Located close to the countries like Thailand or Malaysia which attract millions of tourists every year Cambodia is trying hard to build its reputation of an attractive tourist destination.
Cambodia and first of all the Cambodians have suffered a lot under the regime of Khmer Rouge and their leader Pol-Pot between 1975-1979. During the period of 4 years Khmer Rouge exterminated some 25% of the country`s population and distroyed many historical and cultural landmarks of the country.
Following Vietnamese intervention in the 1970s, the regime of Khmer Rouge has been overthrown and its army dispersed throughout the country spreading the terror and chaos over the next 20 years. This is why Cambodia – despite enormous effort of the nation – is one of the poorest and underdevelopped country in the region. This makes it very attractive to budget travellers, however those who are more demanding in terms of comfort will also find luxury hotels and resorts, still at much lower prices than in the neighbouring Thailand.
Country`s reputation is in focus of Cambodians, which is reflected in their frequent questions asking tourists about their level of satisfaction or simply requesting to recommend the country to family and friends. Even more, Foreign Ministry of Cambodia is sending you the birthday wishes if you applied for your visa online :-). Cambodians are very nice and not at all intrusive.
The commonly used currency in Cambodia is US Dollar. Be prepared to have a bunch of one-dollar notes with you to pay for tuk-tuk, snacks, groceries. Be gentle and delicate when asking about the recent history of the country. The memory about Pol-Pot’s crimes is still quite fresh and traumatic to many Cambodians. Meeting physically handicaped people in the street is more frequent than in other parts of the world. The average monthly salary for people with the knowledge of foreign languages is between 80 and 100 US dollars.