Amidst the winding Mekong River and the fertile plains of the Mekong-Tonle basin, lies the Kingdom of Cambodia. Surrounded by Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia boasts a rich culture, with beaches, rivers, and some of the most remote forests in the region. The magical Angkor temples are quite an attraction against the backdrop of crumbling architecture, an uncommonly beautiful sight. The capital city, Phnom Penh, has done a brilliant job of preserving the ancient cultures in this city. The bustling cafes strewn among the spectacular pagodas and monasteries are symbolic of the way new has interwoven with old. And the Temples of Angkor, in the city of Angkor, are the kingdom's largest tourist draw today. Outside of the larger cities travelers can see large marsh-like regions with houses built on stilts, and workers toiling in the rice fields. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, although moving, are a breathtaking sight and a reminder of the kingdom's past struggles, definitely worth a visit.
Cambodia, with a tropical monsoon climate, has two real seasons: the monsoon or rainy season from May through October, and the dry season, from November to April. During the rainy season, the temperatures are cooler and the vegetation more lush. Temperatures in the dry season can be very hot, so be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat and drink plenty of water.
Cambodia sits in the tropics of the southwestern Indochina peninsula, bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the Gulf of Thailand. Her most prominent features are Tonle Sap Lake, the Bassac and Mekong River systems, dense jungles and the mountain ranges towering throughout the country.
Major Holidays & Events
Cambodia traditionally celebrates:
January 1 & 7 - International New Year's Day & Victory Day
February 25 - Meak Bochea Day or "Buddha's Preachment Commemoration Ceremony"
March 8 - International Women's Day
April 13-16 - Khmer New Year Day or "Bon Chol Chhnam Thmei Khmer"
May 1 - International Labor Day
May 13-15 - Royal Birthday of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia
May 24 & 28 - Visakh Bochea Day or "Buddha's Birth Commemoration Ceremony" & the Royal Ploughing Ceremony
June 1 & 18 - Children's Day & Royal Birthday of Samdech Preah Maha Ksatrei Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Cambodian Queen-Mother with Freedom, Dignity and Happiness
September 24 - Constitution Day
October 3-5 - Phchum Ben Day, or "Spirit Commemoration Ceremony"
October 15 - Commemoration Day to the Royal Soul of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat, King-Father of the Cambodian National Independence, Territorial Integrity and Unity
October 23 - Paris Peace Accord Day
October 29 - Royal Coronation of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia
November 9 - Independence Day
November 16-18 - Regatta, Procession of Illuminated Floats, Salutation to the Moon, and the Offering of Bananas and Ambok
December 10 - International Human Rights Day