Angkor Wat is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, but many travellers don’t realize all there is to explore in the complex. Here are some of the ground’s sites that you may not have known about.
This country has suffered greatly in the past half-millennium, from the U.S. carpet bombings in the 1970s to the Khmer Rouge’s ‘reign of terror.’ Much of Cambodia’s population still lives on less than $1 USD a day. Yet through all the suffering, Cambodia still remains a beautiful country, rich with temples, rivers and bright sunsets. Rather than trying to forget its history, Cambodia honours it by sharing the pain it has endured openly with tourists—such as through tours of the killing fields.
Currency: Riel (KHR)
Government: Constitutional Monarch
Did you know?
- The Cambodian flag is the only flag in the world that features a building on it.
- In Cambodia it is considered rude to point your feet towards a person.
- Cambodians greet each other with a gesture called Sompeah. This is done by pressing one’s palms together in front of the body and bowing.
- The Kouprey is Cambodia’s national animal. It is a wild forest cow and one of the world’s rarest animals.
- One in 236 Cambodians is disabled, which makes Cambodia the most disabled country in the world.
- Most young men in Cambodia are Buddhist monks for a short period of time.
- The war may be over, but four million existing landmines continue to cause casualties in Cambodia.
Cambodia is located in the tropical zone, just north of the equator. The weather is warm to hot year round. There are wet and dry seasons in Cambodia, which are dominated by an annual monsoon season. Although most travelers try to avoid visiting Cambodia during the rainy season, the clear, reflective waters of the countryside make it a very photogenic time of year. The monsoon/rainy season is from May to November and the dry season is from November to April. Temperatures in Cambodia can reach 40 degrees Celsius during the dry season. October to January is cooler and more comfortable.
The first inhabitants of Cambodia were Stone Age hunters and gatherers. Cambodia was quite civilized by the beginning of the 7th century AD.
Cambodia was divided into rival states until the 9th century, when the Khmer Empire was founded. Cambodian power continued to decline through the 16th century and during the 18th century Cambodia was between two powerful neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam. In the 1850s Cambodia turned to the French for protection. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge reign began—the most horrific era in Cambodia. This era was led by Pol Pot, who declared that history would begin again and murdered between 1.5 to 3 million people. This tragedy ended when Cambodia went to war with Vietnam, which won after its invasion in December 1976. Guerrilla war continued in Cambodia until Pol Pot died in 1998. After Pol Pot’s death, peace was restored to Cambodia.
Angkor Wat in Cambodia is one of the great wonders of the world. If you’re headed to this historical site, keep these tips in mind to get the most out of the experience.
Take a walk through the Pearl of Asia with our photo tour of Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh.
Get your Buddha on and experience one of Cambodia’s most refreshing celebrations with Chefs Run Wild’s Chad Klyne.