Do’s and Don’ts in Cambodia
In the past few centuries, this Southeast Asian kingdom has been conquered and occupied by the French, Japanese and Vietnamese. But today it is peaceful, safe and an increasingly popular destination for travelers from around the world. It’s time to put the brakes on your visit to this charming Southeast Asian country. You may be excited about the adventure ahead, but there’s a few things you need to know before you get started. Here are some of the top do’s and don’ts when traveling Cambodia.
Do’s in Cambodia
1. Chum Reap Sur and Sampeah
Cambodian people greet each other by saying “Chum Reap Sur”, accompanied by a gesture of pressing their palms together in front of their face and slightly
bowing forward, which is called ‘Sampeah’. Your Cambodian hosts will be happily surprised to see you using the ‘sampeah’ to greet them instead of ‘’Hello” and shaking hand.
2. Shaking hands
Shaking hands is currently more acceptable, usually with men, but informal if you respect this with stranger and older people than you. When offering a gift to a Cambodian person, especially an elderly, it is the convention to present it with both hands. It appear that you respect them and give it by your heart.
3. Wearing clothes
Before entering a sacred place, such as a Buddhist pagoda or the Royal Palace, please remember to be dressed in a clean and modest manner. Especially, women should wear a t-shirt or a blouse with short or long sleeves and a skirt or pants at least at knee-length.
4. Hat and shoes
When entering someone’s home, please remember to leave your shoes at the entrance. Although your Cambodian hosts will often insist that you keep them for your comfort, they will always appreciate your consideration for their home. Wear down your shoes or your hat in the house that appear you are uncomfortable to stay in their home.
5. Taking picture
Although Cambodian people enjoy having their pictures taken, do ask for permission first.
Don’ts in Cambodia
1. DO NOT touch head
Please DO NOT touch or pat the head of people, even children.
2. DO NOT sit cross-legged
If you go to a pagoda and have to sit on the floor, DO NOT sit cross-legged or with your legs outstretched. Instead, sit slightly sided on your heels. If the position becomes uncomfortable, try to shift on your other side.
3. DO NOT touch monk’s robe or body
Buddhist monks are deeply revered and respected. Women are not allowed to touch a monk’s robe or his body.
4. DO NOT kiss and hug
In public areas, kisses and hugs, are considered inappropriate and offensive behaviors.
5. DO NOT point your feet at people
Don’t give gifts to kids informally avoid misunderstanding of kidnapping. Don’t touch people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object.