The kingdom of Cambodia is bordered to the North by Thailand and Laos, to the East and the South by Vietnam, and to the South and West by the Gulf of Siam and Thailand. Cambodia compromises of 181,035 square kilometers. The cities includes Phnom Penh, the capital has an approximately 1 million. Other major cities are Battambang, the second largest city, Siam Republic, Sihanouk vile, Kampong Cham, Kandal, Prey Veng, Takeo. Kampung Thom, Svay Rieng and Kampong Speu.
Situated in the tropical zone, Cambodia benefits from a great amount of sun year round. Each season has its own beauty and refreshing changes in weather. The average temperature is 27 degrees C. The minimum temperature is about 16 degrees.
There are two seasons: monsoon season and dry season.
The humid, rainy season lasts from April to October due to southwestern monsoon. Temperature range from 25 degrees, with humidity up to 90 %.
The hottest month is April when the temperature can reach up to 38 degrees C.
The cool, dry season lasts from November to March with temperatures ranging from 17 to 27 degrees, night and day. December to January is the coolest period.
The name 'Cambodia' comes from 'Cambodge', which is the French name. The term 'Khmer' is used to encompass the people as well as the language. It is believed that the Khmers have lived in the region from the 2nd century AD but there are some contentious issues such as their place of origin. They are possibly a mixture of Mongol and Melanesian stock.
Total population is approximately 9 million. Cambodians compromise a veriety of people who are commonly called Khmer and they constitute 90 to 95 % of the population. The population also includes a diversity of ethnic background: Chinese, Vietnamese, Chams(Khmer Islam) and Hilltribes, called Khmer Loeu.
The largest single ethnic minority in the country are the Cham-Malays. Today they can be found mainly along the Mekong north of Phnom Penh and have a spiritual centre in Chul Chnagvra near the capital. Their numbers were also drastically reduced during the Pol Pot years. By tradition, they are cattle-traders, butchers and silk-weavers.
In the transitional period between the signing of Paris Peace Agreement in October 1991 and a free National election conducted by UNTAC in May 1993, Cambodia was governed by the Supreme National Council. Regrouping the four major parties. Administration of the country was temporarily entrusted to UNTAC, which successfully organized the elections with a large turnout of the population.
Following the installation of an interim Provisional Government, the elected constituted the Assembly adopted and promulgated on September 24, 1993 the nation's constitution, which proclaimed king Norodom Sihanouk as head of state and established the Royal Government of Cambodia within a framework of parliamentary democracy. Two Prime Ministers were appointed to present the two major parties that won the elections. This same date marks the official end of UNTAC's mandate.
Buddhist values play an important role in the lives of the people of Cambodia. Being a naturally modest people, these values are incorporated into their everyday lives and inculcated in their young. There are certain ways of behaving and certain rules to observe when visiting a Wat or a private homes, for example.
A tradition which is slowly losing its place in Khmer society is the prayer-like greeting gesture called the (somplair). It is somewhat similar to the Thai Wai; it is done by putting both palms together in front of the chest and bowing one's head slightly. Nowadays, many people shake hands in the Western tradition and it is mainly the women who practice this custom.
Cambodians don't wear hats or shoes in their homes (or wats) they have to be removed and left at the entrance.
The head is a sacred part of the body; it's rude to pat anyone on the head.The sign of crossing your fingers (normally regarded as a good luck sign in Western countries) is considered an obscene gesture in Cambodia.
The Cambodian language is called Khmer and is part of the Mon Khmer family, and has influenced both spoken and written Thai. It has 23 vowels ,33 consonents ,24 dependant vowels , 12 independent vowels and several diacritics. Given the French protectorate presence, many older, educated Khmers speak and read French.In recent years the trend among younger Cambodians has been to study English as a second language such as that one readily finds Cambodians who speak English.
Administratively, the country comprises 20 provinces and three municipalities (Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Kep). The provincial administration is headed by a governor, assisted by two or three deputy governors, one of whom is in charge of agriculture. Provinces and municipalities are divided into districts (172), which have their own administrative staff and district level ministry staff. The average population per district is about 50,000 people. Districts are further subdivided into 1,400 communes, with a total of about 11,700 villages.
The official religion of Cambodia is Theravadu Buddhism, which is also practiced in neighboring Laos, Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka. Theravadu Buddhism was introduced into Cambodia in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII. The sight of saffron-robbed monks is common throughout the Kingdom and almost every village has a Buddhist temple as a dominant feature of daily life. There are also around 500,00 Muslims in Cambodia and just over 60,000 Christians.