Cambodia showcase

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Cambodia Introduction

Ancient temples, empty beaches, mighty rivers, remote forests ...and (outside Angkor) only a handful of tourists. But the word is out - Cambodia has emerged from decades of war and isolation and is well and truly back on the southeast Asian travel map.

The successor-state of the mighty Khmer Empire, which ruled much of what is now Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, Cambodia boasts a rich culture, a weathered French-era capital and impressive natural scenery. The peace is young but the country is slowly attracting the tourism currently sweeping Vietnam.

Warning

Cambodia's on a slow mend, but there's nonetheless a continuing potential for sporadic violence, petty crime, banditry, and landmines and unexploded ordinance. Cambodia is one of the world's most heavily mined countries, with up to six million undetonated mines dotted around the countryside.

Sporadic outbreaks of violence still occur, so avoid demonstrations and political gatherings. The most heavily mined regions are the Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces. Employing a local guide is smart, as is sticking to the beaten track - even at Angkor.

Street crime remains a problem in the capital - take particular care at night and travel by taxi rather than moto or cyclo. The potential for general banditry and lawlessness is high in the areas between Kratie, Snuol and Stung Treng, due in part to the illegal logging that goes on in the region.

Full country name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Area: 181,035 sq km
Population: 13.12 million
People: 94% ethnic Khmers, 4% Chinese, 1% Vietnamese
Language: Khmer, English, French
Religion: 95% Buddhist, Cham Muslim and Roman Catholic
Government: multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Head of State: King Norodom Sihamoni
Head of Government: Prime Minister Hun Sen

GDP: US$3 billion
GDP per capita: US$300
Annual Growth: 4%
Inflation: 4%
Major Industries: Timber, rubber, shipping, rice milling, textiles and fishing
Major Trading Partners: Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan

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