Cultural Awareness


Dress codes

  • Respect local dress standards, particularly at religious sites. Covering the upper arms and upper legs is appropriate, although some monks will be too polite to enforce this. Always remove your shoes before entering a temple, as well as any hat or head covering. Nude sunbathing is considered totally inappropriate.

Making a donation or giving gifts.

  • Since most temples are maintained from the donations received, remember to make a small contribution when visiting a temple. Remember Monks are considered venerable and may not ask from you, instead you may offer (give) to them. When visiting a Khmer home, a small token of gratitude in the form of a gift is always appreciated.

Meet and greet

  • Learn the Cambodian greeting, the sompiah, and use it when introducing yourself to new friends., in polite society men should not offer to shake the hand of a women they have just met, instead the sompiah is appropriate, offering to shake the hand of a man is acceptable.  When beckoning someone over, always wave towards yourself with the palm down, as palm up with fingers raised can be suggestive, even offensive.

A woman's touch

  • Monks are not supposed to touch or be touched by women. If a woman wants to hand something to a monk, the object should be placed within reach of the monk or on the monk's 'receiving cloth'.

Keep your cool

  • No matter how high your blood pressure rises, do not raise your voice or show signs of aggression (Cambodians have seen enough aggression). This will lead to a 'loss of face' and cause embarrassment to the locals, ensuring the situation gets worse rather than better. If you can’t resolve an issue ask to see someone more senior.

Banta & Haggling

  • Don’t be irritated by constant touting in tourist precincts, be polite, make eye contact and decline the request if you’re not interested, you may be pleasantly surprised by the cheeky smile and sparkling eyes as they realise you were polite enough to acknowledge them.  After all it’s just a job, and they like all of us have responsibilities.  You can haggle prices in markets or politely ask for the best price, be reasonable and remember a little goes a long way in Cambodia.

Exploitation of Minors

  • Cambodians often have large families and believe it takes extended family and a village to raise their children. Like almost all of the world’s population they expect and wish for a safe environment for them to grow and learn.  Exploitation by locals and or international citizen of any minor is totally rejected and will be dealt with harshly by the legal system and local communities.  We at Sakmut Boutique Hotel will not condone in anyway the exploitation of minors and will report to authorities any breaches we suspect for immediate investigation.

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