The local Cambodian people are quite reserved and aren’t overly appreciative of seeing public displays of affection; the people living in the provinces can be more conservative in their beliefs. Traditionally, the Cambodian women wouldn’t be seen out socially with a member of the opposite sex. But, today, local attitudes are changing and Cambodia is experiencing a more cosmopolitan lifestyle in the cities and towns with a lot of groups of young males and females out together.
For any travel destination on the Cambodia holidays, the tourists are certain to be more welcomed and respected if well-dressed. Most of the local Cambodians prefer to wear a modest style of clothing with the attire for men a simple pair of long trousers and complementing shirt.
The attire for the women can vary with plenty wearing trousers and jeans with T-shirts or blouses, while others prefer knee-length skirts or sampots (sarongs) in place of trousers. For the younger generation, the girls in the larger cities are more likely to copy their Western counterparts and wear strappy tops and short skirts. But, it is still best to avoid wearing skimpy tops or shorts on the Cambodia tours unless spending the day relaxing on the beach.
If planning to visit the religious structures like the temples on theCambodia tour packages it is important and respectful to wear the type of clothes that covers the shoulder area and legs. Before entering the actual temples it is practical to remove shoes (this tradition is the same for entering a Cambodian home). When entering the temples and sitting inside, it is also important to avoid pointing the feet (soles of your feet) in the direction of any Buddha statue or image
Monks aren’t permitted to touch women, so for the female travellers in Cambodia it is practical to avoid sitting next to monks on the bus or similar public transport, while also being careful when walking close to the monks.
The local Cambodians are quite intrigued by the look of the foreign tourists, so may stare at visitors quite intently which isn't locally seen as rude. Also, for the men travelling on the Cambodia customized tour, it can be seen as quite odd to be wearing earrings, because for the local Cambodia boys wearing an earring is only used in the belief it can help with issues related to an un-descended testicle. Also, any displays of anger aren’t likely to be appreciated with the local Khmers who find this display of emotion quite embarrassing.
The local culture of the Khmer people in Cambodia is very hierarchical. The older generation gets the greatest level of respect. Plus, the Khmer is addressed using a hierarchical title that is placed before their name and relates to seniority. Also, for the older couple that is no longer in a position to support each other, it is quite traditional to invite one of the family’s children to move in with their family to help with the day-to-day running of the home.
The single Khmer person will have a close network of family and friends who are regarded as the closest associates, and the people that would be approached in the event of needing help. The family with the strongest emotional ties is the nuclear family that consists of the husband and a wife and single children. This family group will contribution as a single group to ceremonial obligations, share income and produce, and give aid in the event of trouble.
For the Khmer people that are living in the countryside, the neighbours – who are often related – are quite important in the social organization. Plus, the rural Cambodian is certain to build strong ties with other members living in the village or community. The community live has a strong and proud feeling for the province, the district and the village.
In the Khmer family, the husband is regarded as the head of the family – although the wife can also take on a lot of authority, which often includes taking control of the family economics. The husband must be able to provide a home and food on the table for the family, while to wife is responsible for the finances. Plus, a further role is to provide a stable religious and ethical model for the younger generation, which is especially important for daughters. Issues related to domestic economic tasks are split between the husband and wife.
The handshake is starting to be more common personal greeting in Cambodia and mostly used when two Cambodian men meet or when greeting a foreign traveller on their Cambodia travel. But, for the women in Cambodia, the traditional personal greeting is still followed, which is the sompeyar.
The sompeyar is seen as a sign of respect and a gesture of politeness. It is typically used for greeting monks, as well as Buddha (or the king). Also, it is used towards the older generation, and young children as taught this form of greeting.
In the local Khmer culture the head is regarded to hold a person’s soul – for this reason it is seen to be quite taboo to point your feet at the head or even to touch it. Plus, it is seen as highly disrespectful to have feet pointing at another person while awake or sleeping. The feet are seen as impure because they are the lowest part of the body.
Some of the major customary teachings in Cambodia include: letting other people speak more than you; not to sit with the legs crossed (sitting with legs crossed is seen to be impolite); making sure to gently close doors (otherwise this can mean you have a bad temper); being respectful and telling the elders of your whereabouts and time you are likely to be home; and waking up before sunrise to avoid being seen as lazy.
Also, it isn’t regarded as polite to hold direct eye contract with anyone that is seen as superior or is older.