"Good manners will open doors
that the best education cannot" -
Quote by Clarence Thomas
"Cambodia culture" was last updated on Jan 12, 2014
Here's an easy introduction to the Cambodian culture!
Cambodian people are friendly and open towards foreigners. The years go by and they get more and more used to tourists and backpackers.
Why you should read about the Cambodian culture:
... If you do make a mistake - apologize genuinely with a smile. No one's perfect. Everyone can make a mistake. As long as you know that you made a mistake and do something about it - you'll be alright.
"Hello" (the informal way) = Suos' Dey
"How are you?" =Ter niak sok sabai?
"Sok sabai" = I'm fine
"Thank you" = Ar Kun
Learning local phrases is a good way to break the ice, like if you're in the store and just buying some snacks, or when a local approaches you and want to start a conversation - their smiles when you say those words in their mother tongue is just... you can't buy that kind of happiness!!!
Pssssst! When you read the tips below on Cambodia Culture, have in mind that the society in Cambodia is hierarchical.
Picture the monks and the elderly on the top of a pyramid, while the younger ones are on a bottom/mid level.
The traditional way of greeting locals, called Satu, is to bow your head and bring your hands together at chest level, like if you were praying.
When you meet monks and elderly locals, initiate the Satu. If they don't Satu back, don't be offended. The monks share the same status as the King and the Buddha.
Don't Satu to locals who are considered as inferior (hate to write that word, but then again... HIERARCHY). That would be servants and alike. And don't need to Satu to people who are younger than you. They should be initiating the Satu.
First thing first: Don't raise your voice (at least not in public) and don't get angry. Do as they do, and just walk away.
The Cambodian people (young and old) are very curious and many of them can't speak English. They will sometimes stop or walk to you just to exchange some English words.
Be polite, smile and take some time to talk to them. It's the easiest way of getting to know the locals and how they live. Most backpackers are excellent at researching the country they're visiting. But in my opinion, it is always better to hear it from the locals how the Cambodian people are, rather than just reading about it in the Lonely Planet.
Here the locals are having a good time :-)
When you're visiting the rural areas of Cambodia, you'll notice the heavy poverty.
You will experience that packs of children approach you and reaches out their hand - looking at you with their dark brown eyes. Many poor families send their cute children to do the dirty job, which is beg for money. This is a common sight. Be prepared.
If I were you, I wouldn't give these children money. It's logical that parents take their children out of school if they can get quick money by sending their children.
Instead of giving children money, carry pens and notebooks so you can give it to them.
The famous hill tribes of Cambodia are called Khmer Loeu, which are non-Khmer highland tribes. The Khmer Loeu can be divided into 13 distinct minority groups and they can be found in Modulkiri, Stung Treng and Ratanakiri.
These exciting and reserved hill tribes come from a different cultural background than the Lowland Cambodians. This means that they have different customs, appearance, religion and survival strategies.
When I read about the Khmer Loeu, I found some interesting stuff about their culture!
How can you prepare yourself for backpacking in Asia?
This safety article is a taste of what you can expect in one of my ebooks, "Ticket to safe backpacking." This ebook details everything concerning backpacking safety and how to avoid scams while traveling.
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