The Cambodian people are among the most resilient on the plant. Even though they have had to endure a long spell of poverty and tortuous war years, they are still welcoming, friendly and courteous. A Cambodia tour package is a great way to really appreciate the true charms of this country.
The official language in Cambodia is Khmer which is used by the vast majority of the country. But, there are also a few other dialects heard, such as those related to the hill tribes, Chinese and Vietnamese. Khmer is a type of non-tonal language which makes it different to China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. The Khmer language has also picked up a lot of terms from the European and Chinese languages, with most coming from the French. This inclusion of western terms (mostly related to commerce, business and technology) has resulted from the increase in interaction with outside countries.
The origins of the Khmer’s written language are believed to be taken from a type of South Indian alphabet (Pali and Sanskrit). It consists of diacritic markers, twelve independent vowels, twenty-four dependent vowels and thirty-three consonants. Nearly 50% of the people in Cambodia are said to be literate.
Population and People
The Cambodia population stands in the region of 13 million people with an estimated 90% made up of local Khmer people. Other groups in the country include the various ethnic hill tribes, Burmese, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese. The majority of these groups are located in the mountainous regions of the country in the north or southwest. The country has nearly 60,000 ethnolinguistic minorities throughout the remote regions, including the Pnong in Mondulkiri and Jarai and Kreung in Ratanakiri.
Nearly 80% of the Khmer people make up the agricultural workers which are a common sight while visiting the countryside on the Cambodia family tour; the majority of the Chinese and Vietnamese control the business sector. The local Khmer people subsist on rice and fish and build a village district with 200-300 people in place. Other activities include metalworking, pottery making and weaving. Most of the Khmer houses make use of the nuclear family (occasionally other relatives may live in the same property) with homes constructed in concrete or wood and include gabled roofs.
Elsewhere, the Cham Muslims in the country are mostly active in the country’s fishing activities.
Beyond the Khmer that live within the borders of Cambodia, they have also taken up residence in neighbouring countries like Vietnam (southern region of the Mekong River delta) and Thailand (south-eastern region).
Also, the majority of the urban population is located in two major areas: the province of Battambang or the capital city of Phnom Penh.
The Khmer people follow the state religion of Theravada Buddhism, which first arrived in the country during the prosperous Angkor kingdom period. For hundreds of years, the educated people were limited to the monks who took on the role of teachers. Theravada Buddhism has two variations: the Mohanikay and the Thammayut with both of these religions easily co-existing with one another.
Buddhism arrived in the 7th century with the Cambodian people soon taking on this new form of religion. In time it was adopted as the state religion and nearly 90% of the locals are now recognized as Buddhists. This religion can have a significant impact on virtually all aspects of life, including the interaction and behavior of family members and the social moral standards.
The culture in Cambodia from its ancient times to its more modern status is continuing to be very welcoming to retirees, rewarding and intriguing. The country offers a friendly and unique culture that puts a very heavy emphasis on family cohesion and unity, while also having an interest in the latest developments of the west.
The lifestyle that is likely to be noticed on the Cambodia holidays is one that is traditional and very old fashioned – although there are plenty of signs that the country is growing increasingly modern. In the major cities, such as Phnom Penh the growth of Western-style shopping malls are seen while also creating a culture that is quite similar to the Western world some 30-40 years ago.
Family plays a key role in the Cambodian’s life with many looking to marry quite early and start their own family. For the living arrangements, most of the young people will continue to stay at home in their 20s/30s, and only set up their own home once married.
Respect for the elder generation is an important part of life in Cambodia. The local people make sure to respect their elders and peers. Also, it is regarded as inappropriate and vulgar to attempt to publicly embarrass another person.
Making a living
The Cambodian people mostly make their living by working in industries like garment production, tourism and agriculture. Elsewhere, there are the city jobs with urban centers like Phnom Penh, as well as world relief organizations and government agencies. According to the World Food Program, the economy in Cambodia is starting to see significant growth in recent years.
A major reason for the growth in the economy is the increased tourism trade and greater production of garments. An estimated 80% of the country’s exports are made up by garment production, which means there a plenty of jobs in this area. Tourism is also popular with a lot of promotion given to help increase the foot traffic in this country. Jobs related to tourism include hotel staff members, bartenders, chefs, tour guides and tour bus drivers. An English speaking tour guide is well worth using when touring the historic sites on the Cambodia private tour because it makes it possible to learn so much more about the relics or temples being explored.
In rural Cambodia the major way to make a living continues to be agriculture. The locals rely on rice as the staple food source with this type of food making up nearly 68% of the daily caloric intake. Other standard components of the Cambodian diet are fruit, vegetables, tubers, meat and fish.