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10 things you didn’t know about cambodia

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While Cambodia’s greatest claim to fame, the ancient Khmer civilisation and remaining Angkor complex is fascinating, the country has even more fun facts to share.

 

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1. Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure on Earth

The massive Angkor Wat complex holds the honour of being the world’s largest religious structure covering 1,626,000 square metres, or about 400 acres. Angkor Wat is so large that it’s more than double the size of the world’s second-largest religious complex, Sri Ranganathasvamy, a Hindu temple in India.

 

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2. Cambodia’s flag is the only one in the world with a building on it

While Cambodia’s flag boasts popular colours of red, white and blue, it’s the only flag in the world to have a building on it – an outline of the illustrious Angkor Wat.

 

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3. Cambodia goes by many names

Known as the Kingdom of Cambodia in 1953, the country went through five name changes – such as The Khmer Republic and The People’s Republic of Kampuchea – as new reigns came into power only to return to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

 

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4. There is no McDonald’s in the country

Cambodia is one of the few countries in the world where McDonald’s hasn’t laid down roots. Oddly, the country does have a Burger King.

 

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5. Geckos can predict marriage

Many Cambodian locals believe that counting the chirps of a gecko will predict whether one will marry or not. It’s also considered good luck if a tokay gecko is in the same room and calls out seven or more times.

 

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6. Cambodian weddings go on for three days

Though the length of wedding celebrations depends on the families’ financial circumstances, the typical Cambodian wedding lasts for three days of festivities.

 

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7. Funerals can cost around USD 9,000 in Cambodia

Though the average monthly income in Cambodia is just over USD 100, Cambodian funerals can last up to 49 days with the average expenses coming out to USD 9,000. Proper funerals are incredibly important in this traditional country and families often must pool together savings to cover the cost of the funeral.

 

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8. Millions of active landmines are still scattered across the country

In the early 1990s, Cambodia was one of the most heavily mined countries in the world with an estimated 8 – 10 million landmines. It’s believed that there are still several million active mines buried throughout the country’s rural countryside that organisations are trying to detect and dismantle the explosives.

 

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9. The country is home to rare animal species

Once thought to be extinct in Cambodia, the Asian giant softshell turtle, also known as Cantor’s giant softshell turtle or the “frog-faced” turtle, is making a comeback in parts of the Mekong River. Also in the Mekong, you can find critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, which look like small beluga whales.

 

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10. The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia

Covering around 10,000 square kilometres during the rainy season, the unique freshwater lake shrinks to just 3,000 square kilometres in the dry season.  

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