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Traveler's Guide: 13 Guidelines for Travelers in Cambodia
Image Source: Google.com

Traveler’s Guide: 13 Guidelines for Travelers in Cambodia

Cambodia welcomes many visitors each year, but some common tourist actions can inadvertently cause offense due to traditional norms. As guests, it’s best to respect local customs. This post outlines 13 things to avoid in Cambodia tours – from money handling to sacred symbols – to navigate daily life sensitively without faux pas. Whether planning your first or fifth vacation in Cambodia, keep reading for insights on cultural awareness as you explore this beautiful country.

1. Avoid Carrying Single Currency

Cambodia utilizes both the US dollar and riel. While dollars are widely used, riel is necessary for smaller purchases under $1. Not carrying both currencies can cause issues when exact change is required. Most ATM withdrawals provide dollars only, so obtain some riel upon arrival to Cambodia to pay deposits, tips, and purchases below $1 smoothly without hassle. Staying flexible with the dual monetary system makes transactions seamless.

2. Don’t Go For Elephant Rides

Riding elephants supports cruel practices. Babies are separated from their mothers and adults endure harsh training involving beatings. Carrying people also risks injury. Viewing rescued elephants relaxing at sanctuaries is better than upsetting them. Donate to ethical care centers instead of rides which encourage mistreatment. Let’s help ensure elephants’ kind treatment.

Don’t Go For Elephant Rides
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3. Avoid Drinking Tap Water

When in Cambodia tours, don’t drink the water that comes straight from the pipes. The tap water isn’t treated properly and can easily make you sick to your stomach. Instead, stick to bottled water which is cheap and widely available. Buy the big bottles to cut down on plastic waste rather than lots of small ones. Play it safe by only drinking sealed water during your travels here. One less thing to worry about means you can focus on enjoying the sights!

4. Avoid Feeding Or Giving Money To The Beggars

Some beggars in Cambodia don’t really need help. Kids get taken from school just to ask tourists for money. Giving cash might help bad groups who steal from nice people. If you want to help, give food instead of money. Or donate to real charities that help long-term. That helps people better without risks. Both you and beggars stay safer if you’re smart about scams. Give to groups you can trust, not on the street.

5. Do Not Disrespect Monks

Monks are highly respected in Cambodian culture. Never touch a monk or their belongings as it is considered impure. Also, avoid making direct eye contact which can be seen as challenging. When passing one, keep your distance and bow your head respectfully. Do not take their photos without permission. It is also forbidden to hand anything directly – place objects down for them to accept. 

Follow the locals’ lead in interactions and observe temples’ strict dress codes of covering shoulders/knees. Upholding traditions shows appreciation for Cambodia’s Buddhist heritage. Proper etiquette prevents offense to both monks and those visiting holy places.

6. Don’t Take Your Skin For Granted

Cambodia’s sun and pollution are tough on uncovered skin. Lather on a high SPF sunscreen — even on cloudy days UV rays can burn. Reapply often when active outdoors. Wear a hat too since almost half of the rays reflect up from surfaces. The pollution in cities like Phnom Penh isn’t good for the skin either. Consider a face mask on bad air quality days. Pack moisturizer also since the climate may dry you out. Guide to Smoother Skin Taking simple steps shields your skin so you can enjoy your vacation in Cambodia without annoyance from burns, breakouts, or irritation. A little prevention makes a big difference to comfort levels in a new environment.

7. Don’t Rely Totally On Internet

The Internet can be spotty in Cambodia, especially outside cities. WiFi may drop, and 4G speeds vary. Don’t count on reliable connectivity for maps, posts, or streaming. Before activities, download what you need. Bring backup entertainment like books too. Let contacts at home know you may have limited access. With that expectation, connection struggles won’t ruin your Cambodia tour.

Don’t Rely Totally On Internet
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8. Strolling Casually Into The Temples Isn’t Allowed

Cambodia’s ornate temples have rules for modest dress – often covering shoulders and knees. Signs outline proper attire like long skirts. Carry a scarf in case needed. Leave large bags at the entrance since items inside could touch images. Respect entry procedures too like removing shoes. Taking a minute to learn guidelines ensures smooth, considerate visits so you can appreciate the sites as local customs intend.

9. Don’t Neglect The Hygiene

Bathrooms when traveling in Cambodia sometimes leave something to be desired. Toss wet wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer in your bag so you’re ready for anything. You may have to squat outside without plumbing in rural spots. Bring your own soap and be careful in showers. Street food is tasty but dirty hands can make you sick – pack antibacterial gel. Drink only sealed water as the tap isn’t always clean. Taking small steps like coming prepared helps you stay healthy and have fun without worrying about the bathroom or stomach issues messing with your holiday to Cambodia.

10. Avoid Clicking Pictures Of Food

Tempting as it is to photograph Cambodia’s artfully arranged dishes, doing so without permission could cause offense. Some meals pay respect to ancestors, and markets have rules against pictures over safety. Be culturally aware – either ask vendors or simply immerse yourself in the tastes without worrying about getting the perfect shot. Enjoy the experience fully.

11. Don’t Touch Someone’s Head Or Show Feet To Them

In Cambodia, the head and feet hold special significance. Avoid touching others’ heads or showing the sole of your foot to people. When sitting, position your feet below or behind you instead of pointing them at others. Don’t step over or between individuals either. Proper posture in temples demonstrates respect. Small gestures go a long way in avoiding disrespect and showing appreciation for local customs.

12. Avoid Dressing Immodestly

Cambodian culture appreciates modest dress. Avoid shorts, skirts, or tops with lots of skin on display. Conservative lengths covering shoulders and knees are preferred. Light, loose fabrics work well for hot weather while being respectful. Bring a shawl or sarong to fully cover up as needed at temples or living areas. With minor clothing adjustments, you’ll fit in seamlessly and avoid stares.

13. Don’t Forget Your Etiquette

Simple etiquette is appreciated in Cambodia. Use your right hand for eating and greetings, not the left. Remove shoes when entering homes. Be polite and say “sorry,” or “please” with a smile. Elders and monks demand respect – keep your distance. Small acts of courtesy like these help you engage respectfully with locals. Mind your manners to foster stronger connections.In closing, the following tips on Cambodian culture, manners, and scams help visitors interact smoothly and safely. Planning for an unstable internet keeps trips on track. Threeland Travel is a Vietnam Travel Agency that crafts mindful holidays to Cambodia upholding ethics and community aid. Contact our guides to plan a responsible Cambodia tour to make a difference.