As soon as someone says Angkor or Khmer, your mind will instantly go to Cambodia. While these two things have defined the country, there is so much more it has to offer. You will get to know all of this once you take a deep dive into the incredible facts about Cambodia.
The country is known for having a long yet intriguing history that sets the cultural tone for today. But as a traveler, you will get to enjoy much more firsthand, including the natural attractions, beaches, and delicious food.
If you are thinking of visiting Cambodia, you are in the right place. Here are some useful Cambodia facts to know to appreciate the country better.
Historical Facts About Cambodia
Every country is shaped by its history, and there are unfortunate events that have taken place throughout its past. Here are some of the interesting Cambodia facts about its history,
The Country Has Gone Through Name Changes Five Times
Yes, this is one rather amusing fact about Cambodia. The country has tried to change its name at least five times since its inception.
In 1953, this country used to be known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, but the name has changed five times since then. Some of these include Kampuchea, Khmer Republic, and many others before finally deciding on Cambodia.
1/5th Of The Population Was Killed In A Genocide In The 70s
The infamous Cambodia Genocide took place between 1975 and 1979, which led to the death of two million people in the country. Remember that this amounts to about 1/5th of the population. Because of this, you will find that most of the population is rather young and less than 30.
Humans Inhabited Here Before The Khmer Kingdom
The Khmer Kingdom came long after humans began inhabiting this area. A cave in Battambang has uncovered evidence that human habitation began here more than seventy thousand (70,000) years ago.
There are many tools and relics that have been found that indicate habitation before the Kingdom.
Cultural Facts About Cambodia
The culture of Cambodia will be incredibly interesting to a stranger that has never set foot. Here are the top Cambodian culture facts that may surprise you.
Weddings Last For Three Days
Weddings are a cause for celebration in the country, and rightly so. A traditional Cambodian wedding can easily last for three days. Of course, these three days and nights include non-stop festivities that will tire any stranger out, but not the locals.
Locals Believe Geckos Can Predict Marriage
According to the local superstition, counting the chirp of a gecko will let you know if you will be lucky enough to get married. On the other hand, if a tokay gecko lets out at least seven or more chirps in the same room you are in, then it is thought to be good luck.
The Head Is Considered Sacred
There are certain body parts that are considered sacred and some that are considered dirty by the locals.
These are important facts about Cambodia culture to know, so you avoid doing anything disrespectful. For example, the head is a sacred body part, and you should never pat anyone on their head.
On the other hand, a person’s foot and sole are considered dirty, and you should avoid pointing your soles at others.
People Love To Eat Insects Throughout The Country
If there is one thing that people in Cambodia love to eat, it is insects. These include ants, crickets, tarantulas, and much more. They usually come fried with a crunchy texture.
It can be one of the shocking facts about Cambodia for unknowing travelers as they see these exotic food sold on the streets.
Of course, they also have other diet staples, such as rice, vegetables, and fish. So don’t worry, you won’t be starving your way through. In fact, be sure to discover all the traditional Cambodian food that the country has on offer.
If You Don’t Want To Eat Insects, You Can Eat Num Banh Chok
Insects are not the only thing people eat. One of the top delicacies you can try in Cambodia is Num Banh Chok. This dish consists of noodle soup, vegetables, and fish that will warm your heart. Not only is this a super localized dish, but it is also cheap and fulfilling.
Interesting Facts About Cambodia For Kids
Cambodia is known for being rich in culture and history, which is why kids should also learn about this place. Here are some simple Cambodia facts you can use to pique the curiosity of young minds.
There Are Rare Animal Species Throughout The Country
Animals in Cambodia can’t be found anywhere else because it is home to some of the rare animal species in the world. These include Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle, Irrawaddy Dolphin, and many others. It also has some of the most unique flora and fauna.
Cambodian People Celebrate New Year In April
New Year’s celebrations are known as Choul Chnam Thmey in Khmer, and they are held in the middle of April. That is because this month marks the end of the harvest season. Keep in mind that this is perhaps the biggest celebration that takes place in the country.
The Flag Is The One Of The Few Worldwide To Include A Building
A unique feature of the Cambodian flag is that it includes the religious structure of Angkor Wat. This famous landmark in Cambodia is the pride of the country, so it is no surprise that it would find its way on the flag.
Fun Cambodia Facts For Travelers
Whoever is planning to travel to this country will find these fun facts about Cambodia highly fascinating.
The Largest Religious Structure Worldwide Is Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure in the world. It is a must-visit attraction in Cambodia. As you look at it, the beauty will take your breath away. The structure looks even better during sunrise and sunset.
No McDonald’s For You
Unfortunately, you will not find any McDonald’s in the country. On the other hand, even KFC in Cambodia is going in losses. However, one thing you will find a lot of here is Burger King.
Tuk Tuks Are The Perfect Way To Get Anywhere
If you want to get anywhere in Cambodia, don’t rely on Uber. Instead, the best way to get anywhere is through Tuk Tuks. You will see them as you step out of the airport, and all of them will be lined up for you to use. These agile vehicles can navigate tighter corners and zip around the chaotic traffic better than cars.
Common Facts About Cambodia
There are some general facts about Cambodia that a lot of people are familiar with but end up forgetting from time to time. Here are the top common facts about Cambodia you should know:
The Largest Freshwater Lake In Southeast Asia Is The Tonle Sap
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in the country and Southeast Asia, and it provides most of the crop’s sustenance. In addition, it is also one of the top sources of fishing in the country.
You can see it is particularly important to the local’s livelihood. The best part about Cambodia is that the monsoon season ensures parts of the lake can keep on regenerating.
There Are Several Million Active Mines In The Countryside
Many people don’t know this dangerous fact about Cambodia, but there are between four and six million active mines in the rural countryside. Most of these areas are marked out, but you should avoid wandering mindlessly into mine zones.
There are organizations that are trying to detect these mines so that they can dismantle them. After all, it is a big hazard to have that can ruin the surrounding land and lives.
One Of The National Currencies Is The US Dollar
Keep in mind that the national currency is the Riel, but it has an incredibly low value. Because of this, the country has taken on the USD as its national currency. Around 90% of the country uses this currency for their daily lives.
Remember that you should still keep some Riel with you if you are going to go to different shops and vendors. That is because the system is not perfect, and some places might not exchange the dollar for the Riel.
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Other Interesting Facts About Cambodia
Finally, here are some other interesting facts about Cambodia that will help you understand this place even better.
A Funeral Can Easily Cost Around $9,000
Funerals are incredibly important to the locals, which is why they spend a lot of money on them. The shocking part is that most people in the country earn less than $100 a day. However, funerals can cost more than $9,000.
The entire family will pool in their savings and say their last goodbyes to the departed. Funerals can also go on for around forty-nine days.
People Don’t Care About Birthdays
One thing you will notice in Cambodia is that birthdays are not given as much importance. Barely anyone celebrates them, and they are not part of the local culture. Even if you ask some people about their birthdays, they will not know their exact birth date, but only the season they were born.
No One Obeys Traffic Rules
When you cruise through the roads in Cambodia, you will notice that nobody obeys the traffic rules. Streets are completely lawless, as people don’t pay heed to traffic lights and also drive the wrong way on the road. Despite all of this, people still don’t have road rage.
As with many other South East Asia countries, crossing the road can be a thrilling experience. You need to be cautious yet confident with a steady pace.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Cambodia
These were some of the interesting facts about Cambodia to know before visiting. The country has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food, and much more as you make your way through this place. The deep history has attracted a lot of visitors over the years, and you can bound to uncover more fascinating Cambodia facts through your adventures.