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Digital Magazine July - September., 2011

Paradise on Earth… Cambodia’s Beaches

Cambodia’s Tourism on the rise The Cambodian Economy Phnom Bokor National Park Battambang’s Bamboo Railway Take The Cambo Challenge And more...


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PUBLISHER’S NOTE Dear Readers, It’s hard to imagine anything that’s harder, more fun, and ultimately more satisfying, than completing the first 21 months of a new venture still standing. This issue of Cambodia Insight is our seventh quarterly publication. It’s been, as the Navy promises, not a job but an adventure. Heartfelt thanks to our many readers. You’ve proven again and again that you’ll visit an online publication. We appreciate your attention, as well as your comments and suggestions. Every one of them was read, and many adopted. We’re grateful. Heartfelt thanks, too, to our advertisers. We don’t charge our many readers, and your generous support has made this possible. We hope that your business has benefited from the attention your ads garnered both locally and internationally. We’re grateful.

As we look ahead to 2012, we’re encouraged that we’ve weathered the initial growing pains and can focus now even more on producing the leading publication about Cambodian life, business, culture, and especially responsible tourism. What will future issues bring? We’ll continue to spotlight the growing numbers of visitors and investors, the important role of investment from China and Korea, relations with our neighbors Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. And most of all we’ll continue to bring to our readers the wonders of the Land of Wonders, our adopted home. As always, your readership, your advertising support, and your comments will help us make this the leading publication of its kind on the internet. We’re truly grateful. Sincerely,

Heartfelt thanks, as well, to our contributors. You’ve supplied us with interesting – indeed fascinating – insights into this Land of Wonder and its warm, welcoming people. The quality of your work shone brightly. We’re grateful. Heartfelt thanks, finally, to our staff. You’ve worked tirelessly and without complaint under the pressures of deadlines. You’ve brought creativity to Cambodia Insight, along with a full measure of talent, hard work and good spirits. We’re grateful. 4

Charles R. Evans, Publisher Tel: +855 (0) 63.969.200 Fax: 63.969.201 H/P: 017.906.721 Charles@CorporateMarketingIntl.com

JAN - MARCH, 2011


CONTENTS

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Paradise on Earth...Cambodia’s Beaches

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The Cambodian Economy

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Phnom Bokor National Park

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History of Phnom Penh

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The Cambodia King’s Palace

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Battambang’s Bamboo Railway

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Kingdom of Cambodia

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Cambodia’s Tourism on the rise

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Cambodian Challenge

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Map

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Victoria Angkor Hotel

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A Quarterly Magazine on Business, Economy, Tourism, Culture and Society in English for Cambodia. Founded in Siem Reap City in January, 2010 by Evans Marketing Charles R. Evans Don Finck Don Finck Kanyapat Evans Savuth Sao Atchariya Priabnan Seriya Chan Bunleab Hong Mookda Jamsai Eric Larbouillat Peter Richards

Publisher and Managing Director Editor - in - Chief Senior Creative Director Creative Director Manager, Graphic Design & Print Production Graphic & Web Design Sr. Webmaster & Programmer Jr. Webmaster & Programmer Production Assistant Sales Executive Thailand Bureau Chief

Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co. Ltd., Wat Damnak Village, 0453 Sala Kam Reuk Commune, Group 4, Siem Reap - Angkor, 17000, Kingdom of Cambodia Tel: +855 (0) 63.969.200/201 Fax: +855 (0) 63.969.201. Advertising & Subscriptions E-Mail: Advertising@CambodiaInsight.com E-Mail: Subscription@CambodiaInsight.com @ Copyright Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. The name Cambodia Insight.com, in either English or Khmer languages, its associated logos or devices and the contents of this publication and website may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in print or electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission of Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. Cambodia Insight.com is a wholly owned publication and website of Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. Licensed by the Ministry of Information. Although every care has been taken in the production of this magazine and website, no responsibility for errors or liability is assumed through the use of the information contained herein. Cambodia Insight.com is an independent publication dedicated to providing our readers with informative content presented in a positive light helping to boost business investment, tourism, cultural awareness and the image of the country.

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INDEPENDENCE BEACH Independence Beach was named after the Independence hotel. Although used by weekenders it is less crowded than the other beaches. Long and narrow this beach is better at low tide. The northwest end is better because it’s wider there. A seafood

restaurant and fresh water lake can be found there but don’t swim there as you might meet an old crocodile. A grassy park with many kinds of statues is there for your relaxation as well as a few monkeys along the road to the Independence hotel.

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VICTORY BEACH Victory Beach is divided by a rocky point. The southern beach (shown) is also known as “Hawaii Beach” and is home to a good seafood restaurant and a lot of peaceful sand. The northern side is where the shipping port and a park are located. A great place to watch the big ships come and go. Budget bungalows & restaurants can be found close by.

SIHANOUKVILLE MOUNTAIN This 132m peak offers a spectacular view of the city, the islands and the beaches from Otres to the port. Take Rte 4 about 2.5km north of town. Make a right turn at the brewery and follow the road up the hill, about 200m past the pagoda. Walk out on the rocks. Excellent sunset spot.

SOKHA BEACH Sokha Beach is the most popular beach. It is a high quality beach with many facilities available. So wide that even at high tide it can be enjoyed. Grass and shade from the palm trees will add to your enjoyment. The southern end which is a short walk offers a rocky point which you may do some snorkeling and even staying dry you might see some marine life at low tide.

OCHHEUTEAL BEACH Ochheuteal Beach is developed at one end and quite and peaceful on the other end of this long and narrow beach. Many nice hotels can be found on the developed end along with some great seafood restaurants. Sand fleas can sometimes be a problem so bring some repellent just in case. There are some decaying old buildings that are worth a look at the quiet end of this beautiful beach.

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THE CAMBODIAN ECONOMY

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ECONOMY

INDOCHINA ROAD LINKS FUNDED BY THE JAPANESE

asphalt road on both sides of the bridge, with funding provided by Japan, Mr. Phetmixay told Vientiane Times . The new bridge and road on either side will be finished within 24 months from the start of construction. The distance from the Xekhaman bridge to the border with Cambodia is about 90km. “We can’t say when the asphalt road reaching Cambodia will be finished, but we have acquired funding from Japan to continue building a further 19km of road,” he added. Laying asphalt on roads is quite expensive, with 1 km costing around US$800,000, he said. Attapeu province borders Vietnam and Cambodia and has five districts: Xaysettha, Samakkhixay, Sanamxay, Sanxay, and Phouvong.

T

he triangle of land where the Lao, Vietnamese and Cambodian borders meet is experiencing rapid development as the three countries work to improve transport links. The Lao part of the development triangle is located in Attapeu province in southern Laos.

Samakkhixay district of the province which will eventually link to Vietnam and Cambodia through Phouvong district.

Sanxay and Phouvong districts are considered to be amongst the poorest in the country, with a lack of basic infrastructure, especially roads and electricity.

The province is spending US$5.6 million to build a bridge across the Xekhaman River, as well as three kilometres of

An asphalt road connecting Attapeu to Vietnam was built a few years ago, but there is no road access to Cambodia.

“The development triangle is receiving funding assistance from the Japanese government,” he pointed out. In Laos, construction has started on a road in the JULY - SEPTEMBER, 2011

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ECONOMY

Only Champassak province currently has a road link to Cambodia. As part of development plans to take the province out of poverty by 2020, work on a road link between Attapeu and Cambodia has started. A planned motorway between Attapeu and Vietnam,

passing through Phouvong district, is currently under construction, with surveying and design for some sections also ongoing. Road access from the provincial capital to the border area of Phouvong district is restricted during the wet season, as vehicles often can’t cross

rivers because ferry services are frequently halted due to strong currents. Once complete, the road will help reduce poverty because people will have better access to markets in both Laos and Cambodia where they can sell their agricultural produce and handicrafts.

Cambodia receives 813 new companies in Q1

C

ambodia’s Ministry of Commerce reported it has issued operating licenses to 813 new comp ani e s i n t he first quarter of this year, up 48 percent from 549 companies at the same period last year. Of the number, 99 companies are owned by Chinese, 90 firms by South Koreans, 90 by Vietnamese, 16 by Malaysians, 12 by Thais, and the rest owned by local business people.

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Most of foreign - owned companies are dealing with agro - business, culture, tourism, IT and mining, said Hum Hean, director of the Ministry’s business registration department. He added that the increase of business registrations in Q1 was due to globally economic recovery after the crisis, Cambodia’s political stability with favorable laws and regulations. JULY - SEPTEMBER, 2011

“For practical example, we see that despite deadly clashes between Cambodia and Thailand over the border dispute, Thai firms have still opened their shops in Cambodia,” he said, adding “this reflects their confidence in Cambodia’s laws and business environment.” In 2010, the ministry had issued licenses to 2,572 new businesses, up from 2,003 in 2009a rise of 28 percent.


ECONOMY

Cambodia’s inflation to hit 6 pct due to soaring oil, food prices: UN survey

January, while the U.S. dollar currency has depreciated about one percent to 4,020 riels against one U.S. dollar now from 4,060 riels against one U.S. dollar earlier this year. The report stated that in a highly dollarized economy as Cambodia, a weaker dollar could mean a loss of purchasing power and higher imported inflation from neighboring countries whose currencies have strengthened against the dollar. About 90 percent of business transactions in Cambodia have been made in U.S dollars.

T

he inflation rate in Cambodia for 2011 could rise to 6 percent, up from 4.1 percent last year due to the increasing prices of food, oil and a weaker U.S. dollar currency, said the United Nations in its economic and social survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011.

Monetary Fund, but higher than the World Bank forecast at 5 percent, the Asian Development Bank at 5.5 percent and the government of Cambodia at below 5 percent.

The UN’s inflation forecast is still lower than that of 6.5 percent by the International

Now a liter of Gold gasoline goes for 1.36 U.S. dollars, up from 1.25 U.S. dollars in

Petroleum prices in Cambodia have increased by 11 percent since the start of the year.

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The UN predicts that Cambodia’s gross domestic product growth ( GDP) this year is 6.2 percent, lower than the forecasts of IMF, WB and ADB at all 6.5 percent, while the government of Cambodia at between 6 - 7 percent. The country’s growth is still driven by garment exports, tourism and agriculture, it added.

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ECONOMY

Cambodia’s exports of rubber latex up 66 pct in Q1

C

ambodia has seen a 66 percent rise in the exports of rubber latex in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, showed the figure from Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.

The figure recorded that from January to March this year, the country had exported a total 11,821 tons of rubber latex with the total revenues of 55 million U.S. dollars, up 66 percent from 7, 129 tons with the revenues of 18 million U.S. dollars in the same quarter last year.

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A ton of rubber latex is 5,450 U.S. dollars now, up from only 2, 000 U.S. dollars at this time last year, Mok Kim Hong, the president of the Chub Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham province. “Soaring oil price is the main factor that fuels the rising of rubber price,” he said. “The price hike is an impetus for Cambodian farmers to plant more rubber trees.” Cambodia’s rubber latex has been exported to Malaysia, Singapore, and China, and some European countries.

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Currently, the country has 181,450 hectares of rubber plantations, most of them are young crops, which have not yet yielded. Vietnam is the leading country investing in rubber plantations in Cambodia. It has received up to 100,000 hectares in land concessions in September 2009 from Cambodian government to grow this crop. Rubber plantations are found grown mostly in the provinces of Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Kratie and Preah Vihear.


ECONOMY

Cambodia imports 42 pct of electricity from neighboring nations

E

ven though Cambodia has increased its power supply capacity, this country still imported 42 percent of all electricity supply to the country in 2010, according to a government’s report. The report, filed by Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, showed that in 2010, Cambodia imported about 42 percent of electricity from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam with total capacity of about 225 MW. The amount is increased about 40 percent compared to a year earlier. In 2010, the total electricity supply increased to 2,203.18 GWh within installed capacity of about 537 MW.

Cambodia has an electricity target of 70 percent to reach rural households by 2030 and 100 percent of electricity services to villages by 2020. According to the government’s overview of the power sector, it is estimated that the annual electricity demand growth rate in the country is 19 percent, while in the capital city of Phnom Penh, the demand growth rate is 25 percent. Among the three neighboring nations where electricity is imported from, Vietnam was providing the biggest amount which accounted for 67 percent, followed by Thailand at 32 percent and Laos PDR at 1 percent, the report indicated.

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Cambodia has a good potential of hydropower of about 10,000 MW. However, at present only about 10 percent of the potential resources are under construction. According to the report, the national electrification just reached to 20 percent, while in the household in urban areas were almost 100 percent electrified and only 12.3 percent of the total household in rural areas. Until recent years, Cambodia has been trying hard to encourage foreign investors to invest in power supply and as of now, companies from

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ECONOMY

China have been leading in building up hydropower plants in Cambodia with about 11 plants, both already operated and those under the construction. Other development partners in power and hydro power projects in Cambodia including companies from South Korea which stands at 6, one Russian company, one from Vietnam and the rest are from local investors. Up to date, still several millions of Cambodia’s more than 14 million populations are not yet accessed to power supply provided by the state, but relying on generators, batteries or other sources in their respective communities. Cambodia power strategy is to develop generation, transmission and power trade with neighboring countries not only for imports for short term, but exports in long term vision. The government’s policy is to try to exploit its available potential of hydropower to export more than 4,000 MW in the long term vision.

Cambodia’s export of garments up 45 pct. in Q1

C

ambodia has seen a 45 percent rise in garment exports in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday. From January to March, the country had exported garments and textiles in a total value of 976 million U.S. dollars, up 45 percent from 671 million U.S. dollars in the same period last year. The report said that the exports to the United States were up 26 percent to 522 million U.S. dollars, to the European

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countries up 77 percent to 258 million U.S. dollars, and to other countries up 72 percent to 196 million U.S. dollars. The garment industry represented more than 90 percent of Cambodia’s total exports. The sector has 262 garment factories employing 319,313 workers and 36 foot - wears factories with 56,643 workers. Last year, the country had exported a total worth of 3.4 billion U.S. dollars of garments and foot-wear products, up 27 percent from 2.67 billion U.S. dollars in a year earlier.


LET’S START OUR TRAVEL TO

CAMBODIA

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PHNOM BOKOR NATIONAL PARK

T

he most beautiful and most mystical natural park of Southeast Asia, it is, of course, Phnom Bokor. 140 thousand hectares of untouched mountain jungle, the biggest herd of wild elephants in Southeast Asia. Park Phnom Bokor is located in Elephant mountains, being a continuation of the Cardamom Mountains (Kravan). Most park Phnom Bokor point - mountain Kamtjaj is high (Bokor, Phnom on Khmer dictionary means - the mountain) has a height of 1077 meters above sea level and is the point second highest point in Cambodia. Once at the entrance to the park, virgin forests begin.

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National park Phnom Bokor, beginning somewhere with 250 meters, it is densely covered by almost impassable primary jungle, from a height of approximately, 910 meters all of park Bokor is covered by a rather equal plateau. Where there once lived a wild herd of elephants, there are now more than 100 individuals. Also in Phnom Bokor live tigers, foxes, the greatest set of snakes and others, certainly monkeys. On the top there is a Pagoda.

Here the old French aristocrats at the time of when Cambodia was the French colony, before You, the thrown casino of Bokor, a wall in magnificent safety earlier had a rest, protection is not present, full expanse for tourists. It is possible to climb on a roof and in a cellar.

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That single Pagoda is at a 1000 meter height under the sea line in Phnom Bokor

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So, at 15 kilometers, a streamer on mountain Bokor was designated to the thrown French city of a XVIII-th century look. Jolting in an o - road car throughout three hours not the most ordinary test.

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The thrown church on a grief Bokor national park of Cambodia Phnom Bokor.

The set of mountain falls, streams and small lakes covers a plateau with Phnom Bokor after a season of rains.

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Funny plants in Cambodia on Phnom Bokor, the flora and fauna of Cambodia is unique. JULY - SEPTEMBER, 2011

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HISTORY OF PHNOM PENH

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The origin of Phnom Penh’s name

L

ong ago in 1372 A.D., there was a wealthy elderly woman named Penh living near the banks of the four river fronts. Her house was built on a plateau east of a hill. One day, heavy rains flooded the area. Daun Penh (Grandma Penh) went down to the dock and saw a koki tree floating towards the river bank. The strong fronting tides kept the koki tree floating nearby that particular river bank. Immediately, Daun Penh called for her neighbors to help get the tree out of the river. They tied a rope to the tree and gradually pulled it out of the water.

While Daun Penh was wiping the mud off of the tree, she saw four Buddha bronze statues and a stone statue of Divinity in the hole of the tree trunk. The statue of Divinity was standing and held a bat in one hand and a conch shell in the other. Daun Penh and her neighbors were very happy to see those sacred objects and paraded them to Daun Penh’s house. She arranged to have a small hut built to temporarily house the statues. Later, Daun Penh called on her neighbors again for help to pile up more dirt on the hill west of her house. The koki tree was then cut and fashioned to become pillars of the temple which would be built on that hill. In 1372 A.D., Daun Penh and her neighbors all agreed to build a temple with a thatch roof on the hill. The four Buddha statues were placed in the temple, while the statue of Divinity was kept in a shrine at the east base of the mountain, for she thought that the statue was from Laos because of its appearance and name “Neakta Preah, Chao” which is what is has been called ever since.

Phnom Penh City was first built in the 15th century during King Preah Srey Soryopor’s (Ponhea Yat) time, when he abandoned Angkor Palace and built a new one at Tuol Basan in Srey Sar Chhor province, which is now called Srey Santhor district, Kampong Cham province. The king stayed there for only one year due to flooding every rainy season. He moved and built a new city along the bank of Tonle Chaktomuk in 1934, which is now Phnom Penh City today. There were two phases in the construction of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh City: Phase One: During King Preah Ponhea Yat’s reign in the 15th century. Phase Two: During King Norodom’s reign in the 19th century. There were two phases of construction because after Phase One (1434 – 1497), the king’s palace was moved back to Angkor. After it was built in Angkor, it was then moved to Pursat, then Boaribo, next to Longvek, and then Oudong. After Oudong, the Palace was built again in Phnom Penh City in 1865 and has stayed there ever since. Phnom Penh during Pol Pot Regime, When the Khmer Rouge Regime took place on April 17, 1975, people were forcefully evacuated out of the city. Infrastructure was seriously destroyed and within 3 years, 8 months and 20 days, Phnom Penh was a ghost city. After liberation day, January 7, 1979, people returned to their normal lives. The authorities and the people altogether endeavored to protect the nation from falling into the genocidal regime again, to restore the country, and got over many difficulties to improve the image of Phnom Penh according to the development trend of the nation.

After the temple was built, Daun Penh invited monks to stay at the base of that hill. Since then, it was been called Wat Phnom Daun Penh, also presently known as Wat Phnom. JULY - SEPTEMBER, 2011

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Phnom Penh Today With booming economic growth seen since the 1990s, new shops have opened as well as western - style malls such as Sorya Shopping Center and the new Sovanna Shopping Center. Two international franchises have also opened up in Phnom Penh. Dairy Queen has already opened up inside Phnom Penh International Airport and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has opened up a restaurant on Monivong Boulevard and plans to open more. The same company that opened up KFC in Cambodia has now obtained franchise rights to open Pizza Hut in the country. In addition, Swensen’s ice cream was opened in Sorya Shopping Center, also Pubs, Bars restaurant western style all around river side. The Central market Phsar Thmei is a major tourist hot spot. The four wings of the yellow colored market are teeming with numerous stalls selling gold and silver jewellery, antique coins, clothing, clocks, flowers, food, fabrics and shoes. Phsar Thmei is also going under a major renovation project, with fresh paint on the exterior and interior, and the creation of newer stalls. People who always have a smile for you.

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Camb dia Business Investment

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A BUSINESS IN CAMBODIA Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200 H/P : +855 (0) 17.906.721 T/F : +855 (0) 63.969.201 Charles@CorporateMarketingIntl.com www. CambodiaBusinessInvestment.com APRIL - JUNE, 2011

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THE CAMBODIA KING’S PALACE

T

he establishment of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh in 1866 is a comparatively recent event in the history of the Khmer and Cambodia. The seat of Khmer power in the region rested at or near Angkor north of the Great Tonle Sap Lake from 802 AD until the early 15th century. After the Khmer court moved from Angkor in the 15th century, it first settled in Phnom Penh which back then named as Krong Chatomok Serei Mongkol in 1434 (or 1446) and stayed for some decades, but by 1494 had moved on to Basan, and later Longvek and then Oudong. The capital did not return to Phnom Penh until the 19th century and there is no record or remnants of any Royal Palace in Phnom Penh prior to the 19th century. In 1813, King Ang Chan (1796–1834) constructed Banteay Kev (the ‘Cristal Citadel’) on the site of the current Royal Palace and stayed there very briefly before moving to Oudong.

Banteay Kev was burned in 1834 when the retreating Siamese army razed Phnom Penh. It was not until after the implementation of the French Protectorate in Cambodia in 1863 that the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh, and the current Royal Palace was founded and constructed. At the time that King Norodom (1860 - 1904) signed the Treaty of Protection with France in 1863, the capital of Cambodia resided at Oudong, about 45 kilometers northeast of Phnom Penh. Earlier in 1863 a temporary wooden Palace was constructed a bit north of the current Palace site in Phnom Penh.

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The first Royal Palace to be built at the present location was designed by architect Neak Okhna Tepnimith Mak and constructed by the French Protectorate in 1866. That same year, King Norodom moved the Royal court from Oudong to the new Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and the city became the oďŹƒcial capital of Cambodia the following year.

1912), and from 1913-1919 demolishing several old buildings, and replacing and expanding the old Chanchhaya Pavilion and the Throne Hall with the current structures.

Over the next decade several buildings and houses were added, many of which have since been demolished and replaced, including an early Chanchhaya Pavilion and Throne Hall (1870).

These buildings employ traditional Khmer artistic style and Angkorian inspired design, particularly in the Throne Hall, though some European elements remain.

The Royal court was installed permanently at the new Royal Palace in 1871 and the walls surrounding the grounds were raised in 1873.

The next major construction came in the 1930s under King Monivong with the addition of the Royal Chapel, Vihear Suor (1930), and the demolition and replacement of the old Royal residence with the Khemarin Palace (1931), which serves as the Royal residence to this day.

Many of the buildings of the Royal Palace, particularly of this period, were constructed using traditional Khmer architectural and artistic style but also incorporating significant European features and design as well. One of the most unique surviving structures from this period is the Napoleon Pavilion which was a gift from France in 1876. King Sisowath (1904–1927) made several major contributions to the current Royal Palace, adding the Phochani Hall in 1907 (inaugurated in 36

The only other significant additions since have been the 1956 addition of the Villa Kantha Bopha to accommodate foreign guests and the 1953 construction of the Damnak Chan originally installed to house the High Council of the Throne. The complex is divided by walls into three main compounds, on the north side is the

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Silver Pagoda, to the south side is the Khemarin Palace and the central compound contains the Throne Hall. The buildings of the palace were built gradually overtime, and some were dismantled and rebuilt as late as the 1960s. But some old buildings dates back to the 14th century. The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a good example of classic Khmer architecture found in Khmer today with its layout of the

Phochani Pavilion

defensive wall (kampaeng), throne hall (preah tineang), Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas (chedei), towering spires (prang prasat) and mural paintings. The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh covers an area of 174,870 square metres (402m x 435m). Most of the Palace grounds and Silver Pagoda are open to the public. Enter from the gate on Sothearos Blvd. about 100 meters north of Street 240. Guide pamphlets and tour guides are available near the admission booth. Guided tours are recommended. Multi-lingual tour guides available.

Open every day, 7:30 - 11:00 / 2:00 - 5:00. The Palace grounds are closed during oďŹƒcial functions.

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BAMBOO RAILWAYS BATTAMBANG

B

attambang is Cambodia’s second most populous city, and a popular tourist destination due to the many nearby ancient temples, Buddhist shrines and the infamous bamboo railway.

It is also the capital city of the Battambang province. One of the celebrated of Battambang is The Bamboo Railways. Despite the long civil war and the reign of terror by the Khmer Rouge, the 1930s railway tracks around Battambang are surprisingly still pretty usable. However, the train service is almost non - operational save for a token once a week service

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between Phnom Penh and Battambang. It does the 280 km. journey in a slow and woeful 14 hours. Trust the strong survival instinct of the Cambodians to take matters into their own hands and create their own local train system. Consisting of two post - war axles, a bamboo structure measuring 4 x 2m and powered by a small generator motor on fan belt, the bamboo train is marvelously simple. For passenger comfort, the bamboo platform is covered with rice mats and a couple of pillows. But hang on as the ride is not all smooth sailing.


Some parts of the line are warped, and even a bit broken. The excitement builds up when another bamboo train suddenly appears on your same track. Our alert driver simply cuts the power and the “train” slows down very quickly. One minute is all it takes to lift the structure and remove the axles from the track, simply amazing.Seems that the one with the most passengers gets the right of way. Fair enough! No fuss or fighting, lots of goodwill and understanding, and everyone seemed happy. The fresh country air does bring the best out of people.

A trip to the train can be booked in most hotels or arranged with a motorbike /tuk - tuk driver. Currently it is regulated by Battambang’s Tourist Police, with a standard rate of US$5. /person, minimum 2 people for one trip or US$10 if only one person, (with discounts for larger groups) It is worthwhile to ask the driver to stop at scenic places. A ride on the Bamboo Railways of Battambang is a must - do for anyone visiting this charming provincial Cambodian town. Zipping around the beautiful countryside.

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KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

K

ingdom of Cambodia, formerly known as Kampuchea, is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of over 13 million people, with Phnom Penh being the capital city. Cambodia is the successor state of the once powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.

A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as “Cambodian” or “Khmer,” the latter of which strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes. The country borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong river (colloquial Khmer: Tonle Thom or “the great river”) and the Tonle Sap (“the fresh water lake”), an important source of fish. Much of Cambodia sits near sea level, and consequently the Tonle Sap River reverses its water flow in the wet season, carrying water from the Mekong back into the Tonle Sap Lake and surrounding flood plain. Cambodia’s main industries are garments and tourism. In 2006, foreign visitors had surpassed the 1.7 million mark. In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia’s territorial water, and once commercial extraction begins in 2009 or early 2010, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia’s economy.

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Map of Cambodia The first advanced civilizations in present-day Cambodia appeared in the 1st millennium AD. During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in what is now present - day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. These states, which are assumed by most scholars to have been Khmer, had close relations with China and India. Their collapse was followed by the rise of the Khmer Empire, a civilization which flourished in the area from the 9th century to the 13th century. The Khmer Empire declined yet remained powerful in the region until the 15th century. The empire’s center of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire’s zenith. Angkor Wat, the

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most famous and best-preserved religious temple at the site, is a reminder of Cambodia’s past as a major regional power. After a long series of wars with neighbouring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Thai and abandoned in 1432. The court moved the capital to Lovek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. The attempt was short-lived, however, as continued wars with the Thai and Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and the conquering of Lovek in 1594. During the next three centuries, The Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Thai and Vietnamese kings, with short-lived periods of relative independence between.

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People of Cambodia Cambodia is ethnically homogeneous. More than 90% of its population is of Khmer origin and speaks the Khmer language, the country’s official language. The remainder include Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham, Khmer Loeu, and Indians. The Khmer language is a member of the Mon - Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic language group. French, once the lingua franca of Indochina and still spoken by some, mostly older Cambodians as a second language, remains the language of instruction in various schools and universities that are often funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country’s colonial past, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is frequently used in government. However, in recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the business - class have favoured learning English. In the major cities and tourist centers, English is widely spoken and taught at a large number of schools due to the overwhelming number of tourists from English - speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts, however, most young people speak at least some English, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated.

The dominant religion Theravada Buddhism (95%) was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge but has since experienced a revival. Islam (3%) and Christianity (2%) are also practiced. Civil war and its aftermath have had a marked effect on the Cambodian population. The median age is 20.6 years, with more than 50% of the population younger than 25. At 0.95 males/female, Cambodia has the most female - biased sex ratio in the Greater Mekong Subregion. In the Cambodian population over 65, the female to male ratio is 1.6:1. UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most mined country in the world,[24] attributing over 60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since 1970 to the unexploded landmines left behind in rural areas. The majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in the fields. Adults that survive landmines often require amputation of one or more limbs and have to resort to begging for survival. In 2006, the number of landmines casualties in Cambodia took a sharp decrease of more than 50% compared to 2005, with the number of landmines victims down from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006.

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JULY - SEPTEMBER, 2011


CAMBODIA Q1

TOURIST ARRIVALS UP

C

ambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, Statistics and ICT Department reported, that international arrivals for the first quarter of this year grew 13.9% from 683,692 to 778,467 trips. Neighbouring Vietnam was the top supplier mainly through overland checkpoints. Out of 778,467 visits recorded, 735,132 were categorised under leisure travel and just 35,605 businesses and the balance 7,730 for other travel purposes. Asia accounted for 63.57% or 494,862 arrivals. ASEAN and East Asia were the largest subregion suppliers - 235,409 (+10.3%) and 252,063 (+20%) respectively. South Asia, western Asia and the Middle East were still new markets for Cambodia with only 1,217 (+12.9%), 379 and 3,023 (+0.5%) arrivals respectively. Europe produced 180,672 arrivals, mostly (72.73%) from West Europe and Scandinavia (131,399, +3.68%), while East Europe supplied 18.96% (34,260, +74.8%) and South Europe, 7.35% (13,283, +11.4%). Visitors from Oceania increased 6.3% to reach 32,236, while the Americas grew 8.2% to 66,116 and Africa, rising 25.8% to 1,558. Vietnam was the top source market with 130,831 trips, a growth of 19.4% compared to the same quarter last year. Other top markets were: Korea (107,489, +27.9%): China (66,836, +36.6%); Japan (49,233, +2.1%); US (44,896, +3.5%); France (36,061, +9.2%); UK (31,975, -3%); Australia (28,493, +6.5%); Taiwan (27,136, -1.7%) and Thailand (26,824, -34%). From January to March, Cambodia substantial increases though the base was still small, from countries in eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East. Russia was up 118% to

24,823 followed by Turkey, up 73.3% to 1,114; Argentina, up 73.3% to 1,357; Colombia, up 194.5% to 1,119; Uruguay, up 209.7% to 96; Iran, up 65.8% to 189 and Saudi Arabia, up 157.1% to 18. Thailand usually an important market almost on par with Vietnam declined 34% due to border clashes. Declines were also registered in Afghanistan (-28.1%, 69); Bulgaria (-29.1%, 146); Romania (- 49.3%, 345); Cameroon (-29.7%, 97); Nigeria (-32.1%, 127); Sudan (-50%, 7) and Egypt (-50%, 36). Brunei, Cambodia plans direct air links to boost tourism. Outgoing Ambassador of Cambodia to Brunei Nan Sy (2nd L), attending to his invited guests during a farewell reception hosted by the Cambodian Embassy in the capital yesterday.

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BRUNEI, CAMBODIA

PLANS DIRECT AIR LINKS TO BOOST TOURISM BRUNEI and Cambodia are in talks of establishing direct air links to further boost both nation’s tourism sector and strengthen bilateral cooperation.

He added that while Brunei and Cambodia currently do not have direct flight arrangement, at the leadership level, the intention to establish the aviation pact had been expressed.

Establishing a direct flight to Cambodia will give Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), Brunei’s national air carrier, a big market advantage to lure its neighbouring Malaysian tourists to fly from the Sultanate, said the outgoing Ambassador of Cambodia to Brunei, Nan Sy, in an interview yesterday.

The ambassador said that Brunei’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah had given his support on the aforementioned arrangement.

He said that tourists residing in the Malaysian neighbouring states of Kuching, Miri and Labuan would have to fly to Kuala Lumpur to visit Cambodia as direct flights from these destinations were not available. “When we have direct flights from here, Brunei will have a big market,” he said. “If we do have direct flights, they (the neighbouring tourists) don’t have to fly to KL, they just have to come by car here and fly from Brunei to Phnom Penh, (Cambodia’s capital) for approximately 1hr and 45mins.”

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Sy added that Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen was also “ready to welcome RBA to Cambodia”. The outgoing ambassador shared that Cambodia is currently waiting for “Brunei’s technical side” to finalise the arrangement. If established, Sy said, the arrangement would also encourage a two-way traffic of tourists between the two countries. “Cambodian people would love to come to Brunei and visit the country as well, because it’s a peaceful country and the people are nice and have warm hospitality, and would like to witness the wealth of the country under the leadership of His Majesty.”

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“So when we do have direct flights I hope a lot of tourists would come to Brunei too. We wish to see it materialised as soon as possible.” The two pillars of Cambodia’s newly-stable economy are textiles and tourism. The tourism industry has grown rapidly with over 1.7 million visitors arriving in 2006 and 2.0 million in 2007. Meanwhile, the Brunei Tourism Board, are setting their sights on a 20 per cent increase in tourist arrivals this year.

UAE direct flight push by tourism ministry THE United Arab Emirates will review beginning direct flights between Dubai and Phnom Penh, according to Minister of Tourism Thong Khon. The minister spent much of last week in Dubai, where Dubai Civil Aviation Authority President and Chairman of Emirates Airline Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum pledged to review a 2005 Memorandum of Understand to establish the flights, he said yesterday. “They will review their MoU with us again, in order to push direct flights from Dubai to Cambodia as soon as possible,” he said, but declined to provide a timeline for the flights. While direct flights would boost tourism, Thong Khon said that UAE-based firms were interested in business opportunities in the

Kingdom, which would be facilitated by direct flights. “[The UAE] is preparing to cooperate on trade and investment with Cambodia. UAE-based companies plan to buy rice, rubber, fruit and lumber from Cambodia,” he said. Representatives from the UAE are to travel to Cambodia to study the opportunities in more detail. Cambodian Association of Travel Agents President Ang Kim Eang said yesterday he welcomed direct flights from the UAE. A number of countries have recently begun direct flights to Cambodia, including Air France, which resumed flights between Paris and Phnom Penh on March 31 after a 37 year hiatus.

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TAKE THE CAMBO CHALLENGE

L

ARGE Minority is teaming with local NGO, Mlup Baitong, to organize the 2nd Cambo Challenge, an 11 - day tuk - tuk odyssey on 6 - 17 November 2011, over 1,450 kilometers throughout central and eastern Cambodia, with 10% of the proceeds earmarked for LARGE Minority’s flagship project: the Water Supply Pipeline System. State-of-the-art tuk-tuk comes fully equipped for the long journey From 6-17th November 2011, intrepid travelers from around the world will traverse over 1,450 kilometers of challenging terrain on traditional tuk tuks.

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conceived and organized the event, said, “Following our 2010 success, it is only natural to carry on our legacy and continue our meaningful adventure. We hope to once again captivate the world through our responsible tourism initiatives.” Mr. Carnall added, “We are very excited to bring back the Cambo Challenge to this beautiful nation and its kind people. We are confident that this fresh, one of a kind, socially responsible and eco - minded event will continue to be a sound success and bring positive change to the local communities.”

The 11-day journey will give teams of two or three a close up and personal experience of some of the most fascinating historical sites and natural delights of the “Kingdom of Wonder”, while raising funds for social and environmental projects.

The event, which is endorsed and supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, expects to attract 20 international teams for the 2011 edition of the Cambo Challenge.

Co - Founder and Organizer of LARGE Minority Juan Paredes, who along with Julian Carnall

LARGE Minority said 10% of the event’s sponsorship agreements and each team’s entry fee of between USD 3,300 and USD 4,800 will

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be allocated to this organization in order to finance the water pipeline project for the Chambok Community. The project, which is organized in partnership with the local NGO, Mlup Baitong, will provide fresh drinking water for three villages and more than 1,000 people from the Chambok community in the Kampong Speu province. LARGE minority is also encouraging each Cambo Challenge team raise at least USD 1,000. “The additional funds raised by teams can be used for their preferred charities in or out of Cambodia, or can be added to our total. It is very rewarding to witness how a collaborative effort can make a change,” Mr Carnall said.

About Large Minority LARGE Minority is a fresh tourism movement which specializes in the organization of meaningful events and travel experiences such as the Lanka Challenge and Cambo Challenge. The company incorporates philanthropic projects and eco - friendly initiatives throughout its products, which also intend to promote the destination and give back to the local community.

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Camb dia Insight

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V I C T O R I A

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Cambodia-Insight-Issue-7_19-11-2011_updated  

Cambodia magazine, Magazine Cambodia, Online Article All about people, traditions, culture, economy, history, archaeology, tourism, investme...

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