts that have been named World Heritage items by UNESCO. This includes the ever famous and ever beautiful Angkor Wat, PreahBihear temple, and the unique Apsara Dance and Shadow Theater. The culture and influences of Cambodia are mainly mixes of Hinduism and Buddhism that have come together to create something distinctly Cambodian. The country is a beautiful place to visit to discover more about Indochina’s culture and history, as well as witness the beauty of Cambodian architecture, decorative art and culture.
Important and Interesting Facts about Cambodia
- In recent times, the country’s biggest source of income has been the textile industry. The second largest source of Cambodian income is tourism.
- The picturesque country of Cambodia that is officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia is located in the southern portion of Indochina peninsula in South East Asia. Bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia is a beautiful landscape with uplands and mountains with a 443-kilometer (275 mi) coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.
- Angkor has been one of the biggest cradles of civilization. A team of international researchers in 2007 used satellite photographs and other modern techniques to conclude that it was the largest pre-industrial city in the world with an urban sprawl of 1,150 square miles that probably supported up to a million people.
- Huge reservoirs and canals were built by the Angkor kings to provide water for irrigation.
- Cambodia has the largest inland lake in South East Asia called the Tonle Sap.
- Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in Cambodia in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
- Angkor Watwas first a Hindu, later a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world.
- Angkor Thom, located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those established by Jayavarman and his successors.
- TheBayon is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. The Bayon’s most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.
- Sihanoukville, also known as Kampong Som, is a port city and beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. The big attractions here are the white-sand beaches and several undeveloped tropical islands. Sihanoukville is a good place to relax and unwind, though be prepared to battle the crows during the high season or a holiday weekend.
- Located within the Royal Palace compound in Phnom Penh, the Silver Pagoda houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia) and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Cambodia
- Traditionally, birthdays are not celebrated in Cambodia. Older people might not even know their birthdays
- The Cambodian flag is the only flag in the world to feature a building.
- Interestingly, in north east of Cambodia, dolphins can be found in rivers.
- Tarantula kebabs are a popular delicacy in Cambodia.
- Cambodia has 2.36 million registered automobiles and motorcycles.
- A Giant Barb on the Tonle Sap River near Phnom Penh, Cambodia was found. There is evidence that giant barb once reached sizes of 10 feet (3 meters) long and 660 pounds (300 kilograms), but today specimens even half the size is extremely rare.
- The clouded leopard is a reclusive, nocturnal cat that spends most of its time up in trees; its ecology is largely unknown. Even though there are only few observations in Cambodia, the presence of this enigmatic carnivore has been confirmed by camera traps in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province.
- In the wild, the secretive Sunda Pangolins are rarely observed during their nightly forages for ants and termites. Sunda Pangolins still occur over wide areas of Cambodia, especially in the Cardamom Mountains as well as in the forests of Mondulkiri’s Eastern Plains Landscape.
- The correct and full title of the current King of Cambodia is:Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdach Preah Bâromneath Norodom Sihamoni Nai Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea. Such a long name is not a picularity, it is a main feature of every monarch (one can already remember the Queen of England), the full title is roughly translated as: His Majesty, King Norodom Sihamoni of the Kingdom of Cambodia)
- In the late 90s in Cambodia was filmed the real adventure blockbuster“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” in which the main role was performed by Angelina Jolie. Thanks to the film “Lara Croft” Cambodia was vastly opened to the world.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Cambodia
- In Cambodia, the head is regarded as the highest part of the body and shouldn’t be touched even in the kindest manner.
- It’s considered disrespectful to let your feet or soles to point at people or things, so the feet must be tucked in when sitting.
- In Cambodia, greeting is formally done by joining both the palms together in front of each other and then bowing. This is called Sompeah and is usually initiated by the younger or lower rank of people.
- The Bonn Om Teuk or water festival is celebrated in November at the end of monsoon, when the Mekong River recedes and the popular sport rowing race is also held during the same festival season.
- Traditional boat racing, buffalo racing, Pradal Serey, Khmer traditional wrestling, and Bokator are the local sports of Cambodia.
- Rice is ubiquitous in Cambodian meals and delicacies. It is served in many forms that include fried, steamed, or in the form of noodles. It is even consumed as dessert by mixing it with fruits and coconut milk that give it a sweet taste.
- Fish is also consumed in varied forms like, fresh fish, dried fish, smoked fish, or as a paste called Prahok that is mixed with spice like hot peppers, lemon grass or mint.
- Human settlement in Cambodia dates back at least 7,000 years, and probably much farther.
- In 2001, Cambodia opened its first bridge across the Mekong River, linking the east and west of the country.
- The ancient temple of Angkor Wat in the deep Cambodian jungle was discovered by French explorers in the 19th century.
- The iconic ancient temple of Cambodia, the Angkor Wat was built by King Suryavarman II who reigned from 1131 to 1150 and the city of Bayonans, the Angkor Thom was built by King Jayavarman VII who ruled from 1181 to 1220.
- In 2005, oil and natural gas were discovered from the territorial waters of Cambodia, which is believed to augment the economy of Cambodia in coming years.