Early civilisation in Cambodia dates back to the first century. The Khmer empire, centered at Angkor reached its peak of power in the 9th to 14th centuries when it included territories in present day Cambodia, southern Vietnam, southern Laos, Thailand and northern Malaysia. Early civilisation in Cambodia dates back to the first century. The Khmer empire, centered at Angkor reached its peak of power in the 9th to 14th centuries when it included territories in present day Cambodia, southern Vietnam, southern Laos, Thailand and northern Malaysia. Modern day Cambodia is the successor state of the mighty Khmer empire. There is no other historical site that matches the grandeur of Angkor. This magnificent complex represents the full flowering of Khmer genius and is the world’s largest religious monument; a remarkable architectural achievement. After gaining its independence from the French in 1953 and after decades of war and political upheaval, the Kingdom of Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy in 1993. The population is currently estimated to be 10.2 million. The majority are ethnic Khmers with minority groups of Chinese, Vietnamese and indigenous hill tribes. The Mekong river system has largely determined the way of life of the people and the history of the states along its banks. Originating in Tibet, it flows into Cambodia from Laos crossing through Cambodia’s eastern plains before reaching Vietnam and the South China Sea. One of the most extraordinary sources of freshwater fish in this area, the Tonle Sap river and lake form together with the Mekong, the heartland of Cambodia. In contrast, along the south-west coast on the Gulf of Siam is a tropical paradise of unspoiled beaches and pristine coral islands. The Kingdom offers a multitude of fascinating experiences to the modern-day tourist. Secular traditions, beautiful landscape, and warm hospitality are some of the reasons to discover this ancient land and civilization.