One beautiful day while Selena was sharing some memorable experiences of her Cambodia holidays, she suddenly surprised us with an unusual (not for the locals) experience. She mentioned that it was almost a bizarre situation for her when she accidentally touched the Buddhist monk at the temple. And we were like what went so wrong just by touching a Buddhist monk. Later, she explained that it is considered an impolite gesture. Not only the monk, but you also can not even touch the cute kid over the head!!
Astonishing as it may sound, but as a traveler you need to adapt various customs and know the local traditions. If you learn about the local culture, especially while traveling to the SouthEast Asian countries it would be highly appreciated and avoid you in making any offensive action during the trip.
Cambodia is one such country where, even how you eat will be noticed. We understand how challenging you might feel looking at the etiquettes mentioned-above, but this is not it. There is more to the list of behavior etiquettes that one must follow in Cambodia. Respecting and following these etiquettes will make your journey more incredible than ever before. If you wish to travel to Cambodia this holiday and make the most of it, then read the below guide.
- While sitting on the ground, make sure that your feet don’t point at anyone. If you find so, tuck it beneath the feet right away.
- Do not use your left hand while greeting, eating, or touching anyone. It is considered highly impure.
- Avoid showing love and affection in public.
- Don’t bring the Khmer Rouge era topic ever, especially while you are sitting on the dinner table.
- Cambodians usually greet each other by putting hands together and slightly bowing down their heads. As a traveler, if somebody greets you som pas (one mentioned above), do respond to them otherwise, you may look impolite.
- As mentioned above, when you meet the locals, do say choum reap sur (hello) and while bidding goodbye says choum reap lir.
- Don’t be surprised if locals refer to you as lok (if you are a man) or lok srey (if you are a woman) followed by your name.
- However, the referring changes in informal situations. You will be called po (uncle) or bang (brother) or yeay (grandmother).
This may look outdated to travelers visiting from western countries, but showing utmost respect from the elder is followed mainly in Cambodia. If you visit the families, you will find that the younger child som pas the elder and s/he is not allowed to sit on an elevated position.
Elder uses only one hand to receive something while the younger one has to use both hands.
A key takeaway for travelers: Do not put a hand across the shoulders of an elder while clicking a picture with them. Also, be humble, don’t put your hands in the pocket.
While planning a visit to Cambodia, this is the first thing on the list which you need to read beforehand. Why? Because it may reduce luggage weight. Jokes apart, Cambodian temples are strict when it comes to temple entries. They don’t allow clothes that expose the body parts majorly. Hence, if on one such particular day of the Cambodian tour package that has temples on the list, cover your skin completely over the upper arms and upper legs.
Men are expected to wear a shirt and long pants, while women should cover everything from the shoulders. Please do not participate in nude sunbathing, it would not be welcomed well by the locals.
We understand that some people are traveling to Cambodia to taste the local delicacies. However, the food won’t disappoint you at all, but eating habits may surprise you completely.
Some general rules for eating food at the restaurant or on the streets are:
- Usually, you keep the fork directly into the mouth but do take this warning beforehand that, don’t put the fork directly into the mouth, instead, using fork put the food on the spoon and then eat.
- In continuation of the earlier one, eat your meal lying in the center of the table. The fork or spoon that goes into the mouth should not be kept back into the meal.
- This one is quite out-of-the-box, and you are likely to make this mistake. Well, in Cambodia, you should not stick your chopsticks vertically into the rice bowl. It is considered to be bad luck because it reminds people of the incense stick placed to honor the dead.
- If you have an elderly local with you, let them start first. Don’t start eating before them ever. The cook shall eat the food at last.
Buddhism is followed by 90% of the population in the country. Hence you need to be very careful while visiting the sacred places of the country. Never insult in the country so pure and sacred. If you wish to convey something, tell them on the face. Also, don’t forget to remove your shoes before entering the temple.
People in the country are generous, and most of the temples run on the donations received. Make a contribution as per your wish while you visit the sacred temples. Buddhists always appreciate the token of gratitude received from the travelers.
Once you are acknowledged with the list of manners and etiquettes, let’s discuss which places you should travel on your Cambodia tours?
Cambodia is often called one-trick pony where the gigantic and stunning Angkor Wat temples are nestled. Archaeological travel enthusiasts, whizz through Cambodia while travelling to Vietnam or Thailand. Here is the list of places that will astound you and trust us, this one is a whole new country to discover. Have a look..
To be honest, your cambodia trip will be incomplete if you miss upon visiting this beautiful beach. It was a small fishing town that was destroyed during the war but is an idyllic place to relax and rewind. The ruined colonial villas and the Art Deco buildings are treat to the eyes.
It wouldn’t be wrong if we say that Phnom Penh is the gateway to Cambodia. Visiting this place is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the real Cambodia, its culture and traditions. You would be pleased to see the locals in the hectic markets, some crazy loading over the tuk tuks, scintillating palaces and timeless museums. The feeling of being in the city would be nothing less than being in heaven.
Angkor Wat sunrises:
Who wouldn’t be excited to visit one of the UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites? Right from the morning sunrise to sunset, this place will never fail to amaze you irrespective of the time you visit the location. The ancient temple and collection of monasteries at Angkor Wat is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The location is spread across 400 square km and who knows, by just following the footsteps, you can rediscover another ancient temple in the jungle?
Sihanoukville is one of the famous beaches of Cambodia which is also known as Kampong Saom. A major portion of the beach is sandy and rocky but you will still get one of finest hotels to make your stay comfortable. Additionally, you can perform snorkeling at the beach, or stay in a hut or just eat at the open-bar beach restaurants, whatever you choose, the feel will just be amazing.
Travel with holidays to Cambodia keeping your aggression at bay, don’t carry it to the travel places otherwise things may get worse. Are you excited to visit the holy temples of Cambodia? We assure you that you wouldn’t find this beauty anywhere in the world.