Marrying and Sponsoring a Cambodian Citizen

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Marriage to a Cambodian Citizen

Every country has laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to Cambodian citizens with the goal of eventually bringing them to Canada to live is a process with many steps. The Cambodian government imposes strict requirements on foreigners who marry Cambodians as an indirect way of discouraging Cambodian citizens from moving to other countries.

You must demonstrate to Cambodian officials that they are not currently married to anyone else – either you have never been married, or all divorces are finalized – that your identity is proven and that you have never committed any crimes in Cambodia. This is done by providing various documents, including an Affidavit of Single Status, to the Cambodian government either in Cambodia or via a Cambodian embassy.

If you want to bring your Cambodian spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Cambodian Marriage Basic Requirements

Time Requirement

Allow at least 31–52 days from arrival in Cambodia to wedding date to process paperwork (21 days of residency, 10 days before a wedding ceremony can proceed and an additional 3 weeks to post Intention to marry, unless a Certificate of No Impediment has been obtained previously in your home country). It is recommend that you give yourself more time due to preparations, weekends, holidays or unexpected delays.

Necessary legal documents:

Please note that all documents must be submitted in Cambodian (Khmer) or English. Contact the Embassy in your home country or your Embassy in Cambodia for an authorized translator.  If your documents are translated, be prepared to submit the original copies in your native language for verification as well as the translated version.

  • Certified copy of birth certificates
  • Valid Passports and certified copies (obtained from your Embassy in Cambodia or the Cambodian Embassy in your resident country)
  • Visas and photocopies
  • Certificate of No Impediment/Affidavit of Single Status
  • Affidavit of Marriage (sworn at the Civil Registry Office in Cambodia before the Consol or Vice-Consol)
  • Criminal Records
  • Certificate on Profession (showing monthly income)
  • Divorce or death certificates, if applicable
  • Medical Certificate from Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh
  • Marriage Application Form (a similar form exists for two foreigners applying for marriage in Cambodia): A written request for marriage applications must be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You will need to know the area or province that you plan to marry. The application lists supporting documents that must be attached to the application. Some of these documents may need to be legalized at the couple’s Embassy in Cambodia or prior to leaving at the Cambodian Embassy in your resident country. Upon approval of the bride and groom’s application, the application must then be submitted to the Civil Registrar.

Legal requirements to get married:

  • Ceremony (Civil/Religious)

Civil and religious weddings are legally recognized weddings performed in Cambodia. The ceremony is performed in Cambodian. If either party does not speak Cambo;dian,
an interpreter should be hired.

  • Age and Relation

The bride must be at least 18 years of age. The groom must be at least 20 years of age. They cannot be related by blood, marriage or adoption.

Note: Male Canadian Citizens planning to marry a Cambodian woman must be no older than 50 years of age with a monthly income that generates a minimum of USD $2,500.

  • Witnesses

Two witnesses over 18 years of age must be present for the ceremony and provide their passports.

  • Registry

Both parties must stay within the district of their Embassy or Consulate in Cambodia for 21 days prior to filing a Notice of Intention to Marry. It is recommended that you make an appointment in advance with the Consul or Vice-Consul, to be assured that you can deliver, in person, your oath of intention to marry upon the completion of your 21 day residency (this does not include the day you arrived).

Note: Take all paperwork and photocopies of each to your Embassy and Civil Registry Office in Cambodia.

At least 10 days prior to the wedding and 21 full days since your arrival in Cambodia, you will need to file your Notice of Intention to Marry with the Civil Registry Office. You will need to know where you will marry and who you plan to use as your marriage officer. Here, you will also complete and sign an Affidavit of Marriage.

Finally the notice of Intention to Marry will be posted, at the Consulate, for 3 weeks. Pending objections, your Embassy can provide you with a Letter of No Impediment to Marriage. Bride and groom will show passports and/or divorce or death certificates.


Marriage certificate:

  • Weddings must be registered with the Civil Registry Office in order to be recognized. Officers can come to your wedding to sign documentation. The newly-weds will give their thumb-prints to register and receive their Marriage Certificate.
  • Marriage Certificates are issued from the Chief of Commune, from the region in which the wedding ceremony takes place.

Family Members

If your Cambodian spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Cambodian Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Cambodian citizen.


List of Cambodian Consulates in Canada

Calling Cambodia from Canada

Dial 011 – 855 – area code – local number

  • 011 is the exit code from Canada
  • 855 is the country code for Cambodia

Area Codes for Major Centres in Cambodia

Battambang 53 Kampot 33 Siem Reap 63
Kampong Cham 42 Kandal 24 Sihanoukville 34
Kampong Chhang 26 Phnom Penh 23 Sisophon (Saophoan) 54
Kampong Speu 25 Poipet (Paoy Paet) 54 Suong 42
Kampong Thom 62 Pursat 52 Ta Khmau 23

Calling Canada from Cambodia

Dial 001 / 007 / 008 – 1 – area code – local number

  • The exit code for Cambodia depends on your provider

Area Codes in Canada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Emergency numbers and contact information for Canadians in Cambodia

Canadian Diplomatic Missions in Cambodia

There is no resident Canadian government office in Cambodia. Canadians in Cambodia can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Embassy of Australia or seek help in Thailand.

Canadians are encouraged to register with the embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh in order to receive the latest information on situations or events that could affect their safety.

The Embassy of Canada in Bangkok, Thailand, has consular responsibility for Cambodia.

For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Department in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.

Embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh

No. 16B National Assembly Street
Sangkat Tonle Bassac
Khan Chamkamon Phnom Penh

Telephone: 855 (23) 213-470
Fax: 855 (23) 213-413

E-mail: [email protected]


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Embassy of Canada in Bangkok

15th Floor, Abdulrahim Place
990 Rama IV, Bangrak
Bangkok, 10500

Postal Address
P.O. Box 2090, Bangkok, Thailand, 10501 Thailand

Telephone: 66 (0) 2646-4300
Fax: 66 (0) 2646-4345
E-mail: [email protected]


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Cambodian Money

The riel is the currency of Cambodia. There have been two distinct riel, the first issued between 1953 and May 1975. Between 1975 and 1980, the country had no monetary system. A second currency, also named “riel”, has been issued since April 1, 1980. However, this currency has never gained much public acceptance, with most Cambodians preferring foreign currency. The UN peacekeeping operation of 1993 injected a large quantity of U.S. dollars into the local economy. As a result, the dollar has become the country’s common currency. Riel notes are used for fractional dollar amounts as U.S. coins are not in circulation. The symbol is encoded in Unicode at U+17DB ៛ khmer currency symbol riel U+17DB ៛ khmer currency symbol riel (HTML: ៛). There are both coins and currency notes in Cambodia. Cambodian riel notes come in 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations, but the distinctive red 500 riel note and the 1000 riel note are the most useful and common.


The monetary system of Cambodia is single-unit based, with the unit of Cambodian money being called the Riel. The names and relative values of the coins depicted above are, from left to right:

  • Fifty Riels – (50 Riels)
  • One Hundred Riels – (100 Riels)
  • Two Hundred Riels – (200 Riels)
  • Five Hundred Riels – (500 Riels)


Traditional Cambodian Wedding Customs

The Cambodian tradition of marriages is unique in its own right. The majority of couples have arranged marriages according to tradition. In some cases the match is actually made between two people since childhood. When they reach the right age they are married off as per the agreement that was made during their childhood. This practice has however declined with the passage of time.

Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage has been the tradition in Cambodia for centuries and remains the norm practised for Cambodians both at home and overseas. Marriage is a very important institution for Cambodians. The courtship practices and the marriage ceremony are very different from those practised in the Western culture.

Traditionally, marriage was always arranged without the knowledge or consent of the individuals to be married. Forced marriage was common. Many families arranged marriages while the betrothed individuals were still very young; friends made promises to each other that their children would marry. If a man were interested in marrying a girl he saw but to whom he had not spoken, his parents would arrange an engagement ceremony with the girl’s parents. The girl would have nothing to say about it.

Marriage is still arranged but individuals often are consulted about the choice of their spouse, and rejecting the parents’ arrangement is tolerated. Even a young woman has an opportunity to reject her parents’ wishes, although not many daughters are yet willing to exercise this option.

Arranged marriage has survived because of religion and tradition. Most Cambodians are Buddhist. In Buddhism, it is an obligation of parents to find spouses for their children and to marry them into good families. Traditional Cambodian culture also pressures parents to choose and arrange marriages for the child so that their family’s pride and honour are retained.

Children also have obligations toward their parents to do their utmost to maintain their parents’ honour. Cambodians believe in returning gratitude to their parents. Marrying into a good family is considered to be a way of returning gratitude, especially for a girl or young woman.

In the old days, the marriage was an arduous and lengthy affair. It could take months to prepare for the marriage. Courtship involved many rituals to be followed and wedding ceremonies lasted three days. Today, because of the demands of modern living and the influence of other cultures, marriage is much simpler and less time consuming. Courtship and wedding ceremonies can be conducted in one day.

When it comes to the wedding celebrations, they are rather elaborate and very colourful. The Cambodians actually have a wedding season and it is considered preferable to get married during that season. The marriage season coincides with the monsoon season.

The wedding ceremony begins with the Choun Pelea ceremony. This is a ceremony wherein which the time and date for the marriage is officially determined and declared. The guests are received with lots of fresh fruits such as grapes, sweets, bananas and other gift items. The evening is full of elaborate ceremonies and songs and celebrations.

The real wedding ceremony actually takes place the next day. The Cambodian wedding takes place in the morning hours unlike the late night parties in other cultures. The wife’s home is the venue where the ceremony takes place. The achar directs the whole ceremony and a Buddhist monk is also brought in to deliver a short sermon to the gathering. Those present recite their prayers and bless the couple. The gathering is usually confined to a few close relatives and friends along with the Buddhist monks.


The evening banquet is where the real wedding party is. This event also takes place at the bride’s home. The bride and the groom are dressed up in traditional attire. The traditional Cambodian wedding dress is known as kahen. The bride wears a Sbaay which is a Cambodian version of a sash whereas the groom is made to wear a loose silk shirt and pants.


The Cambodian marriage is one full of ancient rituals. One of the ancient wedding rituals is that of hair cutting. The hair is then tied up in cotton threads and then soaked in what is presumed to be holy water and then tied around the wrists of the couple.


Another ritual is where the groom carries the bride’s scarf. This goes to show that he is a man who has just entered into a marriage contract with the girl from a new family. These ancient rituals have their roots in the cultural practices of the people of Cambodia that date to many centuries ago. They have been preserved and passed down the generations with great care so as to maintain their identity. Although many rituals have been dropped overtime one can still capture the essence of the traditional Cambodian wedding and how it is celebrated even today.



Gender Roles

The traditional role of Khmer women goes back at least to the Angkor era (802 – 1431 A.D.), when the “apsara” or “goddess” was accepted as the embodiment of a virtuous, ideal woman and described in proverbs, folk tales and novels as the example of how women should behave.

Cambodia is a male-dominated society and females are expected to conform to traditions. Cambodians often compare girls to a piece of cotton wool, whereas they compare a boy to a diamond. Cotton wool, when dropped into mud, never regains its purity regardless of how much it is washed. On the contrary, a diamond dropped into mud, can be picked up, washed and become as clean and sparkling as before it got dirty.

A girl is expected to obey her parents and elders, to be gentle and softly spoken. Traditional Cambodian culture expects a girl to behave according to social norms and to avoid any transgression that could be branded as ‘dirty’. Many times when a Khmer girl goes against a social norm, she is called “slut and prostitute” (“srey couch”) not just “dirty”. She is expected not to date or mingle freely with men or to have premarital sex. A girl who engages in premarital sex is considered beyond redemption. A girl is taught that virtuous behaviour includes not crying or screaming during labour, and not complaining when abused by spouse, parents, or elders. The tradition of holding girls to strict, sometimes harsh standards creates many problems with Khmer-American youth and their parents today.

While there are serious consequences for a Cambodian girl for social transgressions, her behaviour also affects her family. In terms of marriage, she becomes undesirable by a ‘good’ family because no one wants a ‘dirty’ girl as an in-law. Her parents’ pride and honour would also be shattered. Their shame would make them social rejects. It is believed that a grateful daughter would never put her parents in such jeopardy. With such pressure, a girl has no choice but to have her future arranged by her parents and to accept their wishes about marriage.

On the other hand, traditionally a man experiences less social and family pressure to conform. In the case of marriage, he has more freedom in seeking and choosing a spouse. A man is compared to a diamond; any transgressions can be corrected. Premarital and extramarital sex is considered acceptable although the modern constitution forbids polygamy. The growth of the sex industry in Cambodia may have long term consequences because of the spread of AIDS throughout the country. Having partners and children outside of marriage may be causing social and economic disruption.


Today most Cambodian men choose their own wives, although they still seek the advice and approval of their parents for two reasons. First, he wants to preserve their honour by not marrying a ‘dirty’ girl. A good son wouldn’t go against his parents’ wishes. Second, he needs their approval because usually they are responsible for a dowry and wedding ceremony expenses. In Cambodia, most children live with their parents until married.

In Cambodia a man pays dowry to the parents of the girl he marries. He also pays for all expenses of the wedding ceremonies. Girls’ families may demand huge dowries as a demonstration that the man will be able to care for his wife. Usually parents would not marry their daughter without dowry as it would be considered a dishonour. The dowry usually has to be settled before the wedding ceremony. Some parents go heavily into debt while trying to pay for a dowry. On the other hand, some parents of girls do not demand a dowry if they are satisfied that a prospective son-in-law would be a good husband of their daughter.

Marriage is not just between a man and woman but between families. Large dowries are signs of prominence and a demonstration that the groom’s family is financially capable of providing for the daughter. When a girl demands a huge dowry, she ensures financial security and can repay her parents for giving her life and raising her. Khmer children are considered to be the possessions of their parents. The parents can send their children (most often the girls) to be servants or to work in the commercial sex industry in order to support the family or to pay the parents back.

Cambodian girls usually marry between 18 and 25 years of age. If a woman older than that remains single her parents start to worry that no desirable man will ask their daughter to marry. Cambodian men rarely marry an older woman. However, it is not uncommon for a girl younger than 18 years old to be married to a much older man. Typically a groom is 12 years older than the bride.

The wedding ceremonies are traditionally held at the bride’s home. After the wedding, the groom moves in with the bride’s parents (This tradition would be opposite for Cambodians with Chinese ancestry who still practice Chinese culture). In Cambodia, women keep their names after they are married.

Loyalty and Polygamy

In times past, although Cambodian marriages were arranged, married life was good and love gradually grew between the couple after they married. Spousal loyalty was strong; it is a religious duty for husband and wife to be loyal to each other. Divorce was low. Domestic violence was rare; usually the couple lived with parents and a large extended family that provided strong family support. A couple could turn to family in case of any marriage problems, and family would often keep an eye on the couple.

Today, the state of marriage, like pretty much everything else in Cambodia, has declined considerably. Thirty years of destructive wars and extreme violence took its toll on families and traditional behaviour. These days, loyalty between husbands and wives is much looser. Economic hardship has compounded the problem as many men leave the villages to go where they might find work. Partners/families outside of the legal marriage and the desertion of wives and children have become common social illnesses in Cambodia.

The modern constitution forbids polygamy; some say it is commonly practised more often when family economics permit. The effect of wars and the indiscriminate killing of men during the Khmer Rouge reign have created a population imbalance between men and women. Social, financial and emotional pressures force widows as well as single women and girls to accept partners, even married ones. Many children are born out of wedlock. Jealous rage and fighting among women for one man is frequent.

The fighting is vicious. Recently, there have been cases of women resorting to a violent tactic known as ‘acid attack’. A jealous wife splashes nitric acid on her husband’s mistress. The intention of the attack is not to kill, but to disfigure, the victim. This happens at all levels of society.

The most notorious case of ‘acid attack’ occurred in 1999 when the wife and bodyguards of a senior government official poured five litres of acid on the face of the husband’s 18-year-old mistress. The attack left the victim horribly disfigured. It destroyed much of the skin on her face and back and severely impaired her sight and hearing.

The attacks are so frequent and vicious that newspapers and radios appeal to woman to stop behaving with such violence against each other. The government, alarmed by the savagery, has banned the sale of acid and drawn up laws to combat this trend.

Spousal disloyalty can become deadly as men return to their wives after working away from home, infected with the HIV virus acquired through heterosexual extramarital affairs. Cambodia is a country with rapidly growing numbers of HIV/Aids cases. The tragedy includes children, many of whom are born with the virus.

Statistically, the divorce rate in Cambodia remains low. According to the Cambodia National Institute of Statistics, the divorce rate as of 1998 is 2.4%.

This low rate is in large part due to culture, which discourages divorce. Divorce is a shameful affair, especially for women. Social tradition and today’s family laws encourage reconciliation rather than divorce, even when one partner is at serious physical or psychological risk. The rate is also low because the poor women have limited access to the legal system.

For Cambodians, marriage may sometimes be ceremonial rather than legal. For example, many Khmer in the U.S. may get married in huge ceremonies without legal arrangements in order to maintain their status in the welfare system. In instances where marriages are not recognized legally, there may be no need for divorce if the couple decides not to remain together.

In the U.S., most Cambodians still wish to marry within their community. Many men return to get married in Cambodia. Arranged marriage is also being practised by Cambodians in the U.S. Love marriages have also found their way into the community, especially with the younger generation. Today, it is acceptable for Cambodian men and women to date or marry non-Cambodians.

Practices that remain taboo in Cambodia are tolerated more by Cambodians in the U.S. While many youth are still raised with traditional cultural values and restrictions, it is true that some girls date and mingle with boys freely; they stay out late, have premarital sex and even live together as a couple without being married. Children are born out of wedlock. Some parents may even allow their children to bring a boyfriend or girlfriend to live with them as they resign themselves to the fact that their children are under the cultural influence of the society in which they live. Divorce is more tolerated in the U.S. Cambodian community than in Cambodia.


Cambodian Traditional Wedding Dresses

Dress up for a Wedding reception is very important in Khmer Culture for every Cambodian in any places in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Wedding is a very valuable event to bring glory and as the important ceremony or event that guest will be the witness of the whole program. Cambodian traditional dress is very important for both girls and guys.  Traditional Cambodia Wedding Dresses most reflect the great value culture of the country.


Cambodian Traditional Wedding Food

Clockwise from the upper left, are chicken and greens, fried pate, roast quail, spring rolls, and cashews.


Customs Duties and Wedding Presents

You must declare all gifts to the Canada Border Services Agency. Gifts worth CDN $60 or less each may be brought into Canada duty-free and tax-free, but must be declared. For gifts worth more than CDN $60, you may have to pay duties and taxes on the excess amount. Tobacco and alcohol cannot be imported as gifts.

Wedding gifts

If you got married in Cambodia within three months of coming to Canada or if you plan to marry no later than three months after arriving in the country, you can bring in your wedding gifts free of duty and taxes. However, you must have owned and possessed the gifts while in Cambodia and before you arrived in Canada. In this instance, the requirement to have used the goods does not apply. These same conditions apply to household goods you bring in as part of a bride’s trousseau from Cambodia.

Ownership, possession and use requirements

To import goods duty- and tax-free, Settlers must have owned, possessed and used the goods prior to their arrival in Canada and Former Residents must have owned, possessed and used the goods for at least six months before returning to resume residency.

It is important that you meet these three requirements. For example, if you owned and possessed the goods without using them, the goods will be subjected to duty and taxes. Please note that leased goods are subject to duty and taxes because the Canada Border Services Agency does not consider that you own them. If you have bills of sale and registration documents, they can help you prove that you meet these requirements.


Exceptions to ownership, possession and use requirements

If you are a former resident then the six-month stipulation will be waived if you have been absent from Canada for five years or more. Therefore, you only need to have owned, possessed and used your personal and household effects/items for a period of time before you return to Canada.


Declaring your goods

When you arrive, even if you have no goods with you at the time, you must give your list of goods to the border services officer at your first point of arrival in Canada. Based on the list of goods you submit, the officer will complete a Form B4 , Personal Effects Accounting Document, assign a file number to it and give you a copy of the completed form as a receipt. You will need to present your copy of this form to claim free importation of your unaccompanied goods when they arrive. Goods to follow may be subject to import restrictions before you can import them.

To facilitate the clearance process, you can complete Form B4, in advance before your arrival at the first port of entry in Canada. You can obtain a copy of the form on the Canada Border Services Agency’s Web site at


Religion in Cambodia

Buddhism has been the dominant religion in Cambodia, in one form or another, since the reign of Jayavarman VII (c. 1181-1200). Before its adoption as the state religion however, Hinduism flourished for over a thousand years. Roman Catholicism was introduced by French missionaries beginning in the eighteenth century. Sunni Islam is practised among the Chams, while among the Sino-Khmer population Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism and Chinese folk religions remain popular.


It is believed that Buddhism has been followed by the people of Cambodia since 5th century AD. There are some sources that reveal that Theravada Buddhism prevails in Cambodia even in the 3rd century B.C. Buddhism became the main and the Cambodian state religion right from 13th century BC excluding the period of Khmer Rouge and is currently estimated to be the faith of 95% of the population.

For the first thousand years of Khmer history, Cambodia was ruled by a series of Hindu kings with an occasional Buddhist king, such as Jayavarman I of Funan, and Suryvarman I. A variety of Buddhist traditions co-existed peacefully throughout Cambodian lands, under the tolerant auspices of Hindu kings and the neighbouring Mon-Theravada kingdoms.

Buddhist temple in Sihanoukville, Cambodia


Hinduism in Cambodia:

Cambodia was first influenced by Hinduism during the beginning of the Kingdom of Funan kingdom. Hinduism was one of the Khmer Empire’s official religions. Cambodia is the home to one of the only two temples dedicated to Brahma in the world. Angkor Wat of Cambodia is the largest Hindu temple of the world.



Islam is the religion of a majority of the Cham (also called Khmer Islam) and Malay minorities in Cambodia. According to Po Dharma, there were 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims in Cambodia as late as 1975. Persecution under the Khmer Rouge eroded their numbers, however, and by the late 1980s they probably had not regained their former strength. All of the Cham Muslims are Sunnis of the Shafi’i school. Po Dharma divides the Muslim Cham in Cambodia into a traditionalist branch and an orthodox branch.

When Cambodia became independent, the Islamic community was placed under the control of a five-member council that represented the community in official functions and in contacts with other Islamic communities. Each Muslim community has a hakem who leads the community and the mosque, an imam who leads the prayers and a bilal who calls the faithful to the daily prayers. The peninsula of Chrouy Changvar near Phnom Penh is considered the spiritual center of the Cham, and several high Muslim officials reside there. Each year some of the Cham go to study the Qur’an at Kelantan in Malaysia, and some go on to study in, or make a pilgrimage to, Mecca. According to figures from the late 1950s, about seven percent of the Cham had completed the pilgrimage and could wear the fez or turban as a sign of their accomplishment.



The first known Christian mission in Cambodia was undertaken by Gaspar da Cruz, a Portuguese member of the Dominican Order, in 1555-1556.  Despite the French colonization in the 19th century, Christianity made little impact in the country. In 1972 there were probably about 20,000 Christians in Cambodia, most of whom were Roman Catholics. Before the repatriation of the Vietnamese in 1970 and 1971, possibly as many as 62,000 Christians lived in Cambodia. According to Vatican statistics, in 1953, members of the Roman Catholic Church in Cambodia numbered 120,000, making it at the time, the second largest religion; estimates indicate that about 50,000 Catholics were Vietnamese. Many of the Catholics remaining in Cambodia in 1972 were Europeans and mainly French

American Protestant missionary activity increased in Cambodia, especially among some of the hill tribes and among the Cham, after the establishment of the Khmer Republic. The 1962 census, which reported 2,000 Protestants in Cambodia, remains the most recent statistic for the group.

There are around 20,000 Catholics in Cambodia which represents 0.15% of the total population. There are no dioceses, but there are three territorial jurisdictions – one Apostolic Vicariate and two Apostolic Prefectures. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormons) has a growing population in Cambodia. The church’s late prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, officially introduced missionary work to Cambodia on May 29, 1996. The church now has 15 congregations, 12 Khmer languages and 3 Vietnamese languages.


Tribal religions

Highland tribal groups, most with their own local religious systems, probably number fewer than 100,000 persons. The Khmer Loeu have been loosely described as animists, but most tribal groups have their own pantheon of local spirits. In general they see their world filled with various invisible spirits (often called yang), some benevolent, others malevolent. They associate spirits with rice, soil, water, fire, stones, paths, and so forth. Sorcerers or specialists in each village contact these spirits and prescribe ways to appease them. In times of crisis or change, animal sacrifices may be made to placate the anger of the spirits. Illness is often believed to be caused by evil spirits or sorcerers. Some tribes have special medicine men or shamans who treat the sick. In addition to belief in spirits, villagers believe in taboos on many objects or practices. Among the Khmer Loeu, the Rhade and Jarai groups have a well-developed hierarchy of spirits with a supreme ruler at its head.

Although most Cambodians adhere to Buddhism or the other main religious groups like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, there is a strong belief in guardian spirits of the ancestors, Neak Tha, Yeay Mao and many others.


Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Cambodia

Cambodia is a beautiful country full of the most romantic places in the world. It is home to some of the most astounding beaches and historic landmarks in the world. There are a multitude of beautiful and romantic places in Cambodia.


AMATAO Tropical Residence

Situated in Siem Reap, this hotel is close to Royal Garden, Lucky Mall Super Market, and Angkor National Museum. Also nearby are Wat Preah Prom Rath and Angkor Trade Centre. In addition to a restaurant, Amatao Tropical Residence features a private beach. Other amenities include a full-service spa and a poolside bar.


Borei Angkor Resort and Spa

Aptly named after “a territory of Angkor” in Cambodian, Borei Angkor Resort & Spa – a truly Cambodian five – star hotel – is set right in the centre of Siem Reap, where privacy and connectivity blend together to form a perfect base for exploring the “Kingdom of Wonder”. The 188 exquisite Rooms and Suites are inspired by Angkorian architecture. Each spacious room is subtly lit and decorated with Cambodia original silk products, assorted handicraft and wooden floor with private balcony overlooking the refreshing view of tropical garden and swimming pool.



Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Raffles Hotel Le Royal is located in the heart of Phnom Penh. Raffles Hotel Le Royal is only 20 minutes’ drive from Phnom Penh International Airport and within easy access of the city’s attractions like the Royal Palace, Central Market, Russian Market and the National Museum of Cambodia.


La Residence d’Angkor

La Residence d’Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia is an intimate Khmer-style hotel set within a leafy walled garden. From here you are ideally placed to explore Siem Reap and to visit the temples of Angkor Wat, one of the man-made wonders of the world. Traditionally built, the hotel sits comfortably within the lush riverside gardens that it inhabits. Built of wood and furnished in the local style, the addition of modern comforts and luxurious touches create a welcoming but understated atmosphere.


Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra offers five-star accommodations close to the magnificent Angkor Wat, World Heritage. Experience this luxury resort – consistently rated as one of the best Siem Reap hotels – which combines between Khmer and French architecture design. Features of the resort includes beautiful gardens, lakes, the largest free form swimming pool, spa, five restaurants, 2 bars, conferences, banquet facilities and a world class 18-hole golf course – the Phokeethra Country Club.


Villa Kiara Boutique Hotel

Villa Kiara Boutique Hotel is situated a 5-minute drive from the Siem Reap city Centre. It offers rooms with garden and pool views. Villa Kiara houses an outdoor pool. The chic rooms of Villa Kiara Hotel are decorated with Cambodian handcrafts. They are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player and tea/coffee making facilities.



Cambodia’s beaches are often neglected in favor of Thailand’s. But slowly, surely, the country’s idyllic islands and shining white sands are becoming known to the world’s beach lovers.

There are five beaches that really stand out, and match up to anything its more popular neighbors have to offer.

Lazy Beach, Koh Rong

Lazy Beach is particularly beautiful and is surrounded by pine trees and benefiting from a daily sweep to keep it spotless, the golden sands of Lazy Beach make for excellent daytime sunning.

The waters around the beach have many snorkeling options and other parts of Koh Rong Saloem are a favorite of divers and fishing enthusiasts from the mainland. Evenings, you can watch the deep pink sunsets from the beach with a tropical cocktail in hand.


Long Set Beach, Koh Rong

The southernmost cove of Koh Rong hosts a beach that the locals call Long Set, after the farmer who lives there growing coconuts, mangoes and cashews.

With nearly empty white sand beaches and placid aquamarine waters, Long Set Beach is just a short walk away from the accommodations on the main part of southeast Koh Rong and is an ideal place for sunning, collecting shells and crabbing.


Southwestern Beach, Koh Rong

Koh Rong is easily one of the Gulf of Thailand’s most gorgeous islands, with 43 kilometers of beach. On the southwestern side of Koh Rong the beach stretches for nearly five kilometers — 5,000 meters of untouched white sand fringed with palm trees and dazzling turquoise waters.


Koh Thmei beach, Ream National Park

Ream National Park is home to some of Cambodia’s most exquisite beaches, including those on Koh Thmei, a small island flanked by mangrove forests.

Koh Thmei is uninhabited, except for one set of bungalows and dozens of different species of birds. The beach next to the boat dock is a sea of thousands of glittering shells. The beach to the east of the dock is lovely pine-shaded yellow sand and if you get there early enough, you can catch a gorgeous sunrise.


Sokha Beach, Sihanoukville

Privately owned Sokha Beach is the best of Sihanoukville’s beaches, with wide white sands stretching for over a kilometre and shallow, placid waters perfect for swimming.

A small portion of the beach is still open to the public, but the rest is only available to hotel guests or those who pay for a day pass, which also includes access to the resort’s pool.

Although the privatization of Sokha Beach is a loss for the locals, tourists can enjoy the immaculate sand and hawker-free relaxation at this relatively quiet and sedate beach.


Historic Places

Angkor Wat

Arguably the most famous of the historic sites in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is an incredible, vast 12th century temple and a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Preah Vihear Temple

The Preah Vihear Temple is Hindu temple built by the Khmer Kings on the border with Thailand.


Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

The Royal palace was built in 1866 during the region of King Norodom, great grandfather of the current King Norodom Sihanouk. There are many Prasats inside the palace that have their own special functions relating to royal and other official ceremonies. The construction of the temples within the compound was inspired by traditional Khmer architecture of this civilization. The surrounding wall has five doors.



It is in Southern Cambodia, about 77km from Phnom Penh. Highlights of some things to see: Historic sites of earliest Cambodian history and also the Angkor era, including Tonle Bati Temples, Prsat Neang Khmau, Chiso Phnom s hilltop temple ruins, Phnom Da, Angkor Bori, Phnom Baong.


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

A former Khmer Rouge prison and one of the historical sites of Cambodia’s city of Phnom Penh, The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum now tells the story of its past.


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