RESPECT in Cambodia
As with the rest of Southeast Asia, the head is considered the highest and most spiritual part of a person’s body. The feet are considered the dirtiest and least
• Never touch a Cambodian person on the head, even
• Never raise your feet higher than someone’s head.
• When seated on the ground, tuck your feet beneath
you so that they do not point at someone.
• Unless told otherwise, always remove your shoes
before entering a home or business.
• Do not use your left hand to touch, eat, or hand
• Pointing with your index finger is considered rude. Instead, gesture with your right hand palm-up.
How to Greet in Cambodia
The traditional Cambodian greeting - known as
‘Som Pas’ - is done by putting your two hands together
(with fingertips near the chin) and giving a slight bow with your head. The hands are held higher to show more respect to elders and monks.
Many Cambodians choose to shake hands with visitors.
It is considered very rude not to return a greeting.
Proper Dress in Cambodia
Modest dress is the rule in Cambodia, particularly for women. Although many tourists wear shorts to deal
with the heat, the locals tend to cover as much skin as possible.
Men in Cambodia typically wear collared shirts and long pants. Women should not wear short skirts above
their knees or show their shoulders.
Respect for Elders
Aside from monks, elders are given the highest level of respect in Cambodia. Always acknowledge an elder’s
status by allowing them to control the conversation, walk first, and take the lead.
Buddhist Monks in Cambodia
Practically anywhere that you go in Cambodia, you are sure to see Buddhist monks dressed in colored robes. The monks are highly respected
•Women should never touch a monk, even the monk’s
mother may not do so.
• If a monk is seated, you should sit also before
starting a conversation.
• Monks are not allowed to eat in the afternoon -
be mindful by not eating or snacking around them.
Temples in Cambodia
Whether visiting temples or one of the smaller pagodas in Siem Reap, always show respect by following
• Remove shoes and hats before entering the worship
area - no one is exempted.
• Turn off mobile phones and MP3 players.
• Avoid loud or disrespectful conversation inside of
• Dress modestly by wearing long pants and covering
• Avoid sitting higher than seated monks.
• Do not touch a Buddha statue and ask for
permission before taking photos. If you do take
photos, drop a small donation in the box.
Visiting a Local’s Home in
Getting invited to someone’s home for dinner may be a highlight of your trip to Cambodia.
Follow these guidelines:
• Remove your shoes, even if not told to do so by your
• Remove your hat while indoors.
• It is polite to bring a small gift such as fruit, flowers,
or candy to your host; hand your gift to them with
• Always wait for the eldest to sit. The same applies to
when beginning to eat.
• Avoid conversation about business or war when at
Name: Salita Chheang
Name: Monyneath Novsam
NORMS in Cambodia
RESPECT in Cambodia