MORE - About Cambodia

Capital: Phnom Penh
Size: 181,035 square kilometres
Population: Approximately 13.1 million (2001 EST.)
Ethnic Groups: Khmers: 90% Chams (Khmer Islam), Hilltribes, Chinese, Vietnamese
Religion Official religion: Theravada Buddhism, Others: Islam and Christianity
Language Official language: Khmer, Others: Chinese, English, French
Time: 7 hours ahead of GMT
Visas
 
Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations. From overseas, visas to the Kingdom can be obtained from embassies, foreign missions and consulates. Thirty-day tourist and business visas are readily available upon arrival through Pochentong International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport for US$20 and US$25 respectively. Passport size photos are required.
 
Airport Tax
 
International Departures: US$25
Domestic Departure: US$15
 
Currency
 
Riel is the Cambodia's currency. The exchange rate to the US Dollar has hovered from 3900 to 4100 within the last six years, with the usual peg at a flat rate of 4,000. It has been a relatively stable currency to use. The US Dollar is also liberally accepted.
 
Health
 
Although vaccination is not official required, it is recommended that traveler get vaccinated for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B if you are going to the provinces.
Sight Seeing
The best and most inexpensive way to take in the sights and sounds of Phnom Penh is by Cycle (a tricycle). There are several tour operators in Phnom Penh who offer tours to other parts of the country. Most of them also provide cars and mini-vans for rent.
 
Transportation
 
From Pochentong International Airport to anywhere in Phnom Penh will cost you $5.00 per trip which is about 8 kilometers.
 
Communication
 
In the last few years, price on hand phone and service have gone down sharply therefore almost everyone carries one presently. There are five companies providing mobile phones services and numbers starting from: 010, 011, 012, 013, 015, 016 ,017, 018, 085, 089, 090, 092, 093, 097, 098, 099.
Business Hours
Government offices are open from 7:30AM to 5:00PM but for most banks 8:00AM to 3:30PM on weekday. However most businesses open daily from 7:00AM to 8:00PM
 
PHNOM PENH CITY
 
Phnom Penh was founded by a rich old lady named Penh, who house was not far from the river bank, on a knoll on the eastern side of small hill. One day, when the water had overflowed she went down to the river bank and found a large Koki tree drifting down the river. She immediately called her neighbors to get into a boat to catch that tree. After taking it to the bank, she cleaned out the mud and discovered four bronze Buddha statues and one stone Buddha in the hollow tree. Lady Penh and her neighbors exulted in their discovery. They brought all the statues to Lady Penh’s house. Then she asked the people to build a small cottage for them in front of her house and to build up a hill (Phnom) nearby. After that, she had the Koki sawn up for wood to make a sanctuary. In 1372, as a result of the firm support and assistance of her neighbors, Lady Penh built up a sanctuary on the “Phnom” and covered it with grass called “Sbov Phlaing”. The sanctuary housed the four bronze statues, whereas the stone statue, she put at the foot of the “Phnom” to the east. When the work was finished, the monks were invited to settle at the foot of the “Phnom” to the west. Then, they called it “Wat Phnom Daun Penh” (old lady Penh’s Pagoda).
 
 
 
In 1434, King Ponhea Yat moved the capital from Bassac City (in ancient Kampong Cham Province) to Phnom Daun Penh. The sanctuary built by Lady Penh had been removed, but the King decided to construct a new one. Then he tried to build up the hill and constructed a brick stupa on top. After the inauguration, the King named the hill “Preah Chedei Paravata”, but nowadays it is simply called Wat Phnom. The first establishment did not last long, the capital moved from one place to Phnom Daun Penh again and remains up to the present time. Phnom Penh covers an area of 290 kilometer square with 2 million inhabitants. It is a major industrial, commercial, communication, and tourism center for home and world services. Valuable tropical products can be found here including seafood, fresh water food, delicious fruit, handicrafts and articles. The city offers tourists a lot of modern hotels and restaurants with diversified service.

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