Cambodia Tips for Cultural Norms and Etiquette

Some essentials to know about Cambodia beforehand:

  • Official Name: Kingdom of Cambodia.

  • Capital: Phnom Penh.

  • Language: Khmer.

  • Currency: Riel. USD is also widely accepted. Thai Baht can be used in some border areas.

  • Best time to visit: Dry season from October to April.

That is an overview, now let’s delve into some Cambodia travel tips about cultural etiquette you should take note of when visiting the country:

Traditional Greetings: The traditional greeting in Cambodia is the "Sampeah," a gesture of respect and humility. To perform a Sampeah, place your hands together in a prayer-like gesture and bow slightly. This gesture is used when meeting elders, monks, or in formal settings.

Greeting pose in Cambodia - cambodia travel tips

Greeting pose in Cambodia

Dressing: When visiting religious sites, such as temples and pagodas, it is essential to dress modestly. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees as a sign of respect. Wearing revealing clothing is not appropriate in these sacred spaces.

Removing Shoes: Before entering someone's home or a place of worship, it is customary to remove your shoes. This practice symbolizes leaving the dirt and negativity outside and entering with a pure heart.

Respect for Monks: Monks hold a revered position in Cambodian society. When in the presence of monks, you should maintain a respectful distance and avoid touching them. 

Dining Etiquette: When enjoying a meal with locals, it is customary to wait for the host to commence eating before you start. Utilize your right hand for dining, as the left hand is deemed impure. Additionally, avoid inserting chopsticks vertically into your rice bowl, as this action bears resemblance to funeral rituals.

Cambodia travel tips to save your money

Respect Cambodia local custom and enjoy its culture

Etiquette for Photography: It is essential to seek permission before capturing photographs of individuals, particularly monks and locals. Some might feel uneasy or view it as intrusive if consent is not obtained beforehand.

Bargaining at Markets: Haggling is a common practice at local markets in Cambodia. However, approach bargaining with a friendly and respectful attitude. It is about finding a fair price and enjoying the interaction with the vendor.

Safety Tips for Cambodia

By being proactive and mindful, you can enjoy a worry-free experience and focus on exploring the country's wonders. We also encourage you to consider the following Cambodia travel tips:

Be Vigilant in Public Spaces: Like in any unfamiliar place, it is crucial to remain alert in crowded areas, markets, and public transportation. Keep a close eye on your belongings, and use a secure bag or money belt to deter pickpockets.

cambodia travel tips

Always keep a close eye on your belongings when you go around places 

Adhere to local customs and laws: Take the time to acquaint yourself with Cambodia's laws and traditions to prevent unintentional transgressions. For example, possessing drugs is unlawful and can result in serious repercussions. Always demonstrate reverence for religious sites and symbols.

Take a picture of the bike you rent: To make sure that you won’t be charged for existing damage.

Transportation safety: Choose reputable transportation options and licensed drivers for tuk-tuks, taxis, or motorbike rentals such as PassApp, Exnet Taxi, EZ Go, Uber, Grab. Check for seat belts in vehicles, and exercise caution when crossing busy streets.

Cambodia emergency phone numbers:

  • Fire department: 118

  • Police: 117

  • Ambulance: 119

  • Roadside assistance: 115

  • Tourist police: 123

Keep hydrated: When traveling in Cambodia's tropical climate, you will need to stay well-hydrated. It is essential to carry a refillable water bottle as tap water is not suitable for direct consumption.

cambodia travel tips

Fun traveling in Cambodia

Your personal papers: Make copies of your important personal documents, including your passport, ID, ticket, etc. Keep a separate set of these important papers. Inform your family members and friends about your itinerary.

Travel insurance: Opting for travel insurance is a prudent decision to safeguard yourself from illness, injuries, theft, and trip cancellations during your travels.

To get the full picture, visit our article on travel guide to Cambodia!

Cambodia Nightlife Tips

You will enjoy exploring a part of Cambodian nightlife with streetside bars and night markets offering a wide range of options for drinks, cuisine, and shopping. Remember a few Cambodia travel tips before immersing yourself in the experience:

Avoid solo ventures, travel with friends: Traveling in a group adds an extra layer of safety and companionship during your night out.

Securely store your belongings: Be cautious with your belongings and keep them secure at all times. Use a crossbody bag or money belt to deter potential pickpockets and avoid leaving valuables unattended.

cambodia travel tips

Travel with your friends

Watch your drinks: While drink spiking incidents are rare in Cambodia, protecting your drinks is always essential when going out. Keep a close eye on your drinks and never leave them unattended. If you are unsure about a drink's safety, it is better to get a fresh one from a reputable establishment.

Drink responsibly: While it's tempting to indulge in Cambodia's lively nightlife, drinking excessively can compromise your safety. You wouldn't want to be caught drunk alone in crowded places, and this could also affect your other travel schedules. Pace yourself and stay mindful of your alcohol consumption.

Prioritize your health during your trip: If you don't feel well or encounter any health concerns during the night, communicate with your friends and travel companions immediately. It is essential to prioritize your health and seek assistance if needed.

Budget Travel Tips for Cambodia

Exploring Cambodia on a tight budget doesn't imply compromising the depth of your experience. By carefully planning and being resourceful, you can discover the charms of this captivating country without overspending. Here are some Cambodia travel tips to help you out:

Cambodia travel tips to save your money

Cambodia travel tips to save your money

Choose affordable accommodations: Cambodia offers a wide range of budget-friendly accommodations, from guesthouses to hostels and homestays at the cost of 10 USD. Look for options that provide comfort, safety, and convenient locations without burning a hole in your pocket.

Eat at local eateries and street food: Savoring the flavors of Cambodia at local eateries not only brings the authentic local culinary experience but also a cost-saving way when traveling. Street food dishes are often very diverse and start from as low as 1 USD.

Bargaining: As I mentioned above, bargaining while traveling in Cambodia is quite common, not only when you go to markets or rent a motorbike but also when you rent a room or negotiate the fare for a tuk-tuk ride. 

Use local transportation: Utilize local transportation options like tuk-tuks and public buses to get around. You can also check for nearby attractions for a convenient walking tour yourself. 

cambodia group travel for cheaper price

You can negotiate for group discounts when traveling together

Advance planning: Making early bookings for flights, accommodations, and tours can frequently result in significant discounts. Seize the opportunity of early bird offers and special promotions to maximize the value of your budget.

Travel during the off-season: Consider visiting Cambodia during the low season from May to September when prices for accommodations and flights are generally lower. You will also enjoy fewer crowds and a more intimate experience at popular tourist sites.

Opt for local sim cards: Purchase a local SIM card with data to access maps, translations, and stay in touch with loved ones without incurring exorbitant roaming charges. The price of a SIM card in Cambodia ranges from $1 to $5. You may need to buy for more $3 - $7 USD/week for data and calling service.

Cambodia travel tips for first time comers

Cambodia travel tips for first time comers

We hope these essential Cambodia tips have empowered you for a journey filled with wonder, cultural immersion, and unforgettable experiences. We understand that each traveler's journey to Cambodia will be filled with unique memories and experiences. New Asia Tours would love to hear your own experiences and other Cambodia Travel Tips in the comments section below, feel free to share with us! And if you want to explore both Vietnam and Cambodia, make sure not to miss our package tours!