Cambodia is one of the newest and most attractive tourist destinations on Southeast Asia. It is famous for Angkor temples complex in Siem Reap, cultural sites in Phnom Penh as well as beautiful beaches in Sihanoukville and so on.
Before visiting a country, it is important to look for information about this nation because each country has its own unique culture that travelers should know to avoid unexpected troubles. Here are some useful travel tips which can help you have a safe and budget holiday in Cambodia.
To greeting people who have the same or higher social standard, Cambodian often greets by “sompiah”. Sompiah is a greeting form of Khmer people, they place their both palms together and keep their head down. Although nowadays, greeting by handshake is popular form and acceptable in Cambodia, you also can greet by “sompiah” before shaking hands.
Some etiquette you should remember before visiting this country:
- It is considered rude if you point your feet at anyone or touch their head
- Before entering a temple, ensure that you sit cross-legged to avoid offence. Men should wear long pants and women should avoid clothing that exposes the shoulders.
- Remove your shoes before entering someone’s house and temples
- To pass things politely, touch your left hand to your right elbow and pass the object with your right hand.
You should dress appropriately when visiting temple and bring “karma”. Krama is a kind of cotton towel, used to wrap around head and neck to avoid sunlight and dust. Cambodians also use it to carry baby, tablecloth,…
You will not find a nice, clean public toilet at anywhere in Cambodia. Squat toilets are still popular in this country so before you leave your hotel to go out or shopping especially take a long trip, remember to go to toilet.
Traffic in Cambodia is quite chaotic. The most popular mean of transportation visitors often choose to travel around is tuk tuk. You also can rent a motorbike or cyclo to go around but always remember to bargain carefully before you go and should avoid go in rush hours. There is no surprise when you see a local people sitting on the roof of vehicles because according to them, sitting on the roof like that will be safe and less expensive (?!).
Tips for shopping
If you want to go shopping in Cambodia, you should go to the traditional markets and the markets selling jewels, silk, clothing,… The famous markets you can go are Russian market, Phnom Penh Central Market or Phsar Toul Tompong. Be careful when buying gems or jewels because there are many fake items in here.
The official national currency in Cambodia is Riel but USD is also widely used and accepted in most of areas. Most of banking systems in Cambodia use USD so you don’t need to convert money when traveling in this country.
Although you can pay by credit card in many places, you should prepare a lot of cash because most of travel services in Cambodia only accept pay by cash. Make sure your money is new and not crumpled, they will not accept if your money is dirty especially 100USD note.
Security and health
Emergency services and hospital’s facilities in Cambodia are not very good and medical expenses are quite expensive. You should buy travel insurance before traveling. Do not drink tap water and ice water in restaurants. One more thing, you have to pay attention to preserve your property or valuable items because there are many pickpockets and robberies in this country especially in Phnom Penh.
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