KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
(Preăh Réachéa Nachâk Kâmpŭchéa)
- Location: Southeast Asia
- Capital: Phnom Penh
- Language(s): Khmer
- Population: 14,806,403
- Total Area: 181,035 sq km
- Currency: Riel
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Some beers in the country are named after the Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious temple complex.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 4.75 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Coffee, soft drinks
Cambodia is a fascinating country with an equally fascinating history. The country is the site the ancient kingdom of Angkor that ruled the entire Southeast Asia for about 600 years. Today, the country is still a monarchy and much of the country’s ancient traditions are still intact. Cambodia (or Kampuchea) is surrounded by Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, all nations of Southeast Asia, and the capital city is Phnom Penh. The most important geographical features of the country are the Tonle Sap (Boeng Tonle Sab) which is the largest freshwater body in Southeast Asia and the Mekong River (Mekongk) which also happens to be the longest river in Southeast Asia. The capital city of Phnom Penh is located along the banks of the Mekong River.
Given the peculiar geography of the land, a majority of the people engage in agriculture with the cultivation of rice being the most important activity. In the country, you will see vast rice fields (called paddies) especially in the Mekong Delta. Shifting cultivation and subsistence farming are the major agricultural practices in the country. The agricultural population is found mainly in the hilly regions, floodplains and the lowlands of the country. The ethnic composition of the country is quite simple as more than 90% of the people are Khmers (ethnic Cambodians) and their language is Cambodian (or Khmer). Khmer is also the official and the most widely spoken language in the country. Other languages are French, Han Chinese and Vietnamese. There is a sizable proportion of Chinese, Hmong, Cham and Vietnamese. The predominant religion is Theravada Buddhism and this is the pattern in most nations of Southeast Asia, while others follow Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
If you have the opportunity to find yourself in this vibrant nation is Southeast Asia, there are spectacular places that you have to visit. Memories of these places will be cherished for life. One site that attracts tourists from all corners of the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple complex in Angkor. Angkor Wat spreads over 200 acres and is the largest temple complex in the world. Built in the 12th century, it is the most famous monument in the country. Other places to be visited are the Royal Palace and the chilling Tuol Sleng Museum (the Museum of Genocide) both in Phnom Penh, the capital city.
To taste Cambodian food is to have a taste of heaven. Oozing Thai and Chinese flavors, Cambodian meals are some of the finest I have ever consumed. Understandably, rice is a common feature of national cuisine while fish is also a delicacy, especially in areas around the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap. One meal that I thoroughly enjoyed under the setting sun is num banh choc. The meal contained rice, noodles, fresh fish and spices. The commonest drinks are coffee and soft drinks. Beers such as Angkor Stout are sold in many bars and hotels.
Cambodians appreciate sport and the most popular game in the country is football, which has gained immense support among the youths. Local events such as wrestling and kickboxing are also quite popular and well-accepted.
- One of the former rulers of the country, Pol Pot is one of the most infamous leaders of all time, having said to have massacred millions of his own people.
- The most important religion in the country is Theravada Buddhism.
- Unknown to many, Cambodia is kingdom.
- Angkor Wat is the biggest tourist site in the region.
- Cambodian dance is one of the most romantic of all dances I have ever watched.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)