ABOUT THE COUNTRY
Khmers have called their country Kampuchea (usually rendered Kambuja),
since the l6th century. The name is derived from the word kambu-ja, meaning
those born of Kambu (a figure of Indian mythology), which was first used
to refer to the people of Cambodia in the 10th century. The Portuguese
Cambodia and French Cambodge from which the English name Cambodia is derived,
are adaptations of " Kampuja".
It was the
Khmer Rouge who insisted that the outside world use the name Kampuchea.
Changing the country's official English name back to Cambodia (which has
been used by the US State Department all along) was intended as a symbolic
move to distance the present government in Phnom Penh from the bitter
connotations of the name Kampuchea, which westerners and overseas Khmer
alike associate with the murderous Khmer Rouge regime. As a result of
the United Nations sponsored and enforced election in May, 1993, the Kingdom
of Cambodia is now safe to travel and tourism has once again become possible.
Indeed, the country and Phnom Penh in partucular is undergoing something
of a renaissance. Often overshadowed by the traumatic events of its recent
past, Cambodia as home of the Khmer culture remains one of the most important
and exotic countries in South East Asia.
Cambodian food is closely related to the cuisines of neighbouring Thailand
and Laos, and to a lesser extent, Vietnam, but there are some distinct
local dishes. In the growing number of restaurants in Phnom Penh and Siemreap,
you will find excellent Chinese and Vietnamese dishes but it is the local
dishes which are often the best prepared and most interesting. Rice is
the principal staple and and Battanbang Region is the country's rice bowl.
Most Cambodian dishes are cooked in a wok known locally as a chnang khteak.
The country's capital Phnom Penh is renowned for its beauty, particularly
the area surrounding the Royal Palace where magificent Khmer towers share
the boulevard with coloured French villas overlooking the banks of the
Tonle Sap river.
WAT AND SIEMREAP
The glorious and world-famous Angkor Wat situates in Siemreap Province
and is just a few kilometers from the town. One can reach Siemreap by
taking daily direct flight from Phnom Penh. Temples of Angkor were built
between 7th and 11th century when Khmer civilazation was at its height
of its extraordinary creativity. Angkor Wat is the cultural home of the
Khmer people and one of the ancient wonders of the world. Its magnificent
architecture was the evidence of the Khmer's strong belief in religions
- Hinduism and Buddhism. First discovered by Western archeologists in
the late 19th century, the lost city of Angkor is just re-opening to the
exploration to the modern civilization.
WAT - ANGKOR THOM
The fortified city of Angkor Thom, some 10 sq km in extent, was built
in its present form by Angkor's greatest builder, Jayavarman 7 (reigned
1181 to 1201), who came to power just after the disastrous sacking by
the Chams of the previous Khmer capital, is enclosed by a square wall
eight metres high and 12 km in length and encircled by a moat 100 meters
wide, said to have been inhabited by fierce crocodiles. The city has five
monumental gates, one in the north, west and south walls and two in the
east wall. The gates, which are 20 metres in height, are decorated on
either side of the passageway with stone elephant trunks and crowned by
four gargantuan faces of the bodhisatva Avalokitesvara.
The unit is the RIELS. Riel demoninations are 100, 200 and 500. Exchange
rates are subject to fluctuation. US$ are generally accepted thoughout
the country. In Phnom Penh, some credit cards can be used and limited
services and purchasing and cashing traveller cheques.
Cambodia lies in a tropical zone between 10 and 14 degree of latitude
north the equator. The temperature is fairly uniform throughout the year
and averages 25 degree centigrade (77 degree fahrenheit). The relative
humidity is higher at night and usually in excess of 90 percent, during
the day the average humidity is 80 percent.
The Cambodia has an area of about 181,305 squares kilometres, bordered
to the north by Thailand and Laos, to the east and the south by Vietnam,
to the west by the gulf of Cambodia.
Cambodian is the national and official language but English and French
are spoken in hotels and business circles.
The majority of the people of Cambodia are followers of Thervada and Hinayana
school of Buddhism which was introduced to Cambodia between the 13th and
14 centuries and was the state religion until 1975.
WAT - BAYON
The temples of Angkor Thom, is located in the city's geographic centre.
The 50-tower temples is an awesome sight. At first glances, the complex
seems a shapeless mass of stone. Suddenly, further scrutiny reveals a
face, enigmatic and silent, watching with half-closed eyes. Soon, another
face is made out, and another, and still yet another, until they are all
round silent, heavy and impressive, staring from a primitive and remote
time. Every visitors to Angkor Wat has to pay entrance fees.
TO REACH CAMBODIA & ANGKOR WAT
There are direct flights to the capital of Phnom Penh from Bangkok, Hanoi,
Hochiminh City, Hong Kong, Kuahlupur, Singapore and Vientiane. From Phnom
Penh, one can take direct flights to Siemreap (Angkor), which are now
operates on daily basis. Because of its vast architectures and plentiful
of myths and informations, visiting of the great Angkor Wat with a knowlegable
and well-trained guide is highly recommended and fun. You can enjoy traveling
to Angkor Wat .
A fifteen-day tourist visa can be obtained at US$ 20 upon arrival at Pochentong
Airport. Visitors should bring along at least 4 photos, and sign the visa
applications form upon arrival. Visa extensions are possible through the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of Immigration.
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