Travel Guide: Cambodia
Cambodia Travel Guide: General Travel Guide Information about Cambodia.
As a special service to our valued clients and readers, we at World Interpreting offer you something different aside from our language translation and interpretation services. We continue to strive for excellence in our services but we also want to provide you with country travel guides that can come in handy for you or your business. Our Cambodia travel guide contains information and other interesting travel tidbits related to Cambodia. This travel guide for Cambodia has been written so that you, as a traveler and tourist, will have a better understanding about the country as well as the different places you can visit. Traveling to Cambodia can be a wonderful experience, no doubt about it. However, not knowing what to do or spend for can leave you feeling pressured and worried constantly.
Travel Guide Cambodia will take you to different fantastic places in Cambodia as well as some of the famous landmarks and notable places, so you will already have a general idea about Cambodia if and when you decide to actually travel and explore this fascinating country. And other than the places of interest, Travel Guide Cambodia will also give you valuable information such as the geography, demographics and the languages spoken in different parts of this country. Don’t forget to check out the travel safety tips in Cambodia as well as the other sections in our Travel Guide Cambodia! We do hope you will come back often to travel with us to other destinations around the world.
:: Introducing Cambodia ::
There’s a magic about Cambodia as it is a country which has a history that is impressive although recent events were not very pleasant. It is a place with a future as it has the possibility to develop into one of Southeast Asia’s tourist hot spots. Despite the many upheavals that the country went through, Cambodia still continues to impress with its breathtaking temples and the still unspoiled beauty of its countryside that beckons to be explored.
Cambodia is still a recovering country with numerous potential hazards. It has a history that was once very tortuous. Its empire was once very powerful and spanned Southeast Asia. It had since then survived colonialism and life under a very threatening and bloodthirsty regime to the current vibrant and young culture. The rules in Cambodia change frequently, and are often ignored in favor of the careful application of the US dollar. It is advised that the traveler familiarizes himself with the changes in the country prior to making the trip to Cambodia.
Whatever has been said and done, tourism has definitely brought many benefits to the war-torn country. It has provided employment to the new generation and has brought back the pride and optimism that they had lost due to the war and genocide. There has even been a rebirth in the traditional arts. Unfortunately, like all those countries that faced such a situation, not all the modernization and economic renewal that tourism brought are good. Cambodia now faces the dark side of sex-tourism, prostitution, drug culture and a casino-mafia culture. However, Cambodia has the option to not make the same mistakes that similar cultures have made. They now follow a sustainable road to tourism development.
During the Second World War, the Japanese occupied most of Cambodia, and King Norodom Sihanouk proclaimed its independence in 1944. The French returned after the War, and Cambodia had become independent only after the French had been defeated in Indo-China and a settlement was reached at the Geneva Convention in 1954. King Sihanouk abdicated to enter politics, and became head of state as Prince Sihanouk in 1960. In 1970, he was deposed by General Lon Nol, who claimed to have support from the United States of America. Because part of the “Ho Chi Min Trail” was used by North Vietnam to supply rebels in South Vietnam and ran through Cambodia, the country found itself increasingly involved in the Vietnam War. American air support kept the Khmer Rouge (guerillas) at bay for several years. Phnom Penh, the besieged capital finally fell in 1975. Lon Nol and his associates fled and Prince Sihanouk returned as head of state. A new constitution was adopted in 1976, when Prince Sihanouk resigned and Khieu Samphan, leader of the Khmer Rouge was elected president.
Over the last few years, there have been sincere reconstruction efforts and today Cambodia is a multiparty liberal democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy and according to its constitution. King Sihanouk abdicated his throne sometime during 2004 citing health problems and his eldest son, Prince Norodom Sihamoni was selected as the new King and monarch. The Cambodian’s People Party (CPP) member Hun Sen is the present-day Prime Minister and he has held this position over the last decade.
Although the modern day Cambodia appears to be relatively stable under this arrangement, the country is working hard to upgrade its infrastructure and economy and shift away from relying too much on agriculture. There has been a considerable increase in tourism with the enormous amount of financial aid and investment that is pouring into the country. Present-day Cambodia has been shaped by the adverse events of modern Cambodian history. In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed although much remains to be desired, to wit, the infrastructure, healthcare and education and the progress is slow.
Over 85% of the Cambodians suffer every year because of floods and droughts and poor infrastructure. The government is currently focused on short-term gain through foreign investments. There are still so many things to be done to revitalize the economy and restore the country after years of ravaging. But Cambodia is slowly getting there. A new era is about to begin and the country’s beaches alone rival those that are more established tourist destinations in Cambodia’s neighbors.
Cambodia’s beaches are as spectacular as Phuket but without the crowds. There are actually many beaches near Sihanoukville where a traveler can chose to relax and there is also Kratié, which is famous for its Irrawaddy dolphins frequently seen in the Mekong River. These dolphins are already endangered. You also have the jungle of Mondulkiri, which is ideal for an elephant ride or go trekking in the Bokor National Park. Cambodia is slowly gaining momentum as a popular tourist destination. The Angkor Wat draws thousands of visitors annually. Tourism is booming and a journey here is truly an adventure as well as a holiday.
Cambodia is wild and remote like Laos, but less unexplored. It has a cuisine as subtle as Vietnamese cooking but yet to be exposed and finally, it has its temples and pagodas that completely outshine those found in Indonesia and Burma. Recently, the revitalized city of Siem Reap is becoming more and more popular. With its beautiful scenic riverside locale and gourmet food and drinks along with the cultural renaissance, it makes it a definite spot in any traveler’s diary. This does not mean writing off the other lovely locations that includes the sleepy Kampot beach, which is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
The traveler will generally find people friendly and curious, proud of what little they have, and generous with it. Crimes against foreigners, mostly in the form of night-time robberies at gunpoint, come and go in waves. Although Cambodians are warm and friendly, don’t be under the misapprehension that they would go any extent to help you. It’s better to avoid relying on strangers from the safety point of view. Also, even if you are overly curious, the Khmer Rouge issue is considered to be delicate, and nationals don’t want to talk about it. However, they will respond if you ask politely. It will be best to learn about it by visiting the different museums around Cambodia. While shopping, foreigners are generally overcharged by a bit. This may be all right if you consider how cheap most things are.
Cambodia has international airports at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The domestic aviation scene in Cambodia has improved. The 3 main routes from Sisophon, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap to Phnom Penh are all sealed and in good condition. All six international border crossings are open 7 AM to 8 PM and all have visa-on-arrival facilities at the Cambodian immigration checkpoints. There are no more passenger services to Kampot or Sihanoukville, but you may hitch a ride on a cargo train. The freight service between Touk Meas and Phnom Penh has been reinstated in October 2010, but it looks like there are currently no other train services. There are plans for a comprehensive reinstatement that would eventually connect to Thailand and Vietnam. Ferries operate along most of the major rivers seasonally. Major routes include Siem Reap to Battambang, Sihanoukville to Koh Kong, and Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
In terms of language, Cambodia has the issue of choosing between English or Khmer, which is spoken by 90% of the population. English is the mode of instruction in major universities and used by Internet denizens. French is also a language that found its way and had been absorbed into the local language.
Even with the eighth wonder of the world in its territory, Cambodia’s true great treasure is its people. Cambodians have had considerable experience and have struggled through bloody times, poverty, political unrest and economic instability. Their spirit has not been broken, though, and the Khmer spirit has prevailed. Visitors to Cambodia will surely be amazed at how Cambodians have survived hardship for decades.
As we give you a glimpse of what Cambodia is all about, our Cambodia Travel Guide, which is broken down into various sections will be of great help when you plan your trip and your travel itinerary. Travel Guide Cambodia gives you tips on the basic customs and we have also added a list of a few important words and phrases that could help you communicate with the local people. In a nutshell, the pocket Travel Guide Cambodia will assist you in getting a bird’s eye view of the country’s geography, language, the places of interest, landmarks and things you can do in Cambodia as well as give you travel safety tips. We do hope you will come back often to travel with us to other destinations around the world.
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