SUMMARY:Cambodia is a country just emerging from years of violent war and bloody massacres. In an effort to purify and transform Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge regime brutally massacred millions of Cambodians, and millions more died from forced famines in the 70s. Mass social, economic and religious changes were enforced during this period. The country still shows effects of this brutal period, but Cambodians are gradually recovering their lost heritage. Life in Cambodia revolves around the Mekong River. Many people live on riverboat houses on the Mekong, and explorers can travel for weeks on the many tributaries, surrounded by the thick, impenetrable jungles. Angkor Wat, an ancient and magnificent temple, lies deep within these forests.
PROFILE: Full Country Name: Kingdom of Cambodia Area:181,035 sq km (11,224 sq mi) Population:12 million (growth rate 2.2%) Capital city:Phnom Penh (pop. one million) People:: 94% ethnic Khmers, 4% Chinese, 1% Vietnamese Language: Khmer, English and French Religion: 95% Buddhist, Cham Muslim and Roman Catholic Government:Constitutional Monarchy
MONEY & COSTS: Currency: Riel Exchange Rate: US$1 = 3,816 Relative cost: Budget Meal: US$ 2-4 Budget Room: US$ 2-8 Visa: US$20 (1 month tourist), US$25 (1 month business)
Cambodia is a fairly inexpensive country, and budget living can be as low as US$10 a day. Better accommodations can be had for as little as US$15-25 a day, and a good meal for about US$5. However, traveling expenses can be expensive sometimes, as are the entrance fees (for Angkor Wat they can be as much as US$20).
TRANSPORTATION: Cambodian roads are notoriously terrible and ill-kept. If you're willing to brave the roads, mini-buses might be the way to go. Trains can be another option for cheap and very slow travel, but flooding makes it a very unreliable method of travel. By far, the smoothest ride is by river boat. In the cities, you can catch a ride on the back of a motodope, or motorbike taxi, for as little as 50 cents.
RELIGION: The main religion in Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism. This Buddhist sect believes that the goal of man is to become a sage-a wise and venerated man-who has reached nirvana, or enlightenment. Buddhist temples can be seen all over Cambodia but there is little Christian influence. Buddhism is the state religion, but other religions have been given relative freedom, although there has been some Christian persecution.
CALL TO MISSIONARIES: It can be difficult to get around in Cambodia and there are many remote hill tribes that are very hard to reach. There has been little missionary work done in Cambodia, but it is greatly in need of the Gospel message. The country is still healing from it's bloody past. Over 50 percent of the population is under the age of 25. With such a young community, special missionaries are needed who can reach out to this population and proclaim Christ. Prayer is desperately needed for the healing and salvation of this largely unreached people.