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Kingdom of Cambodia or simply known as Cambodia is located in South East Asia. As shown in figure 1, it is surrounded by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The capital city is Phnom Penh which is located in the South. Cambodia has area of 181.035 square kilometers. Its size is about half of Germany.
Cambodia s flag is the only one in the world to have a picture of building represented on. The building is very well known in the name of Angkor Wat. Figure 2 represents the flag with three strips, two colors, and one building in the middle. Blue and red are used on the flag as they are traditional colors.
There are approximately 15 million (UN, 2010) people living in Cambodia which is only about 18% of German population. Majority of Cambodian, about 90%, are Khmers. Vietnamese is the second biggest group with the percentage of five. Chinese is the following one with one percentage and the rest is others.
Dressing style is similar to other countries nearby. Either cotton or silk shirt with short sleeves is worn by man, together with cotton trousers. Sarong is used by woman to wrap around her waist. It is a long fabric piece which is embellished with silver and gold threading. A scarf called krama is a Cambodian local wear. It is commonly used for multi-purpose such as baby carries, decoration, pillow covers, and drying a work day s sweat.
National currency of Cambodia is called riel (KHR; symbol CR). Figure 5 represents some of riel bank notes and coins. Bank notes are varied as follow: CR 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100 and 50. Coins are less varied as there are only CR 50, 100, 200 and 500. The inflation rate is very high but the cost of living is relatively low, compared to European countries. One dish costs about 4000 KHR and the exchange rate between EURO and KHR is about 5415 KHR per one EURO (rate at 16 January 2011). Therefore, one dish in Cambodia is not even one Euro. Another currency which is wildly used as well in Cambodia is US Dollar. In tourism attraction such as Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat, most of the price in goods and service are provided in US Dollar. Riel is used only for a small amount of paying, for example, buying bred.
Cambodian food has a lot in common with those from surrounding countries but one big different characteristic is much less in spicy. As same as other Asian countries, rice is served in almost every meal as main dish. The most popuplar Cambodian side dishes are Amok Fish and Lok-lak. Amok fish is made from fish with curry, vegeable, and coconut milk. It is cooked by stream and served with a dipping sauce. The traditional one is to be served with rice in banana leaf bowls, as presented in figure 6.
Another mentioned dish is Lok-lak which is a beef with vegetables cooked by stir fried in a lime and black pepper sauce. It is served with either onions or red onion. The dish is bedded by fresh vegetable such as lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Cambodia stir fried is differed from the Chinese one by having dipping sauce made with lime and pepper. Talking about snacks, one of the most famous ones for the adventurous in Northern Cambodia is crispy fried spiders. It is a local snacks and the whole body of spiders can be eaten.
A lot of tourism chooses to visit Cambodia because of its unique in architecture and nature. The most famous tourist attractions are Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Temple of Ta Phrom, and Mondulkiri. Angkor Wat, represent in figure 7, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built to be the state temple and capital city for King Suryavarman II, early 12th century. Since the national religion of Khmer was changed according to the king s religion, Angkor Wat had been changed for its purpose as well. The first one was to be the center of Hindu. Then, it became the dedicated place for Vishnu, the Supreme God in Vaishnavite traditional of Hindu. Finally, it has been changed to be the center of Buddhist until the present time. The building itself is constructed with stone and decorated by Khmer architecture with high classical style. It is said to contain even more stonework than the pyramids of Egypt.
Lao national currency is Kip (LAK; symbol ?). The bank notes are varies as follow: LAK 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. No coins are provided. Lao monetary is highly inflation. The exchange rate for EURO is 10370 LAK per one EURO (rate at 14 January 2011). One dish of food can be obtained for 10000 LAK. Large amount of purchase can be done by using US Dollar or Thai Baht in many areas.
Traditional Lao food are quite hot and spicy, might be too hot for foreigner. The main dish is sticky rice, Khao neo, which is also the symbol of Laos. Hands are normally used for eating this kind of rice. Tam maak houng or papaya salad is very famous as well. Papaya and other vegetables are mixed together. The original one can be very spicy for foreigners. Laap or meat salad is meat mix with some herb and can be very spicy as well. Another dish is Ping kai or barbeque chicken. All the mentioned four dishes are normally served together as one meal.
The most attractive points for Laos are its nature and culture. Recommended places are Vientiane, Pha That Luang, Luang Prabang, and Plain of Jars. Vientiane, as mentioned earlier, is the capital city of Laos. Being once a former French Indochinese state had brought this city through various complicated situations and conflicts. However, the pace of life found here is rather slow and laid-back. There are several interesting Buddhist monasteries for those who want to calm down your soul and for those who want to have an experience of bustling life, market is the place to go.