Brief History & Geography

Comprising an area of 181,035 square kilometres, the Kingdom of Cambodia was part of
the ancient kingdom of Funan. Being the oldest Indianised state in Southeast Asia, its religion was
Hinduism. Today, Theravada Buddhism is the dominant religion.

The Mekong river which flows through the country and Tonle Sap (Great Lake) are the lifeline of the people who live
along the waterways. Tonle Sap is one of the richest sources of freshwater fish in the world.

There are three main mountain ranges: the Cardamon mountains in the south-west, The Dangrek mountains in the north
and the Eastern mountains in the north-east.


Cambodia’s tropical climate is affected by the monsoon. The cool, dry north-east monsoon which brings little rain, is
from November to October, the south-west monsoon brings heavy rain and hight humidity. The average temperature is 32°C.

Population and People

Of the 10 million people, about 90 per cent of them are ethnic Khmers. There are several minorities such as the Chams (Khmer Islam),
Vietnamese and Chinese. Hill tribes as the Phnuong, Styieng and Kuy dominate the country’s mountain region.


The official religion is Theravada Buddhism and olmost 90 per cent of the population are of this faith. The rest are Muslims an Christians.


About 70 per cent of the population work on their rice fields. Cambodia is rich in hardwood (teak and mahogany) and gems which are found in the north-west.
The economy operates on free market principles. Cambodia has adopted one of the most liberal laws for foreign investors.


The official language is Khmer while the second language (spoken by the educated older Cambodians) is French. However, in recent years English has gained popularity.


Cambodia has one time zone and is seven hours ahead of GMT.


Most Cambodians are casual in their dressing except when they are attending formal events or business meetings. It’s not unsual to see both men
and women wearing the krama, a long, narrow checked cotton cloth round their neck. The krama is a versatile piece of cloth.

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