Diary Homepage

Before You Go
Travel Planning

Facts at a Glance
Myanmar (Burma)


Getting There
The Transpacific Commute

One Day in Bangkok
Bang Pa-In Palace
And the Ruins of Ayutthaya

Phnom Penh
A Day in the Killing Fields

Arrival at Angkor
Apsara Sunset
Angkor Wat Sunrise
Closure in Cambodia

Siem Reap to
Nong Khai

A Travel Day

Visiting Vientiane

Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang Pilgrimage
Bicycle Race
The Pak Ou Caves

Luang Prabang
to Chiang Rai

Riding the Mekong Express

Mae Sai
Daytrip to Burma

Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Bound
Three Wats and a Massage
Hilltribe Trek

Chiang Mai
to Bangkok

Doi Suthep and the
Hmong "Poppy Field";
Bangkok Transit Stop

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Reunion
Sheung Wan Walking Tour;
Reaching the Peak

Facts at a Glance: Cambodia
(From the CIA World Factbook)


Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand and Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 105 00 E

total: 181,040 sq km
land: 176,520 sq km
water: 4,520 sq km

Area (comparative): Slightly smaller than Oklahoma

Land boundaries:
total : 2,572 km
border countries: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km

Coastline: 443 km

Climate: tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m

Natural resources: timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential

Land use:
arable land: 13%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures : 11%
forests and woodland: 66%
other : 10% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 920 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts

Environment - Current issues: logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand are resulting in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); deforestation; soil erosion; in rural areas, a majority of the population does not have access to potable water

Geography - note: A land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap


Population: 11,163,861 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% (male 2,573,135; female 2,497,776)
15-64 years : 52% (male 2,668,089; female 3,084,009)
65 years and over: 3% (male 144,001; female 196,851) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.72% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 42.63 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 15.39 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 106 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 50.25 years
male: 48.79 years
female : 51.79 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.81 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: Cambodian(s)
adjective: Cambodian

Ethnic groups: Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%

Religions: Theravada Buddhism 95%, other 5%

Languages: Khmer (official), French

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population : 35%
male: 48%
female : 22% (1990 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
conventional short form: Cambodia
local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea
local short form: Kampuchea

Government type: Multiparty liberal democracy under a constitutional monarchy established in September 1993

National capital: Phnom Penh

Independence: 9 November 1949 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 9 November 1949

Executive branch:
chief of state: King Norodom SIHANOUK (reinstated 24 September 1993)
head of government: power shared between First Prime Minister Prince Norodom RANARIDDH (since NA 1993) and Second Prime Minister HUN SEN (since NA 1993)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the king
elections : none; the king is a constitutional monarch; prime ministers appointed by the king


Economy - overview: The Cambodian economy - virtually destroyed by decades of war - is slowly recovering. Government leaders are moving toward restoring fiscal and monetary discipline and have established good working relations with international financial institutions. Growth, starting from a low base, has been strong in 1991-96. Despite such positive developments, the reconstruction effort faces many tough challenges because of the persistence of internal political divisions and the related lack of confidence of foreign investors. Rural Cambodia, where 90% of about 9.5 million Khmer live, remains mired in poverty. The almost total lack of basic infrastructure in the countryside will hinder development and will contribute to a growing imbalance in growth between urban and rural areas over the near term. Moreover, the government's lack of experience in administering economic and technical assistance programs and rampant corruption among officials will slow the growth of critical public sector investment. The decline of inflation from the 1992 rate of more than 50% is one of the bright spots.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $7.7 billion (1996 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 7.4% (1996 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $710 (1996 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 51%
industry: 14%
services: 35%

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 5% (1996 est.)

Labor force: 2.5 million to 3 million
by occupation : agriculture 80% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $261 million
expenditures: $496 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1995 est.)

Industries: rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles

Agriculture - products: rice, rubber, corn, vegetables

total value: $464 million (1996 est.)
commodities: timber, rubber, soybeans, sesame
partners : Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia

total value: $1.4 billion (1996 est.)
commodities: cigarettes, construction materials, petroleum products, machinery, motor vehicles
partners : Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia

Debt - external: $1.9 billion (1994)

Economic aid:
recipient : ODA, $NA
note: international donors pledged a total of $1.8 billion in 1995 and 1996

Currency: 1 new riel (CR) = 100 sen

Exchange rates: riels (CR) per US$1 - 3500.0 (January 1998), 2,624.1 (1996), 2,450.8 (1995), 2,545.3 (1994), 2,689.0 (1993), 1,266.6 (1992)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam are in dispute; maritime boundary with Vietnam not defined; parts of border with Thailand in dispute; maritime boundary with Thailand not clearly defined

Illicit drugs: transshipment country for Golden Triangle heroin en route to West; possibly becoming money-laundering center; high-level narcotics-related corruption reportedly involving government, military, and police; possible small-scale opium, heroin, and amphetamine production; large producer of cannabis for the international market