About Cambodia

Holidays & Festivals In Cambodia

Water festival in Phnom Penh

The “Kingdom of Wonder” never ceases to amaze. There are so many cultural events and festivals, you are bound to soak up the atmosphere of some of them while you travel in the region. Better yet, you can plan your travels to make sure you’re here for them! Here’s a list of official public holidays and major festivals to note:

Date Holiday Comments
January 01 International New Year Day Celebrates the beginning of the Gregorian New Year
January 07 Victory over Genocide Day Marks the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979
February 03 Meak Bochea Day Date varies depending on the lunar cycle
March 09 International Women’s Day (observed)  
April 14 Khmer New Year Day First day of Cambodian New Year
April 15 Khmer New Year Holiday Second day of Cambodian New Year
April 16 Khmer New Year Holiday Third day of Cambodian New Year
May 01 International Labour Day Established to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers
May 03 Visak Bochea Day Birth of Buddha
May 04 Visak Bochea Holiday  
May 07 Royal Plowing Ceremony Marks the start of the planting season.
May 13 King’s Birthday HM King Norodom Sihamoni was born on May 14, 1953
May 14 King’s Birthday Holiday  
May 15 King’s Birthday Holiday  
June 01 Children’s Day International and Cambodian Children’s Day
June 18 Kings Mother Birthday Queen Mother Norodom Monineath was born on June 18, 1936.
September 24 Constitutional Day Celebrates the signing of the constitution in 1993
September 28 Ancestors Day A Buddhist holiday dedicated to honouring deceased relatives
September 29 Ancestors Day Holiday  
October 15 Commemoration Day of King’s Father HM Norodom Sihanouk died on 15 October 2012
October 23 Paris Peace Agreements Day Commemorates the Treaty of Paris on 23 October 1991
October 29 King’s Coronation Day Norodom Sihamoni’s coronation was on 29 October 2004
November 09 Independence Day Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953.
November 24 Water Festival Ceremony Boat racing festival to mark the annual change in the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers
November 25 Water Festival Ceremony Holiday  
November 26 Water Festival Ceremony Holiday  
December 10 International Human Rights Day Marks the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

About Cambodia

Quick History Lesson on Cambodia

Visiting Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Its more enriching to have an idea of the history of Cambodia as you travel. This is a quick walk down ‘history lane’ rather than a comprehensive history lesson 😉

  • Evidence of people living in this region dates back to dates in BC
  • Starting from around the 3rd century, tribes of peoples living back then combined to create the foundation of Cambodia we know today
  • The Khmer Empire has been influenced by India, China and even the Mongols over centuries
  • Buddhism became State religion (following God-King ruler ship/ Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism) in 1295
  • During the 12th century, the Khmer Empire with Angkor as its capital was the largest Empire in this region until the 15th century stretching a vast expanse including to the Mekong Delta
  • The following few centuries were not so bright for Cambodia as they were under strong influence and pressure from the Siamese (Thai) and Vietnamese. Pressure by Vietnamese caused Cambodia to seek stronger alliance with Thailand
  • In 1863 King Norodom (appointed by Thailand) sought French protection which lead to ‘giving’ Siem Reap and Battambang to the Thai’s (recovered again in 1906)
  • Independence from the French was gained in 1953 during reign of King Norodom Sihanouk
  • 1970 till 75 was a time of civil unrest largely impacted by the Vietnam war and the downfall of Sihanouk by a military coup which laid the grounds of the Khmer Rouge coming in power
  • From 1975 to 79 led by Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge reigned terror throughout the country. Senseless mass killings reduced the population in Phnom Penh to a ghost town of around 50,000
  • In 1978 in response to Khmer Rouge attacks on Vietnamese borders, the Vietnamese retaliated and the fall of the Khmer Rouge resulted.
  • After a few years of unstable governance, monarchy was re-established in 1993. However this was challenged again in 1997 by a coup d’etat led by Hun Sen leading to the constitutional monarchy arrangement it is today

About Cambodia

General Facts

Stone Carving Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Planning to come to Cambodia? here’s some basic information as background to help prepare.

Official Name: Kingdom of Cambodia (once known as the Khmer Empire)
Language: Khmer
National Flag:
Currency: Riel (KHR) – but USD widely accepted
Head of State: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (Hence there is a Monarch’ King Norodom Sihamoni and a Prime Minister’ Hun Sen)
Area: 181,100 sq km
Capital: Phnom Penh (meaning Penh’s Hill)
Population: 15+ million
States/Province: 25 provinces (which includes Phnom Penh)

More general information can be found on wiki.

About Cambodia

Learn Khmer

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There is nothing more exciting than learning a little bit of the local language and trying out your communication skills during your travels. You will not only take home with you memorable moments but also bring a smile to the face of those you interact with 🙂 Here’s some basic words to get you started.

Basic Conversation

English  Khmer
 Hello  Sursdey
 How are you?  Sohk sabay te?
 Thank you  Ah kun
 Please  Sohm
 Yes  Baat/ jas (male/ female)
 No  Tee
 What is the time?  Moang pun maan?
 How much is this?  Ter nis t’lay pun maan?
 What is your name?  Ter nak ch’hmos avey?
 Where is?  Nov eh naa?
 Good Morning  A run sursdey
 Good Night  Reatrey sursdey


Of Interest to Tourists:

 English  Khmer
 Bank  Thor nea kea
 Currency Exchange  Konleng pdo luy
 Pharmacy  Konleng luk thnam pet
 Grocery Store  Konleng luk kreung tes
 Shop  Hang
 Boat  Touk
 Bus  Lan Krong
 Station  Sthanny (eg bus station=Sthanny Lan Krong)
 Hospital  Mun ti pet
 Doctor  Krou pet
 Market  Phsa
 Toilet  Bang kun
 City Centre  Kadal krong
 Closed  Chit
 Open  Berk
 Camera  Masin thort

Numbers

 English  Khmer
 1  Muy
 2  Pii
 3  Bei
 4  Buan
 5  Bram
 6  Bram muy
 7  Bram pii
 8  Bram bei
 9  Bram buan
 10  Dawp
 11  Dawp  muy
 12  Dawp pii
 13  Dawp bei
 14  Dawp buan
 15  Dawp bram
 16  Dawp bram muy
 17  Dawp bram pii
 18  Dawp bram bei
 19  Dawp bram buan
 20  Ma phei
 30  Saam seb
 40  See seb
 50  Ha seb
 60  Hok seb
 70  Chet seb
 80  Pet seb
 90  Kaov seb
 100  Muy roy
 1000  Muy poan
 2000  Pipon
 100,000  Mouyesn
 1,000,000  Muy lian

Days of the Week

 English  Khmer
 Monday  th’ngai chan
 Tuesday  th’ngai angkea
 Wednesday  th’ngai phut
 Thursday  th’ngai prohors
 Friday  th’ngai sok
 Saturday  th’ngai saa
 Sunday  th’ngai a tit

About Cambodia

About Cambodia

Khmer Traditional Stone Carvings, Cambodia