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10 Interesting Facts about Cambodia

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With rich natural and historical landscape, Cambodia is a fascinating and incredible country. In recent years, a growing number of people planning a trip to Cambodia have been searching online for information about the country to help them make adequate preparations before their departure.

Here we have selected 10 interesting facts about Cambodia, including the fact that each new government has changed its name and the unique national flag, to help you gain a deeper insight into this ancient culture-filled country.

1. The country has changed its name several times in the last 70 years

Nowadays, we call this country “Cambodia”, but you may not know that its official name is “Kingdom of Cambodia”. The country has a tumultuous history, changing its name every time a new government comes to power over the past 70 years. Originally known as the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1953, the country has since gone through 5 names before reverting to its original name in 1993. Here are all the official names of Cambodia since 1953:

1953-1970: Kingdom of Cambodia

1970-1975: Khmer Republic

1975-1976: Kingdom of Cambodia

1976-1979: Democratic Kampuchea

1979-1989: People’s Republic of Cambodia

1989-1993: State of Cambodia

1993-2022: Kingdom of Cambodia

2. The average age of the Cambodian population is 15 years old

Here’s another interesting fact about Cambodia. Unlike most other countries, about 50% of the country’s population is around 15 years old! Why is this? In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime gripped the whole of Cambodia. In just a few years, millions of people were slaughtered, most of them elderly and infants.

The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh is a major site of atrocities and is worth visiting for a glimpse into the dark history of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge era. Cambodia today is full of lively spirit and visitors can always see young faces anywhere in the country.

3. The flag of Cambodia is one of the few national flags in the world with buildings

The Cambodian flag is one of the few national flags in the world with an icon of a building. This building is right the world-famous wonder – Angkor Wat. Like the Cambodian name itself, this flag has undergone many changes over the years. But Angkor Wat has been retained as part of the flag in almost all cases.

From 1863 to the present, only one Cambodian flag has not featured Angkor Wat, and that was during the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia from 1992 to 1993.

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4. Cambodia has the largest complex of religious buildings in the world

Yes, Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world, and it is much larger than you might think. The Angkor Archaeological Park is home to hundreds of ancient ruins, and the Angkor Wat that tourists usually visit is only part of the huge complex, which includes Angkor Thom as well as numerous other Buddhist temples.

The best way to visit these sites is to hire an experienced guide who will tell you all about the different temples, or a tuk-tuk with a driver who can take you to all the temples you want to visit.

cai rang floarting market

5. Cambodia is very accepting of homosexuality

This is a rather surprising and interesting fact about Cambodia. Cambodia is arguably one of the most LGBT-friendly places in Asia, alongside Thailand and Taiwan. Even the former King Norodom Sihanouk was quite supportive of same-sex marriage during his reign. When you visit Cambodia, you will be pleasantly surprised by the gay bars in Siem Reap and the gay scene in Phnom Penh.

6. There is not any McDonald's in Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the few countries in the world where McDonald’s has never had a presence, with several others including Ghana, Yemen, and Bermuda. It is even the only country in the world where fast food chains are not profitable. However, once you taste the local fast food, you probably won’t regret the lack of McDonald’s there. If not, you can still find some global fast food chains such as KFC and Burger King.

7. Cambodians don't usually celebrate their birthdays

Most of us start getting excited around our birthdays and even start planning how we’re going to spend the day a month before. But it’s hard to believe that this is not the case in Cambodia. Birthdays have no special meaning to Cambodians, and many locals don’t know which day their birthday is, so they never celebrate it. Most Cambodians only know which season they were born in.

8. A large number of active landmines remain in Cambodia today

This is a shocking fact about Cambodia. It is estimated that more than 3 million mines are still active in rural Cambodia today, and they could explode at any time. Back then, during the Vietnam War, the Americans dropped a large number of undetonated bombs in Cambodia. Later, during the Cambodian-Vietnamese War and the Cambodian Civil War, countless landmines were laid. Incredibly, as many as 30 civilians die each year from one of these landmines.

9. Funerals in Cambodia are quite expensive

This is one of the most interesting facts about Cambodia. Can you believe it, the average cost of a funeral in Cambodia is as high as $9,000. And the average Cambodian worker’s average monthly income is just $300 or so. Most families usually need to pool their life savings to pay for the funeral. Traditional Cambodian funeral ceremonies can last up to 49 days, which makes the high cost of a funeral more understandable.

10. The Tonle Sap is the only river in the world that flows in both directions

Tonle Sap is the name of a lake and river in Cambodia that has the unique quality of flowing in two different directions throughout the year, which is another interesting fact about Cambodia. Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and the flow of its water changes twice a year depending on the season. During the rainy season, between about May and October, the river flows into Tonle Sap Lake. The rest of the year, it flows to Phnom Penh, where it joins the Mekong River.

cai rang floarting market

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