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Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia, more commonly just referred to as Cambodia, is a south-east Asian country bordering Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand. Home to a population of over 14 million, the official language of Cambodia is Khmer, with secondary languages of English and French.

Cambodia is home to an incredible diversity of plants and animals, much of it focused around the Tonle Sap Lake and its surrounding biosphere reserve. Notable locals include Indian elephants, wild oxen, panthers, gibbons, and tigers, and more than 500 species of birds. Today, the significance of the wildlife is recognised and a lot of work is being done to help conserve and protect it.

French colonization changed the capital Phnom Penh from a riverside village to an impressive city in the 1870’s, and it now boasts a population of more than 2 million people. Known as the “Pearl of Asia”, the city has an undeniable charm that grabs you from the instant you arrive. The city has several impressive wats (temples), including Wat Ounalom, Wat Phnom and Wat Moha Montrei.

Possibly the most famous of all Cambodian attractions, Angkor Wat covers an area of over 40 square miles. Built between 802 and 1220 AD, it laid forgotten for 4 centuries until it was discovered in 1861. When found, the immense palaces, temples, libraries and courtyards had been long reclaimed by the jungle, and the Khmer civilisation that once lived there replaced by monkeys and panthers.

Khmer people are the predominant ethnic group in Cambodia, accounting for approx 90% of the entire population. Thailand and Vietnam also have large Khmer populations. Due to the Cambodian Civil War, thousands of Khmer now reside in the United States, Canada, Australia and France.
As war becomes a distant memory, Cambodia has become a much safer country to travel. If you’re planning to visit, remember the golden rule - always stick to marked paths in remote areas! Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, with around 4-6 million around the countryside. Mine-clearing organisations are working throughout the country to clear them, but it’s still highly advisable that you do not wander away from marked paths under any circumstances.

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