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EXPOUNDING CAMBODIA IN HER TRUE GLORY
Capital Phnom Penh
Land Area 181,035 sq.km
Population 13,363,421 Million (2006 est.)
Official Language Khmer
Currency Riel (US$1 = 4000 Riels)
Major Export Products Garments/Textile Product, Sawn Wood Furniture and Rubber
Major Industries Major Industries Textiles and Garments, Beverage, Food Processing, Wood Processing
Head of State His Majesty Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni
Head of Government His Excellency Samdech Hun Sen Prime Minister

About Tourism Information Board

Our main objectives are:

  • To promote the Cambodian tourism industry
  • To develop resources on Cambodian tourism
  • To conduct and advise on the available training programs for human resources in tourism with the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia

Currently, the Tourism Information Board's main activities comprise both domestic and overseas promotion projects designed to expand travel and tourism in Cambodia in connection with the Cambodian Travel Agencies


COURTESY OF
TOURISM INFORMATION BOARD


The World Bank has predicted that Cambodia's tourism sector will grow by 15%, while the Royal Government of Cambodia has estimated that the arrivals of international visitors will reach 1.5 million by 2006, 2.2 million by 2008 and 3.12 million by 2010.

 


History

No one knows for certain how long people have lived in what is now Cambodia, as studies of its prehistory are undeveloped. A carbon-l4 dating from a cave in northwestern Cambodia suggests that people using stone tools lived in the cave as early as 4000 bc, and rice has been grown on Cambodian soil since well before the 1st century ad. The first Cambodians likely arrived long before either of these dates. They probably migrated from the north, although nothing is known about their language or their way of life.


By the beginning of the 1st century ad, Chinese traders began to report the existence of inland and coastal kingdoms in Cambodia. These kingdoms already owed much to Indian culture, which provided alphabets, art forms, architectural styles, religions (Hinduism and Buddhism), and a stratified class system. Local beliefs that stressed the importance of ancestral spirits coexisted with the Indian religions and remain powerful today.
Cambodia's modem-day culture has its roots in the 1st to 6th centuries in a state referred to as Funan, known as the oldest Indianized state in Southeast Asia. It is from this period that evolved Cambodia's language, part of the Mon-Khmer family, which contains elements of Sanskrit, its ancient religion of Hinduism and Buddhism. Historians have noted, for example, that Cambodians can be distinguished from their neighbors by their clothing - checkered scarves known as Kramas are worn instead of straw hats.


Funan gave way to the Angkor Empire with the rise to power of King Jayavarman II in 802. The following 600 years saw powerful Khmer kings dominate much of present day Southeast Asia, from the borders of Myanmar east to the South China Sea and north to Laos. It was during this period that Khmer kings built the most extensive concentration of religious temples in the world - the Angkor temple complex. The most successful of Angkor's kings, Jayavarman II, Indravarman I, Suryavarman II and Jayavarman VII, also devised a masterpiece of ancient engineering: a sophisticated irrigation system that includes barays (gigantic man-made lakes) and canals that ensured as many as three rice crops a year. Part of this system is still in use today.


Art & Culture

Throughout Cambodia's history, religious principles guided and inspired its arts. A unique Khmer style emerged from the combination of indigenous animistic beliefs and the originally Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. These two religions, along with the Sanskrit language and other elements of Indian civilization, arrived in mainland Southeast Asia during the first few centuries ad. Seafaring merchants following the coast from India to China brought them to the port cities along the Gulf of Thailand, which were then controlled by the state of Funan in Cambodia. At varying times, Cambodian culture also absorbed Javanese, Chinese, and Thai influences.


Between the 9th and 15th centuries, a prosperous and powerful empire flourished in northwestern Cambodia. The Khmer kingdom of Angkor, named for its capital city, dominated much of what are now Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. The kingdom drew its religious and political inspiration from India. The literary language of the court was Sanskrit; the spoken language was Khmer. Massive temples from this period, including Angkor Wat and the Bayon at Angkor Thum, testify to the power of Angkor and the grandeur of its architecture and decorative art. The unparalleled achievements in art, architecture, music, and dance during this period served as models for later cultural development in Cambodia.


Angkor faded into obscurity after the capital moved south to Phnom Penh in the 15th century, probably due in part to frequent invasions by the neighboring Thais. The jungle rapidly grew over the monuments. In the centuries that followed, frequent wars reduced the territory, wealth, and power of Cambodian monarchs. However, an independent state with its capital near Phnom Penh survived until the 19th century. The most important work of Cambodian literature, the Reamker (a Khmer-language version of the Indian myth of the Ramayana), was composed during this time.
France, which began administering Cambodia in 1863, rediscovered the temples at Angkor and worked to preserve them beginning in the early 20th century. Cambodia's traditional culture and the monuments of Angkor were endangered between 1970 and 1990 due to civil war. The Communist Khmer Rouge regime, which opposed and mistrusted religion and education, banned all of Cambodia's traditional arts and its written language. Since 1991, when Cambodia's warring factions signed a peace accord, international organizations have helped the Cambodian government restore the sites at Angkor and revive Cambodia's traditional crafts.


Population

An estimated 85-90 percent of the population lives in rural areas. Ethnically the population consists of about 90 percent Khmer, 5 percent each of Chinese and Vietnamese and small numbers of hill tribes (Chams and Burmese). Khmer is the country's official language. It is spoken by more than 95 percent of the population. French, as a second language is also spoken, mostly by older people. English is more commonly spoken by the younger generation.
The Cambodian population presents several important features. First, due to the baby' boom after 1979, it is a young population with at least half (50% according to some sources, more according to others) under 18 years of age now. Secondly, the proportion of women in the adult population is high, 56% of those who are 18 years old or more being females. Also as a result of the war, there is a rather high proportion of women-headed household; at least 25% according to UNICEF.


Cambodia and Laos' populations are dwarfed by those of Vietnam and Thailand, and average population densities in the smaller countries are much lower than in Vietnam. Even the very densely populated areas in Cambodia do not have such a concentration of population as can be found in the Red River and Mekong River Deltas in Vietnam.
The population of Cambodia is 13,363,421 (2006 est.). Population growth per year is estimated at 2.3 percent, one of the highest rates in Asia. The rate of infant mortality is also high. The population density is 69 persons per sq km (179 per sq mi), with the densest concentrations on the heavily cultivated central plain.


Cambodia: The new land of smiles
Cambodia is located in the heart mainland of Southeast Asia, which conjures images of a glorious and mysterious past and rich of the cultural heritages, particularly the world's renowned ancient temple city whose magical image draws ever-increasingly tourists from all over the world. The divergent facets of the Kingdom provoke both the serious and casual traveler, generally charmed and sometimes bewildered by its mysteries.
Not only Angkor Wat, Bayon, Taprohm, Sandstone of ancient holy places, the giant roots of ancient trees, the graceful shapes of Apsaras and some temples buried in the jungle, hill tribes settled in the remote areas, colorful pagodas, strings of pristine islands and the century beach, as part of cultural tour that Cambodia is proud of her presentation, but also the splendor of the Khmer civilization and its people who have shown their friendliness everywhere you move in the country.

For most, Cambodia first conjures up the legendary Angkor (the magnificent Empire erected by Kings between the 9th and 13th centuries) that continues to admiration from Khmers and foreigners alike. The humanity and disaster of the nature have failed to compromise the awe of Angkor. The temples remain with an enigmatic grandeur, as a testimony to the Empire that symbolized the country at the present day.

They are the silent witnesses to the perennial cycles of life, which occur with each rainy season. The Kingdom emerges from its lethargy and springs back to life. Clouds, swollen with moisture, burst their monsoon rains to fill in the Tonle Sap (Great Lake ) that bring over thousands tones of fresh water fishes.

Every year, the country is transformed in a nature cycle, which is unique to Cambodia.
The flow of the mighty Mekong River swells until it forces the Tonle Sap to reverse its course, pushing up stream from the ancient capital. Every year, the reversal of the river is celebrated with the country's most spectacular Water Festival in November.

Cambodia Uncovered...

The area around the waterfall is still beautiful: it’s still a pristine pool and close to paradise.

Cambodia is not just famous for the magnificent Angkor Wat, but every province and town in this amazing Kingdom has something to offer the visitor -- be it ancient temples or stunning scenery, unique handicrafts or simply a smilingly warm Khmer welcome.

It is really quite nice to spend time traveling around in Cambodia; watch the Cambodian people at work or during their leisure and take in the sights and sound of this wonderful country.

TAKEO PROVINCE is widely thought to be the birthplace of the Cambodian civilization




 

 
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