Etiquette

The Cambodian people are very gracious hosts, but there are some important spiritual and social conventions to observe.

  • Buddhism When visiting temples, cover up to the knees and elbows, and remove your shoes and any head covering when entering temple buildings. Sit with your feet tucked behind you to avoid pointing them at Buddha images. It's also good to leave a small donation. Women should never touch a monk or his belongings.
  • Meet & Greet Called the sompiah, the local greeting in Cambodia involves putting your hands together in a prayer-like manner. Use this when introduced to new Khmer friends. When beckoning someone over, always wave towards yourself with the palm down.
  • Modesty Avoid wearing swimsuits or scanty clothing around towns in Cambodia, even in beach destinations. Wear a sarong to cover up.
  • Saving face Never get into an argument with a Khmer person. It's better to smile through any conflict.