Cambodia is a nation neighbored by Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Home to the Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia is a place full of ancient sites and natural sceneries. Despite its recent painful history, Khmers, the natives in Cambodia, have a lively spirit that reveal their positive and creative personalities to visitors. Its Buddhist traditions and rich culture make it a great destinations for an exotic travel and authentic destination. Its mixture of rural and urban lifestyles allow travelers to witness not only their astounding landscapes but also their growing contemporary art.
Placed between culinary capitals like Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodian (or Khmer) cuisine is just as rich in variation and flavor.
Meals mainly involve rice, but they can vary between noodles, soups, grills, curries, and stir-fried dishes. A typical meal is served with rice and at least three dishes including soup and the main dishes. Typically, their food emphasizes contrast in flavor and texture.
Although it is easy to spot the similarities in dishes between Cambodia’s neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand, there is uniqueness in Khmer dishes that people fall in love with,
Popular dishes include
- Fish Amok- Amok is the most famous dish in Cambodia. It is a fish curry that has been steamed to a mousse with banana leaves. Typically served in a banana leaf bowl, this curry is slightly sweet with a custard consistency.
- Red Khmer Curry- Although it is similar to Thai curry, the red Khmer curry is less spicy. The dish includes choice of meat, eggplant, green beans, potato, coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.
- Prahok- This is a fermented fish paste used in Cambodian cuisine.
- Kdam Chaa- Cambodian fried crabs with locally grown Kampot peppers. Kampot and Kep are towns known for their seafood, while Kampot peppers are known as one the world’s best peppers.
Cambodia is a trending destination because of the variety of things to visit from awe-inspiring temples to untouched beaches.
Angkor Wat- As the most famous out of the many ancient monuments in Cambodia, it is considered as the heart of the Khmer Empire.
Holding the record for the largest religious structure in the world, it is easy to witness the Cambodian dedication, genius and cultural heritage when you visit the sight. Its impressive architecture and beautiful scenery is sure to leave you in awe.
Built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, the temple changed into a Buddhist temple during the 14th century and has never been abandoned. Buddhists use this temple as a place of worship even to this day.
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda- Home to King Sihamoni, the Royal Palace is one of Cambodia’s most beautiful architectural achievements. Visitors are able to enter the Throne Hall, used today as a place for religious and royal ceremonies. Located south of the palace, Silver Pagoda is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Preah Keo. Its floors are covered with five tons of silver. The structure houses many historical treasures including the baccarat-crystal Buddha and a life-sized golden Buddha statue with thousands of diamonds.
Ta Prohm– Ta Prohm Temple, also known as Monastery of the King, is a Buddhist temple made to honor the mother of King Jayavarman VII. Dressed in the beauty of the jungle, the temple is known for the huge trees that engulf the ancient structure. The temple’s historical significance and splendor definitely make this a sight worth seeing.
Nightlife- Although Cambodia is well known for its historical heritage, it does not miss out on urban lifestyle and does not fall short on nightlife. From bars to clubs, nightlife in Cambodia welcomes diversity and caters to adults of all ages. Phnom Penh, the nation’s capital, has Cambodia’s best clubs including Pontoon and Mao’s.
KHR- Cambodian currency is the riel, but it is non-convertible. When traveling, U.S. dollars are accepted in most places.
Customs & Language
Khmer is the national language in Cambodia. The language is mainly influenced by Thai.
English and French are popular second languages, and English is spoken in many hotels and businesses.
Due to Cambodia’s religious heritage, appropriate clothing is preferred in many sights like the temples which includes shorts that reach down to the knees.
Here are some helpful words/phrases:
- Hello (formal) – Chum Reap Suor (should be with gesture of joining your palms in front of your heart and slightly lowering your head)
- Where is the restroom? – (¿Tae) bantup taek nou-tinah?
- Please – Soum
- Thank you – Orkun
- Excuse me – Somm Toh
- Goodbye (formal) – Chum reap leah
- How much? – Bonman?