Also known as the Kingdom of Kampuchea, Cambodia has had a troubled history, but it is better known for the mysterious ancient city of Angkor Wat.
Cambodia is relatively undeveloped compared to its neighbour Thailand but this means you are more likely to find yourself in unspoiled place. Children catch big black spiders with very hairy feet to sell. Well cooked they are reported to be very tasteful, though I can’t confirm that. I left Cambodia captured by its unspoiled ways, a destination that hasn’t yet been exploited and can’t be missed in south-east Asia.
Cambodia is still one of the few countries that maintain a monarchy. Phnom Penh is the kingdom’s capital and the largest city and is the centre for industry, political headquarters, tourism services, commercial, economic power and culture for the whole country. A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as “Cambodian” or “Khmer”.
Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor, now sports luxury hotels, chic nightspots, ATMs, and an airport fielding flights from all over the region, while Sihanoukville is getting good press as an up-and-coming beach destination. However, travel beyond the most popular tourist destinations is still an adventure.
Cambodia is the traditional English name, taken from the French Cambodge, while Kâmpuchea, formerly the name of the country in English. The Khmer Kampuchea is derived from the ancient Khmer kingdom of Kambuja, an early tribe of north India. Iron Age settlements were found beneath Angkorian temples a few kilometres north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer, testify improvement of food availability and trade and the existence of a social structure and labour organization.