Exploring Cambodia: A Gem in Southeast Asia

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is a country of fascinating contrasts, where ancient ruins whisper tales of a glorious past and vibrant cities pulse with the promise of the future. Bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south, Cambodia boasts a strategic location that has influenced its history and culture for centuries.

Geography and Climate

The Kingdom of Cambodia covers a total area of 181,035 sq km, with 176,515 sq km of land and 4,520 sq km of water, delineating its rich topographical diversity. It’s encircled by land boundaries stretching 2,530 km, touching Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Cambodian coastline, a scenic 443 km stretch along the Gulf of Thailand, complements the nation’s predominantly flat terrain, interspersed with mountains in the southwest and north.

Boasting a tropical climate, Cambodia experiences a monsoon season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. This climate encompasses minimal seasonal temperature variation but significantly affects the agricultural and daily lives of the Cambodians.


At the heart of Cambodia’s geography is its varied terrain- from lush, low-lying plains to the rugged mountains in the southwest and north. These landscapes not only offer breathtaking vistas but are also home to Phnum Aoral, the country’s highest elevation point at 1,810 m, juxtaposed against the Gulf of Thailand, its lowest point at sea level.

Natural Resources and Economy

Cambodia is endowed with abundant natural resources including oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, and phosphates, alongside significant hydropower potential and fertile arable land. With 32.10% of the land dedicated to agriculture and 56.50% covered by forests, Cambodia’s economy traditionally hinges on farming, with rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava, and silk listed as primary agricultural products.

The country has diversified its economic activities over the years, witnessing growth in tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, and textiles. Trade plays a crucial role, with major export partners including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China, Canada, Spain, and Belgium, focusing on products like clothing, timber, rubber, and rice.

Demographics and Urbanization

As of July 2020, Cambodia had an estimated population of 16,926,984, predominantly known as Cambodians or Khmer. The official language is Khmer, spoken throughout the vast stretches of the country from the bustling urban areas to the serene countryside. Despite being densely populated in regions surrounding Phnom Penh and along the veins of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers, Cambodia has an urban population of just 24.20%, revealing a largely rural demographic fabric.

Phnom Penh, the capital city, stands as the largest urban area with approximately 2.078 million residents, encapsulating the dynamism and cultural richness of Cambodia.

Modern Challenges and Progress

The Cambodian economy has shown resilience and growth, with a GDP per capita of $4,000 in 2017, driven by diverse industries from tourism to agriculture. Nevertheless, challenges such as electrification remain, with a small percentage of the population still without electricity in 2017, highlighting ongoing development issues.

Moreover, Cambodia continues to focus on enhancing infrastructure, healthcare, education, and sustainable practices to improve the quality of life for its citizens while preserving its rich natural resources and cultural heritage.


Cambodia, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a testament to the spirit and resilience of its people. As it navigates the path of modernization and development, Cambodia remains a vital country in Southeast Asia, offering lessons in preservation, growth, and the enduring strength of community.

Country data

Country Code CB
Region East Asia/Southeast Asia
Surface 181035 sq km
Land Surface 176515 sq km
Water Surface 4520 sq km
Agricultural Surface 32.10%
Forest Surface 56.50%
Lowest Elevation Point Gulf of Thailand 0 m
Highest Elevation Point Phnum Aoral 1,810 m
GDP / capita $4,000 (2017 est.)