Where is cambodia located?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 3, 2024

Geographical Location

Cambodia is situated in Southeast Asia, a region known for its rich cultural heritage and diverse ecosystems. The country is located on the Indochina Peninsula, bordered by several countries that contribute to its strategic significance in the region.

Borders and Neighboring Countries

Cambodia is bordered by four countries:

  • Thailand: To the northwest and west, Cambodia shares a border with Thailand. This boundary stretches for approximately 803 kilometers (499 miles).
  • Laos: To the north, Cambodia is bordered by Laos, with a relatively shorter border of about 541 kilometers (336 miles).
  • Vietnam: To the east and southeast, Cambodia shares an extensive border with Vietnam, measuring around 1,228 kilometers (763 miles).
  • Gulf of Thailand: To the southwest, Cambodia has a coastline along the Gulf of Thailand, extending approximately 443 kilometers (275 miles).

Latitude, Longitude, and Area

The geographical coordinates of Cambodia are approximately 12.5657° N latitude and 104.9910° E longitude. In terms of area, Cambodia covers about 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 square miles), making it the 88th largest country in the world.

Topography and Natural Features

Cambodia’s landscape is predominantly flat, with some notable exceptions:

  • Central Plains: The central part of Cambodia is characterized by the vast, flat plains formed by the Mekong River and Tonlé Sap Lake, which are crucial for agriculture.
  • Mekong River: The Mekong River flows from north to south through Cambodia, playing a vital role in the country’s economy and ecosystem.
  • Tonlé Sap Lake: This is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and expands significantly during the rainy season.
  • Cardamom and Dângrêk Mountains: These mountain ranges can be found in the southwest and north respectively, providing a varied topography and rich biodiversity.

Climate and Seasons

Cambodia experiences a tropical monsoon climate, characterized by two distinct seasons:

  • Wet Season: Lasting from May to October, this season brings heavy rainfall and is crucial for agriculture, particularly rice cultivation.
  • Dry Season: From November to April, the dry season is divided into the cool dry period (November to February) and the hot dry period (March to April).

Administrative Divisions

Cambodia is divided into 25 provinces (including the capital, Phnom Penh, which is a municipality with provincial status). Some of the most significant provinces include:

  • Phnom Penh: The capital and largest city, serving as the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia.
  • Siem Reap: Known for being the gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Battambang: A prominent agricultural hub with rich historical significance.
  • Preah Sihanouk: A coastal province known for its beaches and the port city of Sihanoukville.

Historical Context

Cambodia’s location has greatly influenced its history, culture, and interactions with neighboring countries. The Khmer Empire, which flourished from the 9th to the 15th centuries, was centered in what is now Cambodia and extended its influence across much of Southeast Asia. The country's strategic position has made it a focal point of regional trade and political dynamics.

Economic Significance

Cambodia’s location contributes to its economic activities, particularly in agriculture, textiles, and tourism. The Mekong River and Tonlé Sap Lake are essential for irrigation and fisheries, while the proximity to major Southeast Asian markets facilitates trade. Additionally, the coastal areas along the Gulf of Thailand support maritime trade and tourism.

Ecological Importance

The diverse ecosystems within Cambodia, ranging from the Mekong River basin to the Cardamom Mountains, harbor a wealth of biodiversity. These areas are home to numerous species of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the region. Efforts are ongoing to protect these natural habitats from threats such as deforestation and climate change.

Transportation and Connectivity

Cambodia’s location allows for significant connectivity within Southeast Asia:

  • Road and Rail: Major highways and railways connect Cambodia to Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, facilitating trade and travel.
  • Airports: Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport are the primary gateways for international air travel.
  • Ports: The deep-water port of Sihanoukville is a crucial point for maritime trade, providing access to international shipping routes.

Geopolitical Considerations

Cambodia’s strategic location on the Indochina Peninsula has influenced its geopolitical landscape. The country has navigated complex relationships with its neighbors and major powers, balancing interests to maintain sovereignty and stability. Regional initiatives, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), play a role in fostering cooperation and economic integration.

Cultural and Linguistic Aspects

Cambodia's location has also shaped its cultural and linguistic landscape. The dominant ethnic group is the Khmer, and the official language is Khmer. However, the country’s historical interactions with neighboring cultures have introduced various influences, including Buddhism from India and elements of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai cultures.

Tourism and Heritage

The unique location of Cambodia makes it a prime destination for tourists:

  • Angkor Wat: The iconic temple complex near Siem Reap is a major draw for visitors worldwide.
  • Phnom Penh: The capital city offers historical sites such as the Royal Palace and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
  • Beaches and Islands: Coastal regions and islands like Koh Rong attract beachgoers and adventure seekers.

Environmental Challenges

Cambodia faces several environmental challenges due to its geographical location:

  • Flooding: The Mekong River and Tonlé Sap Lake regions are prone to seasonal flooding, which can impact agriculture and settlements.
  • Deforestation: Logging and land conversion for agriculture pose threats to Cambodia’s forested areas, particularly in the Cardamom Mountains.
  • Climate Change: Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns affect water resources, agriculture, and biodiversity.

The intricate tapestry of Cambodia’s location, with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and strategic significance, paints a vivid picture of a nation deeply rooted in its geography. From the bustling streets of Phnom Penh to the serene temples of Angkor, Cambodia’s place on the map is not just a point of reference but a story of resilience, adaptation, and enduring legacy.

Related Questions

Where is cambodia?

Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula. It shares borders with Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The country's coordinates are approximately 11.55° N latitude and 104.92° E longitude, placing it firmly within the tropical region of the world.

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