The Impact of Culture on Daily Life in Cambodia

The travellers who usually get the most out of their holidays are those who make an attempt to understand the customs and mores of the local people, and behave accordingly. It does not make sense to do otherwise. It is impossible to learn sufficient of a foreign language before visiting a foreign country to talk extensively during your travels but a few words, perhaps simple greetings, are often appreciated. What is possible to learn how you can expect to be greeted, and what is expected of you so that you don’t go against local traditions.

Chumreap Suor may be the first two words you will hear when you meet a Cambodian. All greetings are respectful with a local pressing his or her hands together in front of the chest, followed by a slight bow. This is known as a Sampeah. The higher the hands and the lower the bow, the greater the respect being conveyed.

It is the traditional form of meeting though it has been replaced by a handshake in some instances. It would be a shame if it disappeared completely. It is unlikely to do so in rural areas, even those regularly visited on Cambodia tour packages. Certainly, the Sampeah is always the way you will be greeted by someone elderly, and the way the elderly will greet each other, men as well as women. Just be ready to respond in the same way as you are greeted.

Respect is an essential part of daily life; its tradition goes back centuries and is interwoven with religion and love of ancestors who are still worshipped regularly. There are many religious landmarks in Cambodia and it is essential that people enjoying a Cambodia holiday understand how to behave and how to dress when visiting such places. They are not for casual dress, no matter how high the temperature might be. You should have cotton clothing perhaps, something that will keep you as cool as possible but which will ensure that shoulders and legs are covered.

It is simple enough to learn a few pieces of etiquette that are part of Cambodian culture. You should never lose your temper in public or do anything that may lead to a Cambodian losing face, perhaps in negotiating as a good example? Compliments are appreciated when warranted.

It is important not to touch anyone’s head, even a child while avoid pointing with your feet in any way, especially when cross-legged. Pointing in general is regarded as rude. You may mean no harm but you should avoid touching a member of the opposite sex in public while you should always respect the elderly as well as the monks that you are certain to come across during your Cambodia travel.

It is polite to ask before taking a photograph of both people, and monks in temples. To get the maximum pleasure from a Cambodia travel package, you should think about doing a little research before you travel.