35+ Interesting Facts About Cambodia

  1. Cambodia is a country in the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It shares land borders with Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. The Gulf of Thailand is on its western side.
  2. Funan in Cambodia was the first prominent Hindu kingdom in Southeast Asia. Its area encompasses today’s Vietnam and Thailand also. This monarchy transferred Indian and Chinese influences to other parts of Southeast Asia.
  3. Khmer Empire was established in 802 and reached its zenith during the 12th Century, controlling Cambodia and its neighboring countries. Hinduism was the initial religion of the empire, but it adopted Theravada Buddhism in later centuries. 
  4. Cambodia became a protectorate of France in 1863. Later, it became part of French Indochina alongside its neighboring countries.
  5. Japan occupied Cambodia in 1941 during WW2. The French reestablished their control in October 1945.
  6. Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953. After independence, the country became the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  7. The military ousted the king in 1970 and established the Republic of Cambodia. The new regime, supported by the US, ordered the withdrawal of Vietnamese communist forces from Cambodia.
  8. The Cambodian civil war started soon after the establishment of the Republic of Cambodia. The opponents of the regime were the supporters of the former king, local communists, Vietnamese communists, China, and the Soviet Union. The war ended in 1975 with a victory for Cambodian communists and allies.
  9. The Cambodian communists (the Communist Party of Kampuchea) established the Democratic Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, in 1975. This regime founded one of the harshest communist societies in history. They targeted common Cambodians by closing all institutes and forcing them to become unpaid laborers. 
    Skulls of the victims of the Cambodian genocide
    Cambodian genocide is one of the deadliest in human history

  10. More than 1.7 million Cambodians lost their lives at the hands of the Khmer Rouge between 1976 and 1980. These numbers make the Cambodian genocide the fourth deadliest in the world. (Source)
  11. Vietnam invaded Cambodia in December 1978 and installed the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, moderate communists, in 1979. Vietnam ended the rule of the Democratic Kampuchea by 1982. However, the war lasted until 1989 and ended after the Vietnamese withdrawal.
  12. Various parties in Cambodia started negotiations in 1991 under the supervision of the UN. It resulted in the organization of general elections in May 1993 and the restoration of the Kingdom (after 1970) in September 1993.
  13. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is the longest-serving non-royal leader in Asia. He is the leader of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and a former member of the Communist Party of Kampuchea and has been ruling Cambodia since 1985.
  14. Cambodia has the highest number of amputees per capita in the world. It is due to decades of wars and millions of unexploded mines in the country. (Source)
  15. Cambodia has the world’s highest percentage of Buddhists. Nearly 97% of Cambodians follow Buddhism. It is the fifth-largest Buddhist population in the world. (Source)
  16. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the world’s largest religious structure. It spans over 162.5 hectares. (Source)
  17. In 2016, Cambodia unearthed hidden cities with assistance from laser technology. According to estimates, these cities were around 1,000 years old and constituted the largest empire of its time. (Source)
  18. Cambodia is one of the nine Asian countries declared as LDCs (least developed countries) by the UN. There are 46 LDCs in the world.
  19. More than 95% of Cambodians belong to the Khmer ethnicity. Minorities include Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cham.
  20. The Cambodian flag contains the Angkor Wat temple. It is one of a few countries featuring buildings in their flags. Other countries with such flags are San Marino, Spain, Portugal, and Afghanistan (before the Taliban takeover in 2021). (Source)
  21. The biggest annual celebration in Cambodia is the traditional Khmer or Cambodian New Year. It falls on the 13th or 14th of April, and its celebrations last for three days.
  22. Like many other Southeast Asian countries, insects are commonly eaten in Cambodia. Famous edible insects include crickets, beetles, and silkworms. (Source)
  23. Tonle Sap in Cambodia is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Its size changes during the wet and dry seasons.
  24. The Tonle Sap river, a tributary to the Mekong river, delivers water to the Tonle Sap lake. This river changes its direction twice a year. It directs water from the Tonle Sap lake to the Mekong river in November and the opposite direction in May.
  25. Cambodia has changed its name several times since its independence. These names include the Kingdom of Cambodia (1953-1970), Khmer Republic (1970-1975), Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979), the State of Cambodia (1989-1993), and again the Kingdom of Cambodia (1993-present).
  26. Funerals in Cambodia are expensive and last for several days. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the country charged $1500 to foreign visitors for a possible funeral. (Source)
  27. According to estimates, there are more than 7 million mines in Cambodia, one of the highest in the world. 
    A soldier inspecting land mines
    Cambodia has one of the highest number of unexploded land mines 

  28. Cambodia has the third youngest population in Southeast Asia after East Timor and Laos. The median age of Cambodians is about 26 years, primarily due to decades of wars and genocide.
  29. The regime of Khmer Rouge killed numerous teachers, doctors, and other ordinary Cambodians during their brutal regime. Many of these were killed at a site in the caves of Phnom Sampeau. These are known as Killing Caves and contain the bones of these victims.
  30. Khmer is the only official language in Cambodia. Nearly all Cambodians speak this language, which is about 1,200 years old.
  31. The current Cambodian king, Norodom Sihamoni, is a bachelor and has no children. However, Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy where the Royal Council of the Throne decides about the king.
  32. There are three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cambodia. All these are cultural sites.
  33. Cambodia is the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia. It is also the seventh most corrupt country in Asia. (Source)
  34. The Cambodian Supreme Court banned the main opposition political party in 2017. It almost turned the country into an authoritarian political system.
  35. Cambodia has the worst ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) rating among the countries with stable governments. Other countries with a score of 5 are Belarus, Qatar, Bangladesh, etc. (Source)
  36. Cambodia is the world’s biggest exporter of tanned furskins and the biggest importer of leather sheets. (Source)
  37. Cambodia is one of the few countries with a high female-to-male ratio. The female percentage in Cambodia is over 51%.

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