Cambodia, the country of temples with the harmony between antiquity and modernity is a place deserved to discover. Making a plan for traveling to Cambodia, therefore, is a wise choice for backpackers. However, it is very necessary to memorize something related to Cambodian culture before you arrive in this country. Right now I will reveal to you several things to keep in mind to prepare for traveling to Cambodia.
- Rules of communication
- “Sompiah” is a popular way of greeting toward those who have the social status equal or higher than you. It is the traditional way to say hello of Khmer people by pressing your palms together in front of the nose along with a slight bow. Nowadays, although shaking hands is commonplace and accepted, you can still greet others in this way and then shake their hand.
Sompiah – the traditional way of greeting in Cambodia
- Don’t point at someone directly or touch their head/hair because Cambodians regard it as the sacred body part.
- Be careful when you step so as not to turn the soles of your feet toward somebody. When staying at Khmer people’ home or in a temple, you mustn’t sit by crossing your legs. Instead, sitting with your legs put aside is much better.
- Traveling to Cambodia, it is essential to remember to take off your hat and shoes before you come in temples. Besides, sitting in a higher position than a monk’s is also a taboo. If you are a woman, don’t touch the monks.
- Don’t express your anger. This is a signal of losing control and impoliteness. Under all circumstances, you should keep your smile and calm down to solve the problem.
- Pay attention to your clothes
- Dress simply and discreetly when you visit temples as well as Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. You should also consider buying a T-shirt and sarong matching your clothes before entering a temple.
Krama – a type of scarf helping you avoid sunlight and dust
- Bring krama with yourself when traveling to Cambodia. It is a type of scarf made of cotton which is useful for protecting you from sunlight and dust. In addition, Cambodians also use it with other purposes like bringing something or cuddling the baby.
Transportation in Cambodia is like a mess. When traveling to Cambodia, you ought to haggle before choosing any modes of transport.
Transportation in Cambodia is quite chaotic
Don’t be surprised when you see residents sitting on the roof of a vehicle since they consider that safe and less pricey.
- Shopping tips
When traveling to Cambodia, you should come to traditional markets which have stores selling gemstone, silk, wooden and silver pretties, garments… Famous markets are Central Market in Phnom Penh, Phsar Toul Tompong, Russian Market…
A corner of Russian Market in Cambodia
Be cautious to buy gemstone (new or secondhand) to avoid fake items. Be sure that you will get reliable goods introduced by acquaintances.
- Security and health
- Getting sick in Cambodia is something bad. Emergency services and facilities in hospitals are not good though medical expenses are costly. It is the best for you to buy tourism insurance.
Don’t drink tap water in Cambodia to keep healthy
- Don’t drink tap water and be careful with ice water in restaurants.
- Pay attention to valuables since they can be stolen, especially in Phnom Penh.
Note these tips down and keep them in your mind to have a wonderful trip in Cambodia. I hope you guys will find them useful.
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