History and Culture of Cambodia

By | October 25, 2021

History of Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia was part of the Khmer Empire between the 5th and 13th centuries. After being part of French Indochina for 100 years, Cambodia became independent in 1954. Historically, the country is perhaps best known for the terrible period in the 1970s when the country was ruled by the Khmer Rouge, or Khmer Rouge. During the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, almost everything that had to do with the old Khmer culture was destroyed. Not only buildings, statues, books, musical instruments and not least people were wiped out during the Khmer Rouge’s attempts to turn Cambodia into a Maoist agricultural society. Fortunately, the impressive temple area of ​​Angkor Wat was spared despite the Communist military’s belief that religion should be replaced by faith in the party. However, this strategy was not a success and today the majority of Cambodians profess a special form of Buddhism mixed with Hinduism and animism. Animism is the belief that all animals, plants and places have a spirit being in them.

Customs and traditions

Cambodians are generally very open and greet tourists with a smile and a “hello sir / madam”. They do not like to get involved in how you behave. Instead, it is assumed that you as a visitor to the country have familiarized yourself with how to behave.

Tourists are expected to respect their shrines and customs with respect and appropriate attire. You always take off your shoes before entering a temple. Remember to always have the soles of your feet facing the floor and never turn them towards a Buddha figure or shrine. They are considered unclean. One must not touch Buddha figures and historical monuments. It is not always allowed to take photographs and it is important to be aware of any signage about this. It is also not allowed to pose in front of a Buddha figure. Visit rctoysadvice for Cambodia Travel Package.

As in neighboring countries, it is considered unworthy and indecent not to control oneself and one’s emotions. That is, as a tourist you should not show anger or excitement. If you end up in a situation where you feel badly treated, you can turn to the tour guide who can help resolve the situation.

Public kisses and declarations of love are highly inappropriate. Body contact and hand holding are not well regarded, although it is common for people of the same sex to hold hands. In addition, the body should always be decently covered. In the large tourist areas, it is accepted to deviate from the norms inside the hotel areas. Never touch a Cambodian on the head. It is considered rude because the hair is sacred.

In the street scene you often see beggars and of course you can give an elderly person or a disabled person a penny, but preferably not to children and young people as this encourages child begging. Rather give the children things like shampoo, soap, pencils or drawing pads.

Currency and credit cards

The Cambodian currency is called the riel and is available in 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 riel banknotes. There are no coins. Riel cannot be bought in Sweden.

The best currency to carry is US dollars (in smaller banknotes) and in many places it is actually possible to pay with dollars. In Cambodia, it is possible to exchange at airports, banks, exchange offices and most hotels. Remember to count the money properly and keep in mind that riel can rarely be exchanged for foreign currency (Swedish kronor or US dollars).

Credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express can be used as debit cards at most major hotels and in some stores. However, you can rarely use credit cards to withdraw cash at ATMs.

It may be wise to bring a suitable amount of banknotes (in riel or US dollars) to pay for taxis, purchases at local shops and meals, as there is rarely change.

History and Culture of Cambodia