Chinapac: Do's & Don'ts in Cambodia

How should I behave around locals on my Cambodia tour?

In general, respond with a smile and a friendly attitude. Avoid being critical of conditions. Wear appropriate clothing when visiting temples and sacred places. Always remove your shoes when entering a temple, home or business unless told otherwise.


In Southeast Asia, the head is considered the most spiritual part of a person’s body, and the feet are considered the least sacred. Avoid touching people’s heads and never raise your feet higher than somebody else’s head. Pointing with the index finger is considered rude. Instead, gesture with your entire hand, palm facing up.


When on Southeast Asia tours, be sensitive about tradition and respectful of religious beliefs. Monks are highly respected in Southeast Asian society. According to Cambodian traditions, women should never touch or hand anything to a monk. When starting a conversation with a monk, make sure that you are in the same position (sitting or standing up). Also, avoid sitting higher than a monk or elder.


Business, eating and other clean tasks are conducted with the right hand; the left hand is reserved for toilet duties.


Avoid talking about Cambodian politics.


Can I take photographs?

Always ask permission before taking photographs of locals.

Never take photographs of military sites.



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