Escorted Vietnam Cambodia Tours

Cambodian People: Cambodians You Have Never Known

A Cambodian mother and her six daughters of different ages

To understand a country's ethnic group, one must first understand its social appearance. Today, we want to focus on the Cambodian people and their lives, so that you can gain more valuable cultural experience in the upcoming trip to Cambodia.

-  “Why are they called the most humble and honest people?”

-  “Why is it evaluated as a synonym for simplicity and peace?”

We hope the following articles will be helpful to you in finding the truth about this Buddhist holy land!

1. What is the population in Cambodia?

~17million people

Besides, there are 1.55million people in Phnom Penh (capital city of Cambodia). The population growth rate is around 1.67%.

2. What are Cambodian people called?

~Khmer, also called Cambodian, or Kampuchean

Among those terms, “Kampuchean” derives from the French word “Kampuchea,” which was the name used for Cambodia during the French colonial period.

3. What are Cambodians descendants of?

~Descendants of the Khmer Angkor Empire

According to the investigation, most people in Cambodia consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire, which extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries.

4. What is Cambodians mixed with?

~90%=Khmer ethnic

~10%=Cham, Chinese, Vietnamese, and others

Besides, Cambodia’s diverse Khmer Leu (Upper Khmer) or Chunchiet (minorities), who live in the country’s mountainous regions, probably number between 60,000 and 70,000.




Cambodia, buddhist monk water blessing a young woman

5. What is the official language of Cambodia?


Khmer is widely spoken by the majority of the population in Cambodia. It belongs to the Austroasiatic language family. Besides, the Khmer script is one of the oldest writing systems in the world, dating back to the 7th century.

Except Khmer language, English, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham language, Tribal languages (such as Tampuan, Jarai, Kreung, etc.) also can be heard in Cambodia. So if you are travellers worldwide trying to have an exotic Cambodia tour, do not worry about the language barriers.

6. What are the traits of Cambodian people?


The concept of “boros” (hospitality) is deeply ingrained in Cambodian society, and it is considered a virtue to be welcoming and accommodating to visitors.


People in Cambodia have demonstrated resilience and strength throughout their history, particularly in overcoming challenging periods such as the Khmer Rouge regime. Despite past hardships, many Cambodians display a determination to rebuild and move forward.


Buddhism plays a significant role in Cambodian society. Its principles often shape the values and behaviors of the people in Cambodia. Concepts such as compassion, karma, and mindfulness are commonly embraced.

Here “Mindfulness” in Buddhism refers to the ability to maintain moment-to-moment awareness, and attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment without judgment or attachment.

7. What is the predominant religion in Cambodia?


It plays a vital role in Cambodia culture and daily life, with numerous Buddhist temples (known as “wats”) found throughout the country. However, there are also small communities of Muslims, Christians, and followers of traditional indigenous beliefs.

8. What are some traditional customs and practices in Cambodia culture?

~Greet with a slight bow

~Clasping hands in a prayer-like gesture, called “Sampeah”

They all show respect to elders and monks and observe various rituals during important events and festivals, such as Khmer New Year, Water Festival, Pchum Ben (Ancestor’s Day), etc.




A child wearing a krama smiled at the camera

9. What is the traditional clothing worn by Cambodian people?


It is the national garment of Cambodia, worn by both men and women around the lower body. The style of wearing it can vary depending on the occasion and individual’s preference.


A traditional Cambodian scarf. It serves multiple purposes and can be worn as a head covering, belt, or even as a practical item for carrying objects, or protecting oneself from the sun.

~Chong Kben

It is usually worn by women on special occasions, such as weddings and religious ceremonies. Women often style it with a blouse or a traditional top called “sbai”.

If you want to learn more of Cambodia traditional clothing, do not hesitate to check our latest article!

10. What are some famous Cambodian dishes or culinary traditions?

~Amok – a steamed fish curry

~Lok Lak – stir-fried beef

~Prahok – fermented fish paste

~Bai Sach Chrouk – grilled pork with rice

Cambodian cuisine features a variety of flavors, influenced by neighboring countries like Thailand and Vietnam. If you have a chance to visit Siem Reap, you must go visit Pub Street there to taste the best Cambodian street food!

11. What is the traditional dance form in Cambodia?

~Apsara dance

Apsara dance is characterized by graceful movement, intricate hand gestures, and elaborate costumes. In fact, many restaurants or cultural centers in Siem Reap offer Apsara dance. We recommend some popular venues include the Apsara Theatre at Angkor Village Resort, Koulen Restaurant, and Temple Balcony.

12. What are some notable historical figures from Cambodia?

~King Jayavarman II

The one who established the Khmer Empire

~King Jayavarman VII

The one known for his significant architectural achievements, such as Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Terrace of the Elephants, etc.

~Norodom Sihanouk

A former King and political figure, who played a key role in Cambodia’s modern history




A Vann Nath painting

13. What are some artists and craftsmen in Cambodia?

~Vann Nath

As a survivor of S-21 prison, his works often conveyed the horrors and experiences he and others endured. He painted and his paintings serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

~Soth Chantha

He is known for his delicate pottery, using ancient techniques, including hand-building and kiln-firing, adding a lot of color on Cambodia art in pottery field.

~Mann Kosal

Mann Kosal is a highly skilled stone carver and sculptor from Cambodia. He has created numerous exquisite sculptures for temples and cultural sites.

14. How does education work in Cambodia?

~Primary education

6-12 free and compulsory for children

~Secondary education

Lower secondary (grade 7-9)

Upper secondary (grade 10-12)

~Tertiary education

It means universities and colleges that offer a range of degree programs.

However, education in Cambodia remains a challenge. Children with disabilities, face barriers to accessing education due to poverty, distance, and cultural norms, such as schools in floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake. Efforts are being made to improve teacher training, increase access to education in remote areas.

15. What are the gender roles and family structures in Cambodian society?

“With societal changes and increasing urbanization gender roles in Cambodia have become more diverse.”

Historically, Cambodian society has been patriarchal, with the authority and decision-making power held by male family members. However, this influence is gradually shifting as women gain more educational and economic opportunities.

16. What are some challenges or issues faced by the Cambodian people today?


Cambodian population lived below the national poverty line, which is defined as living on less than $1.90 per day. Except the prevalent rural-urban disparity, Cambodia also faces income inequality. Beside, certain groups are vulnerable to poverty in Cambodia, including ethnic minorities, women, children, and people with disabilities.

~Historical traumas

Many Cambodian individuals continue to suffer from psychological and emotional trauma resulting from Khmer Rouge era. Meanwhile, access to mental health services and support for trauma survivors is limited. Some individuals responsible for the crimes committed have not been held accountable.

However, justice is vital but not the sole solution. Cambodia continues to grapple with the legacy of the Khmer Rouge era, and efforts to promote healing and reconciliation. These efforts include initiatives to preserve historical sites, establish memorials, and promote dialogue and understanding among different generations.




Smiles of Cambodian students healing

In the end

Alright, that concludes the article here. We hope this article can provide you with some reflections and help you understand the people and life of Cambodia from various perspectives.

At the same time, we welcome you to travel here at any time. You can contact us to tailor you Cambodia tour.

As a professional travel agency, we are always waiting for your arrival!

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5 Days Cambodia Tour to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

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17 Days In-depth Cambodia Tour with Animal Encounters

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