Local customs and laws

Cambodians are relaxed and easy-going people. Only crass behaviour, such as patting people on the head or invading their homes uninvited, will upset them.


When visiting a temple, dress respectfully (keep bare flesh to a minimum) and take off your hat and shoes. A small donation is often appropriate. Put your legs to one side and try not to point the soles of your feet at anyone or the Buddha image. Females are not to touch monks or sit beside them on public transport.


Cambodians use their traditional greeting - the 'wai' - bowing with their hands held together. As a foreigner shaking hands is perfectly acceptable.

In private homes

It is polite to take your shoes off on entering the house and a small present goes down well if you are invited for a meal.


Displays of anger or exasperation are considered unacceptable and therefore reflect very badly on the individual. Accordingly, even in adversity, Khmers (like the Thais) will keep smiling. Displays of affection are also considered embarrassing and should be avoided in public areas. To beckon someone, use your hand with the palm facing downwards. Pointing is rude.

All visitors should dress appropriately and women should avoid wearing short skirts, midriff-baring and cleavage-exposing tops, as this may unwittingly attract undesirable attention and potentially offend some people.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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