While generally the Khmer people are warm and friendly, anger can sometimes be boiling just below the surface, due to the atrocities perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge which ruled the country from 1975-1979. Cambodia is a very rural country with about 85% of the population living in farming areas. Poverty is widespread. Children sometimes do not attend school but work or care for their siblings at a very young age.
Cambodia covers an area of about 181,035 square kilometers or 69,898 square miles (about the size of the state of Missouri) and nearly 15 million people live here.
The main language of Cambodia is Khmer – a very ancient language as old as the country itself. French and English are both commonly taught in the school systems.
50% of the population of Cambodia is under 22 years old!
There are over 4,300 Buddhist temples in Cambodia!
Tarantula kebabs are very popular food in Cambodia!
Everything about a Buddha is considered sacred – even his tooth! Don’t expect to actually see the tooth because it is buried deep inside many caskets kept hidden in a temple.
It is considered rude to point your feet, particularly the soles, toward a person or thing, so be sure to tuck them under you when sitting on the floor or on a chair.
Cambodians greet each other by pressing their palms together in front of their chests and bowing to the other person.
When giving a gift, never wrap it in white paper; white is the color of mourning.