Kingdom of Cambodia
Population: 14.7 million
Capital City: Phnom Penh (Pop: 2 million)
People: Khmers (90%)
Currency: Riel and US dollars
Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours
International Dialing Code: +855
Cambodia is a country of incredible history and culture, and is quickly rising a top destination for its beauty, historical monuments and testaments to a torrid history. Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is also a destination for travellers in search of magnificent remnants of ancient cultures. Between stunning stretches of scenery in Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong Delta, the Kingdom of Cambodia is a gem of Southeast Asia.
Culture and customs
Etiquette and cultural differences
Experiencing different cultures is one of the joys of travelling and it is important that these differences are respected. Cambodia has cultural norms and taboos which we encourage visitors to understand and abide by.
Try not to get angry. Showing any frustrations or annoyances by shouting or becoming abusive is extremely impolite and it is unlikely to achieve a positive outcome. The Khmer’s don’t like to ‘lose face’.
Refrain from public displays of affection, they are considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples holding hands. However, it is quite common for friends of the same sex.
It is polite to remove your shoes before entering a house – look for shoes at the front door as a clue.
Cambodians greet each other with a slight bow and a prayer-like gesture, with the younger or lower-ranked person usually initiating the gesture. For foreigners and business, handshakes are acceptable.
Temple visit etiquette
Foreigners are always welcome in temples. However, it is important that a few simple rules of etiquette are followed:
Dress appropriately and act with the utmost respect when visiting Wats (pagodas) and other religious sites, including the temples of Angkor.
Do not wear shorts or tank tops and make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.
Remove your shoes and hat before going into a vihara (monastery).
If you sit down in front of the dais (the platform on which the Buddha’s are placed), sit with your feet to the side rather than in the lotus position.
Never point your finger or the soles of your feet towards a person or a figure of the Buddha.
A woman may accept something from a monk but should never touch a monk.
Show respectand turn off mobile phones, remove headphones, lower your voice and avoid in appropriate conversation.
Please note: The central tower of Angkor Wat is closed to visitors on Buddhist holidays.
Food and drink
It is not advisable to drink tap water in Cambodia. Bottled water is cheap and widely available.
Khmer cuisine, considered one of the healthiest in the world, has much in common with the food of neighbouring Thailand, although it is generally not as spicy. It is also similar to Vietnamese food, due to its shared colonial French history. The most well-known Cambodian dish is amok. Amok is a coconut based curry traditionally cooked with fish, however it is not uncommon to have it with chicken.
See tour Taste of the South 9 days