Cambodia NGOs And Non-Profit part two – you can see part one here.
7 Interesting Things to Know about Cambodia
After the devastating reign of the murderous dictator Pol Pot, Cambodia is now one of Asia’s crown jewels. That being said, any traveler or expat moving to Southeast Asia should include a visit to Cambodia on their list. Here are 7 interesting facts about this vibrant country that will be sure to whet your appetite for the Kingdom of Wonder.
· The Royal Ballet
Cambodia’s Royal Ballet was founded in 1959 by Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearyrath, mother of the current king. It has developed into one of the best ballet companies in Asia. Aside from this fact, this country is unique for its requirement that dancers be able to sing as well as dance since all performances are accompanied by an orchestra. Besides, dancers are trained rigorously in the classical tradition and performances are presented by invitation only at special state occasions.
· Angkor Wat
Angkor is a massive complex of ancient temples, shrines, palaces and other buildings constructed by the Khmer empire between the ninth century A.D. and early 15th century. This place includes numerous monuments of sandstone, laterite and brick construction.
Angkor Wat is the largest of these monuments. Not only is that, but was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu it now honors all three of Cambodia’s main religions (Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). Today, it has become one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations for both visitors and international pilgrims.
· Kampujng Provincial Museum
Kampong is the Cambodian word for village and most provincial capitals in Cambodia have a local museum. The one in Kampong Chhnang province, where Kampung Cham is located, displays artifacts found during Angkor excavation projects which were carried out around the city of Siem Reap starting in the 1860s. The museum is housed in an old colonial building that was most recently used as the provincial hospital.
Cambodia’s cuisine makes great use of fresh herbs and spices. Popular dishes include amok (fish baked with lemon grass, lime leaves, coconut milk and ginger), Nom Banh Chok (fried beef served over rice noodles) and Thit Kho (braised pork with lemon grass, ginger, garlic and fish sauce).
· The Killing Fields
The Choeung Ek killing fields just outside of Phnom Penh are part of what was known as the S-21 prison camp. Tens of thousands were murdered here by Pol Pot’s Khymer Rouge for no reason other than their ethnicity or perceived opposition to the regime. Visitors will find a memorial stupa that houses 8,985 skulls. Not only is that, but there are many other countless personal effects the victims were forced to leave behind before being led away to their execution.
· Border Crossing
The border crossing from Thailand into Cambodia is not far from the world-famous town of Pattaya. For backpackers, it offers a gateway to the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem which are considered by many to offer some of the best diving in Asia.
· Water Festival
This is another interesting fact about Cambodia. The Water Festival, also known as ‘Boun Bang Fai’ is celebrated in May or June. The festival is tied to the agricultural cycle and marks the end of the winter rice planting season. Moreover, It includes 3 days of parades, boat races and fireworks displays. A popular part of celebrations is lighting giant bamboo poles on fire which are then floated out into the center of rivers by groups of men holding onto ropes connected to one end of the pole.
Pros of Living in Cambodia as an Expat
Cambodia is generally a safe country. The crime rate is comparable to most European countries, and there are increasing efforts by the police force to crack down on bike thieves (which were anecdotally reported as being rampant).
However, the most dangerous thing in Cambodia is actually the traffic – with reckless driving, speeding through red lights, and very crowded streets. Most Cambodians are unaffected by the crime, but there are increasing reports of tourists being robbed or pick-pocketed in main cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. As always, however, exercise typical precautions at night, and don’t walk down dark alleys alone.
2. Expat Community
The expat community in Cambodia is a growing pool, and there are a lot of options to choose from regarding work. There are volunteers from various international organizations, NGOs, embassies etc. Also, English teachers have been increasing in number, ranging from full-time university lecturers to part-time private tutors.
There’s a lot of demand for teachers, and salaries are much better than in neighboring countries. In addition, there’s also a pool of expats that have been living in Cambodia for many years. This way, they can give useful information about the country and culture to those who wish to stay long-term.
Cambodian food is delicious, as mentioned earlier, and very cheap in price. There are 3 major national dishes: amok (fish in curry), poh piah (spring rolls) and lok lak which is made of either beef or chicken stir-fried with garlic, pepper, carrot & onion served on a bed of lettuce or cabbage are quite popular.
As it is a tropical country, Cambodia offers many outdoor activities for those who like to stay active. Some of the more common activities are visiting the various temples (Angkor Wat, Bayon etc), snorkeling at Sihanoukville, Kampot and other locations along the southern coast, rock climbing at Phnom Kulen and bouldering at Kracheh (close to Phnom Penh).
5. Cost of Living in Cambodia
Cambodia is an inexpensive country for expats, and in fact one of the cheapest in Southeast Asia when it comes to food, rent and general costs of living compared with Thailand or Vietnam. This way, you can easily relocate to the country, and live a good and healthy life without disturbance from third-party.
Cons of Living in Cambodia
Traffic in Cambodia is chaotic and dangerous. Aside from this fact, there’s reckless driving, speeding through red lights and very crowded streets. These factors has made Cambodia has some of the most terrifying traffic in the world. Roads are narrow, congested, and cars rarely obey stoplights.
There are no lane markers on many roads, so drivers just stay near the middle of the road to avoid any collisions that might occur when they all move at once. In this case, you need to be aware of motorcyclists, who zip in and out of traffic with almost no regard for their own or others’ safety. Meanwhile, they’re not easy to spot when you’re busy looking at the chaos that is Cambodian traffic.
Although there have been efforts by the government to reduce corruption in Cambodia, but it is still a major problem in the country. This is mostly due to an underpaid police force which relies on unofficial payments from motorists when they are stopped for traffic violations
Pollution is another problem of living in this country as an expat. Cambodia has some of the worst pollution in the world. In fact, vehicles spew out smoke like chimneys and dust obscures your view on even a clear day.
If you want to get to the top positions in the world, it’s quite essential to have a volunteer experience. Notwithstanding, some companies might require a skills, but working as a volunteer could build up a relevant skills as well. In Cambodia, there are many things to explore, that’s why reading this article could be of help. Nonetheless, refer to this platform for more information about Cambodia.