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Cambodia

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It is important to remember that Cambodian history did not begin with the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot's incredibly harsh regime has garnered most attention, but the Cambodians have enjoyed a long and often triumphant history. Anybody who witnesses the magnificent temples at Angkor can attest to the fact that the Khmer Empire was once wealthy, militarized, and a major force in the region. Its zenith came under Jayavarman VII (1181-ca. 1218), where the Empire made significant territorial gains from the Vietnamese and Cham. The Khmer Empire stretched to encompass parts of modern day Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.
[[Image:BasRelief Battle.JPG|thumb|250px|right|Relief battle at [[Angkor]]]]
The period following the fall of the Khmer Empire has been described as Cambodia's dark ages. Climatic factors precipitated this fall, where the Ankorian civilization harnessed Cambodia's water for agriculture through elaborate systems of canals and dams. The Khmer Empire never recovered from the sacking by its neighbours, based in Ayutthaya (in modern day Thailand), and Cambodia spent much of the next 400 years until French colonization squeezed and threatened by the rivalries of the expanding Siamese and Vietnamese Empires to the West and East. Indeed, on the eve of French colonization it was claimed that Cambodia was likely set to cease to exist as an independent kingdom entirely, with the historian John Tully claiming “there can be little doubt that their [the French] intervention prevented the political disappearance of the kingdom”.
In March 1970, whilist overseas to visit Moscow and Beijing, Sihanouk was overthrown by Lon Nol and other generals who were looked upon favorably by the United States. Sihanouk then put his support behind the Khmer Rouge. This change influenced many to follow suit; he was after all considered a Boddhisatva. Meanwhile the Khmer Rouge followed the Vietnamese example and began to engender themselves to the rural poor.
Following a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns. Over 1 million people (and possibly many more) died from execution or enforced hardships. Those from the cities were known as "new" people and suffered worst at first. The rural peasantry were regarded as "base" people and fared better. However, the Khmer Rouge's cruelty was enacted on both groups. It also depended much upon where you were from. For example, people in the East generally got it worse. It is debated whether or not the Khmer Rouge began "crimes against humanity" or a protracted "genocide". There are claims there was a disproportionate number of ethnic Chams killed, and the ethnically Vietnamese also suffered persecution. Nonetheless, the Khmer also suffered often indescriminate mass killings. A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and ended 13 years of fighting (but the fighting would continue for some time in border areas). Cold War politics meant that despite the horrendous crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge they were the recognized government long after the liberation of the country by the Vietnamese, indeed they continued to receive covert support and financing by the USA. As a result of the devastating politics of the Khmer Rouge regime, there was virtually no infrastructure left. Institutions of higher education, money, and all forms of commerce industries were destroyed in 1978, so the country had to be built up from scratch. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy, as did the rapid diminution of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-1990s. A coalition government, formed under pressure of the party who lost the elections but enforced his control of powers, after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces. Many leaders of the formal periods kept important positions. They often adopted more liberal views as long they could extract personal profit of the situation.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is currently putting Ieng Sary, Pol Pot's brother in law, on trial for 'crimes against humanity'.
=== Economy ===
The two pillars of Cambodia's newly-stable economy are textiles and tourism. The tourism industry has grown rapidly with over 1.7 million visitors arriving in 2006 and 2.0 million in 2007. The long-term development of the economy after decades of war remains a daunting challenge, as the population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure. More than 60% of the population still gets by on subsistence farming. The government is addressing these issues with assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors. New construction of roads, irrigation, and agriculture are invested to bring up the rural areas.Government keeps constructing roads and other infrastructure while trafic is limited. It is not clear wheater the motivation is development or public spending towards particular constructors. Hydroelectric opportunities do attract foreign investors and more or less clandestine timber exploitation goes on, particularly where new roads are beeing build. The sand of Koh Kong island is sold to Singapore. Officially as a way to stabilize borders lines, casinos's rise upon the country borders. Economic development bases on the deep-water port of Sihanoukville, the enhancement of electricity supply, the modernization of the railway to be fulfilled by the end of 2013, the construction and pavement of roads. "Cambodia has one of the most investor-friendly environment in ASEAN: no exchange controls, no restriction on repatriation of profits, no discrimination between foreign and local investors; (...) corporate income tax is only 20% and there are tax holidays of up to nine years. Foreigners can also take out leases of land for up to 99 years and foreign companies can buy land. (Bangkok Post, 10/09/2012)
== Regions ==
{{infobox|Caution|Cambodian Immigration authorities now '''fingerprint''' visitors on arrival and departure (not anymore at Poi Pet crossing). These fingerprints may well find their way to your country's authorities or any other agency that cares to buy them. If you object to that avoid the main entry points e.g. airports, [[Poipet]] (on the [[Bangkok]]-[[Siem Reap]] road), [[Cham Yeam]] (near [[Koh Kong]]), and Bavet (on the [[Phnom Penh]]-[[Ho Chi Minh]] road). Smaller crossings such as Ban Pakkard/Pshar Prum (for [[Pailin]]) and Chong Sa-Ngam/Choam (for [[Anlong Veng]]) aren't equipped with hand scanners}}
{{infobox|Business Visas|For faster and reliable processing of your long term Business Visa application, it is advisable to contact reliable and reputable travel agents who have better knowledge and understanding of the system for prompt visa application processing and delivery. Business people and travellers can contact Amandeep Travel Agency for their long-term Visa or Visa extension requirements at the following phone numbers: '''097 236 2092''' or '''097 236 0947016635367'''.}}
All visitors, except citizens of [[Indonesia]], [[Malaysia]], [[Singapore]], [[Philippines]], [[Laos]], [[Thailand]] and [[Vietnam]] need a visa to enter Cambodia. The official price for a tourist visa is US$20, and US$25 for an Ordinary visa. Staff may try to charge more at some land border crossings: hold out for the official price, particularly at major crossings, but don't be upset if you have to pay US$1-2 extra.
====E-visa====
Citizens of most nations can apply for an '''e-Visa''' [http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/][http://www.mycambodiavisa.com] online on the '''Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation''' website, through a service provided by a private Cambodian company ('''CINet''' [http://www.cinet.com.kh]). This is a normal '''Tourist Visa''' but costs US$25 instead of the normal US$20. The visa arrives as a PDF file by e-mail within 3 business days. The application requires a digital photograph of yourself (in .jpg format). You can scan your passport photo or have a passport sized photograph taken with a digital camera. There are other websites pretending to make a Cambodian e-visa - at best, these are just online travel agencies which will charge you more ($30-$45) and get the same $25 visa for you; at worst, you may end up with a fake e-visa.
You need to print '''two''' copies (one for entry and one for exit) of the PDF visa, cut out the visa parts and keep them with your passport.
E-Visas are only valid for entry by air or at the three border main land crossings only: Bavet (on the [[Ho Chi Minh City]]-[[Phnom Penh]] road); [[Koh Kong]] (near [[Trat]] in [[Eastern Thailand]]); and [[Poipet]] (on the [[Bangkok]]-[[Siem Reap]] road). You may '''exit''' the country with e-visa via '''any''' border crossing, however[http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/]. Given the general reduction in visa scams at the major land borders, paying the extra $5 to guarantee the price may (more likely if entering from Thailand) or may not worth it. Getting a tourist visa on arrival for US$20 is more likely than being overcharged. Plus it keeps the option open of the enjoyable [[Phnom Penh]]-[[Chau Doc]] boat trip (and the use of other minor border crossings)!
 
Updates: Cambodia e-Visa charges US$3 more effective 5 Feb 2013 [http://www.evisaasia.com/news/cambodia-evisa-charges-us3-more-effective-5-feb-2013]
====Overstaying====
The '''main crossing''' is the Moc Bai/Bavet crossing on the [[Ho Chi Minh City]] - [[Phnom Penh]] road. Buses between the two cities cost US8-12 and take around 6 hrs. Passengers vacate the vehicle at both countries' checkpoints. Only one passport photo is required for a Cambodian visa on arrival. Tours of the Mekong Delta (US$25-35, 2-3 days) can provide a more insightful journey between the two cities.
If you end up on a Kumho Samco bus even after being told the ticket is for another company it is possible to avoid the extra charge by being quick and getting through Vietnam border crossing and then going straight to the Cambodia side 100 meters away. The conductor will wait for all the foreign passports needing visas then jump on a motorcycle (if he is nice you can get a lift if he is leaving to go when you are). It is a gamble but doable as they will threaten to wait only 10 minutes. Ask for a visa on arrival sheet on the bus to have the paperwork ready. If you do miss the bus some buses at least stop less than a kilometer or so down the road for a half hour food stop. Best bet avoid Kumho Samco and the extortion.
Through tickets to [[Siem Reap]] are also available (US$18), though it is cheaper to buy a ticket to [[Phnom Penh]] and then arrange onward transport on one of the many connecting buses.
Domestic aviation in Cambodia has improved.
The only airports currently operating scheduled passenger flights are [[Phnom Penh]] and [[Siem Reap]]. The third major airport, [[ Flights to Sihanoukville]], will be receiving scheduled flights again in late 2011. The other 25 airports will be reopened are now available and cost around $100.
The main operator is ''Cambodia Angkor Air''[http://www.cambodiaangkorair.com], a joint venture between the government and Vietnam Airlines, which flies between Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
There are a number of motorcycle touring companies in Cambodia, such as [http://ridecambodia.com Ride Cambodia Motorcycle Tours], that run single or multi-day trips across the whole country. This is great for those that want to get far off the beaten path and see the places that a tourist bus could never reach.
 
'''Sabai Moto Adventures''' [http://www.sabaiadventures.com] operates daily moto bike tours to the countryside, remote villages and ancient temples. Great for all levels of riders. Get off the beaten path and see the real Cambodia as you explore areas seldom visited by tourists. [http://www.sabaiadventures.com Sabai Adventures].
=== By boat ===
== Talk ==
The official language of Cambodia is '''[[Image:Sign_SlowDownKhmer phrasebook|Khmer]]'''.JPGUnlike Mandarin and Vietnamese, Khmer is NOT a tonal language (think about the difference in your voice when saying "yes." versus "yes?" - that's tonal), but despite this, everyone will appreciate any attempt you do make so pick up a [[Khmer phrasebook|thumb|240px|Good advice for learning phrasebook]] and give it a go. Khmer is a language with many dialects, though the Phnom Penh dialect, also known as Central Khmer, is used as the languagestandard and is taught in all schools. Language schools can be found in all larger Cambodian cities, including [[Phnom Penh]] and [[Siem Reap]].
: ''See also:'' In the west, dialects of [[Thai phrasebook|Thai]] that are largely incomprehensible to speakers of standard Thai are spoken. Various dialects of Chinese are spoken by the ethnic Chinese community, with Teochew being the dominant dialect in Phnom Penh, and [[Khmer Cantonese phrasebook|Cantonese]]speakers also forming a sizeable minority among the Chinese community.
Cambodians primarily speak [[Khmer phrasebook|Khmer]]Public signage is generally bilingual, which unlike most languages written in the region both Khmer and English. There is not tonal, but makes up for it with a large assortment also some prevalance of consonant Japanese and vowel clustersChinese signs. Young Khmer prefer to learn Where there is English over other foreign languages and you , it will find people who speak anywhere from basic usually be fairly phonetic - for example "Soorssadey" (meaning ''hello'') is pronounced just as it reads: soors-sadey. There is no universal agreement on how to fluent transcribe Khmer letters that don't have an English equivalent. Maps with names in major towns both Khmer and cities. In tourist market situations, most Khmer will know enough English make it easier for locals to complete a basic transaction, though many vendors carry calculators into which they punch numbers try and show help you the screen to demonstrate the price.
Some elder Khmer speak [[French phrasebook|French]] from the Sangkum Reastr Niyum period. French is still an official language Most Cambodian youths learn '''English''' in Cambodiaschool, and used in government communications, but partly because so many young people have a basic grasp of the Khmer Rouge era (in which those speaking foreign languages were targeted for extermination)English, actually encountering anyone though few are fluent in French is rare outside of Phnom Penh. [[German phrasebook|German]] and other European tongues can be found Most "front desk" people in the tourist centres (but travel industry speak at least enough English to communicate, and many are even rarer than French) and [[Japanese phrasebook|Japanese]] is relatively fluent; some also a speak one or more other languages popular language for tourist industry workers. with their clientele, such as Chinese dialects, Thai and Vietnamese are spoken in Phnom Penh. Thai is more prevalent in northwestern provincesJapanese, German, whereas Vietnamese dominates southeastern provincesetc.
==See==
* Go On A Boat Party In [[Phnom Penh]]
* Visit the tropical islands off the coast of Sihanoukville
*<do name="Koh Rong" alt="" address="Sihanoukville" directions="1.5hrs by boat from Sihanoukville" phone="" url="" hours="" price="$30/day" lat="" long="">The islands of Cambodia are what Thailand was 15 years ago. Currently, Doh Koh Rong is the only island with any development, and has 78 sq. kms of jungle, 30 untouched beaches, 4 fishing villages, less than 10 bungalow guesthouses.</do>
==Buy==
When shopping be sure to look for businesses that display the Heritage Friendly Business Logo. Heritage Watch has launched a campaign that aims to encourage support for Cambodia's arts, culture, heritage and development. Businesses that are giving back to the community are certified as Heritage Friendly by the independent organization and permitted to display either a gold or silver Heritage Friendly logo. Look for the logo to ensure that you are supporting socially responsible corporate citizens!
www.stayanotherdaycambodia.com edits a guide about several tourism-oriented ngo's and their offer.
The Childsafe Network insists: do not buy from children! Specialized ngo's and schools can not reach the children you keep in streets and on the beach,where they are especially vulnerable.
===Haggling===
VISA and JCB are the most widely accepted credit cards; MasterCard and American Express cards are slowly becoming more widely accepted.
ATMs dispense US$ in varying denominations from 10 to 100. If you receive bills in poor condition (especially $50 or $100) from an ATM attached directly to a bank try to change them there immediately as they may be difficult to change later. Cambodian ATMs only accept 4-digit PINs 100 and 50 dollar bills may be difficult to use in general in any smaller shop as they will not have change and are advised against. If using them expect them to be inspected with great scrutiny for forgeries, and if they are to be removed from your PIN is more than 4 digits, best sight verify the serial number first to avoid them being swapped for counterfeit bills and returned to take care of that at home before you need cash and find yourself out of luckbecause they "can't make change".
=== Traveller's cheques ===
In general, Khmers are not what could be described as casual drinkers: the main objective is to get hammered as quickly as possible. Know your limits if invited to join in!
The two most popular domestic Cambodian beers are '''Anchor''' &mdash; pronounced "an-CHOR" with a ''ch'' sound! &mdash; and '''Angkor'''. '''Beer Lao''' and '''Tiger''' are popular beers with foreigners. A plethora of other beers include '''ABC Stout''', which is dark and not so bad, in addition to the standard '''Heineken''' and '''Carlsberg'''. Cheaper beers include '''Crown''' and '''Leo''', whilst '''Kingdom Beer''' aims for the premium market with a pilsener and a dark lager. In Phnom Penh some of the foreigner oriented bars have also added harder to find import beers to their menu; the '''Green Vespa''' and '''Garage Bar''' both now carry a wide selection of English beers.
'''Palm wine''' and '''rice wine''' are available in villages and can be OK at 500-1000 riel for 1 litre bottle. However, some safety concerns have been raised with regard to sanitation, so the local wines may be best avoided. The '''rice wine''' is also not actually a wine but a distilled liquor with varied potency so when drinking it pace yourself until you're sure of its strength. As a home distilled beverage there is also always the risk of improper distillation leading to methanol poisoning.
For a truly Khmer experience, hunt down a bottle of '''Golden Muscle Wine'''. Advertised on tuk-tuks everywhere, this pitch-black concoction made from deer antlers and assorted herbs packs a 35% punch and tastes vile when drunk straight, but can be made reasonably palatable (if not exactly tasty) by the addition of tonic water or cola. At US$2 for a 350 ml flask of the original and a budget-busting US$3 for the "X.O." version, it's the cheapest legitimate tipple available.
One of the most interesting ways to get to know a country, and which has become increasingly popular, is to '''volunteer'''.
Finding a paid job teaching English in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is easy for English speakers, even if you have no other qualifications, though the salary will be significantly higher with TEFL/CELTA certifications. If you're interested, print out some resumes and start handing them out to various schools.
==Stay safe==
[[Image:Sign_DangerMines.JPG|thumb|240px|Land mine warning sign]]
Cambodia is a safe and friendly country, with the usual exception for large cities late at night, particularly [[Phnom Penh]], and unobserved luggage or wallets. Bag snatching, even from those on bicycles and motorcycles, is a problem in [[Phnom Penh]]. Be discreet with your possessions, especially cash and cameras, and as always, take extra care in all poorly lit or more remote areas. If you are renting a motorcycle it has been advised to purchase and use your own lock for securing it as some of the less scrupulous staff at rental companies have been known to use their copy of the key to steal bikes and leave the traveler paying the exceptionally high value estimation. Police assistance in many cases requires some "facilitation" money in a sort of bidding war between the victim and the criminal with "connections" complicating things further making recovery of the motorcycle difficult.
=== Crime and corruption ===
Intending visitors should be aware that the rule of law in Cambodia is inconsistently applied. Crimes usually require bribes to be investigated, and if perpetrators are wealthy or connected to the government they will often be untouchable by police and courts. You should also be aware that the courts are corrupt, so contracts are hard to enforce without some political leverage. All this being said, the violent crime rate is fairly low(especially to foreign visitors), the police are generally friendly and non-threatening, and those with common sense have little to fear.
=== Land mines ===
=== Prostitution ===
The age of consent in Cambodia is 15. Prostitution is theoretically illegal but widespread, although generally not overtly aimed at tourists (there are no go-go bars) - with the exception of Phnom Penh. Many bars and clubs, however, do have taxi girls wandering the premises. Bear in mind that Southeast Asia has a fast-growing HIV infection rate, and among Cambodian sex workers this is about 1 in 8. So safe sex is a must in all cases. Cambodia has gained some notoriety as a destination for pedophiles, but under Cambodian law the penalty for sex with a minor can be up to 30 years in prison, and such tourists may be prosecuted by their home countries as well. Certain local NGOs like the ChildSafe Network and its 24-hour hotline are vigilant in watching for and soliciting reports on pedophiles, whom they report to police, though they can at times be over zealous and accuse any caucasian man they see with a young Asian child. If you have Asian children, or are an educator/etc, it's best to have some sort of verification as to your role in the child's life on your person to show police in case of incident.
== Stay healthy ==
[[File:Cambodia_ice.jpg|thumb|300px|right|Ice in Cambodia is made in factories with treated water and is usually safe.]]
[[Cambodia]], one of the world's poorest countries, lacks reliable medical facilities, doctors, clinics, hospitals and medication, especially in rural areas. Even the popular Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh kills its fair share of patients. Any '''serious problem''' should be dealt with in [[Bangkok]], [[Ho Chi Minh City]] or [[Singapore]], which boast first rate services (at least to those who can afford them). Repatriation is also more easily arranged from either of those cities. Make sure your insurance covers medical evacuation. The private and pricey Thai-owned '''Royal Rattanak Hospital''' in [[Phnom Penh]] can be trusted for emergency medical care and can treat most diseases and injuries common to the region. '''Naga Clinic''' has branches in [[Siem Reap]] and [[Phnom Penh]]. It is also clean, safe and useful for minor conditions. Phnom Penh's long-serving British doctor Gavin Scott, who is also a tropical medicine expert, has an excellent reputation among expats.
'''Local hospitals and clinics''' vary from mediocre to frightening. Expect dirt, poor equipment, expired medicines and placebos of flour and sugar.
The most common ailment for travelers is '''diarrhoea,''' which can deteriorate into dysentery, resulting in dehydration. Stay hydrated by trying to consume 2-3 litres of water per day and don't forget that '''dehydration can also be brought on by a lack of salt''', soy sauce is your friend in this climate.
Avoid untreated water, ice made from untreated water and any raw fruit or vegetables that may have been washed in untreated water. '''Tap water''' is generally not drinkable, so avoid. The [[Phnom Penh]] supply is potable (strangely, it is one of the world's safest) but nonetheless few people trust it. Cheap bottled water is available in any town or village. Take water purification tablets or iodine to sterilize water if planning to visit more rural areas. Boiling water will also sterilize it without generating piles of waste plastic bottle waste or tainting the taste, however it will not remove arsenic or '''thermo tolerent coliforms''' [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coliform_index] such as E. coli which '''may be present in water acquired from ground wells or streams''' [http://www.bama.ua.edu/~joshua/archive/may10/aguilar.pdf]. The water in the jugs at cafes or restaurants will have been boiled, as obviously will have been the tea.
If you do get severe diarrhoea and become badly dehydrated, take an oral rehydration solution and drink plenty of treated water. However, a lot of blood or mucus in the stool can indicate dysentery, which requires a trip to a doctor for antibiotics.
===Telephone===
Cambodia uses the GSM mobile system and '''Mobitel''' [http://www.mobitel.com.kh] is the largest operator, although competition is stiff. Pre-paid SIM cards are widely available (from US$1), but require a passport to buy. A guest house or tuk-tuk driver may just buy one for you. Mobitel (cellcard) does not work well near the beach in Sihanoukville. If you are planning to spend time in and around Sihanoukville and with to use mobile internet then recently acquired one of their largest competitors, M-Phone, after '''M-Phone declared bankruptcy''' [http://www.metfonedap-news.com/2011-06-14-02-39-55/55827-mfone-mobitel-.kh metfonehtml] would be a good choice of SIM card to buy for $3. You can easily register for metfone daily unlimited mobile internet by texting ON3 to number 111. It costs $0.70 per day. This can be cancelled by texting OFF to number 111. It works at Otres Beach unlike many other networks and is the only network to work on Koh Russei (Bamboo Island). Tethering / Personal Hotspot capable phones such as the iPhone 4 or newer models, or higher spec Android phones will work fine with metfone. To set that up, the APN is metfone, leave username has expanded their coverage and password fields blankservice availability significantly.
===Internet===
Fast wireless 3G/4G internet (3.5G or 7.2MBpS 3G/4G Modem usb stick, unlocked 3G/4G modem costs 30$) is now available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville/Kampot/Kep with slower Edge coverage in almost all other areas. Tourists can add 3G/4G mobile internet to their SIM for as little as $3/month (0.8GB max, LT3 package)(Metfone) or 1c/MB with Qbmore or unlimited data package for $25/month (Metfone), equipping another 3G router can form a WiFi hotspot to share internet in your house/neighbourhood.
Khmer does not yet have a big presence in the electronic world as do Thai or Vietnamese. Phones and computers, and hence Cambodian text messages, emails, social network slobbering and web pages, tend to be in Englishor Khmer transliteration, though Khmer Unicode fonts are becoming more popular and widely available.
===Post===
Once a disaster, a trip to the post office in Cambodia no longer means a final good bye to your consignment. Intercontinental postcards should arrive in 2 weeks; within Asia, 1 week. Rates Domestic rates are cheaphowever international customs fees and rates can be high, though still less that private carriers. Some foreign customers have experienced varied results on occasion still. Packages that disappear or have been gone through with some items missing. Contact by the post office to notify you that your package has arrived is also unreliable and you should go in person when you suspect your parcel should have arrived.
== Get out ==

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