Advice for Travelers
KINGDOM OF WONDER
DOs and DON’Ts in Cambodia
People in Cambodia are well-known for their hospitality and warmth. Out of respect, visitors to the Kingdom should take care to observe local customs and practices. You may find it useful to familiarize yourself with the following common dos and don'ts before embarking on your trip to Cambodia.
DOs in Cambodia
- Ask for permission before taking photographs of any Cambodian people or monks.
- It is customary to remove your shoes when entering a place of worship such as a pagoda or temple. Additionally, visitors should dress appropriately when inside a religious site (upper arms and legs should be covered, hats removed).
- It is respectful to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home.
- Though not always expected, a respectful way of greeting another individual is to bow the head slightly with hands pressed together at the chest (known as “Sampeah”).
- If invited to dine in a Cambodian family’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift for the host such as fruit, dessert, or flowers.
- If invited to attend a Cambodian wedding, it is customary to bring cash as a wedding gift.
- When using a toothpick at the table, use one hand to cover your mouth.
- Keep business cards ready, and present them with both hands. Accept business cards with both hands.
DON'Ts in Cambodia
- Don't use your feet to point at someone.
- Don't touch a Cambodian person on the head.
- Don't begin eating if you are a guest at a dinner and the host has yet to take a bite.
- Women should never touch male monks or hand something directly to them.
- Keep public displays of affection to a respectful minimum.
- Do not litter; keep our community clean and safe
- Plastic bags can be hazardous; dispose them properly
What to Wear in Cambodia
The weather in Cambodia generally falls under two categories: the wet season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).
Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended for the dry season, when the weather is hot and humid. Visitors may wish to pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts for hiking, trekking, or outdoor activities. A hat and sunglasses may be useful for when walking around under the sun.
During the rainy season, visitors may want to bring a light rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased cheaply in Cambodia) or a sturdy umbrella. A light jacket or cardigan will come in handy during the months of December and January, when temperatures are at their coolest.
When visiting outdoor temples, including those of Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes and hats are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds. visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts and keep their shoulders covered.
What to Bring to Cambodia
- Photocopies of your passport
- At least two passport-size photographs of yourself
- Cash in US$1s, $10s, $20s, $50s
- A folding umbrella or lightweight rain poncho if you plan to visit during the rainy season
- Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry
- An adventurous spirit.