Local habits

You are greeted by both hands pressed together in prayer and a slight bow. It is greatly appreciated if you answer the greeting in the same way. Take off your hat or cap to show respect.

Temple habits
Respect local dress standards and do not enter a temple scarcely dressed. Cover shoulders and upper arms, and wear no shorts. Take off your shoes before entering a temple, as well as your hat or cap. If you sit down, turn the bottom of your feet away from a sacred image or a monk.
Temples are mainly maintained by donations, so when you leave, a small donation is more than welcome. A monk is supposed not to touch or be touched by a woman. Respect this habit.

Cambodia is great for taking pictures. If you are photographing monks or people, ask them for permission. If people object, respect that. There are people who believe that their soul is taken away when you take a picture. Also be careful when photographing children, because recent measures are taken against improper use of children photos by Westerners.

Tipping in a restaurant or hotel, hairdresser or spa is quite common. The average income is low, and the tips are a much needed additional income.

In a poor country like Cambodia you see beggars everywhere, especially in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Some are handicapped by landmines. It is entirely up to you to give anything or not. Remember that in Buddhism people have the habit of donating to those who are less fortunate than themselves. On the other hand, it is often the children you want to give to, but be reluctant herein. Usually they need to give the money to family and it doesn’t encourage them to earn their money in a different way. Give them food or attention!

Bargaining is common practice, particularly in tourist areas. The aim should be a realistic price. Remember that for us a bit more or less does not matter. For locals a few cents more can mean food or no food for the day.

Authenticity of articles
In Cambodia, there are many counterfeit articles. Gemstones and silver are often not real.
You will also find souvenirs, made of (rare) animals or shells. Do not buy these articles as it would support the extinction of these animals! Remember when buying the above articles that importing them to Europe is prohibited and can lead to heavy fines !

Cambodia is a safe country to travel. However, like in many tourist areas, theft takes place. Pay attention to your bag and belongings and do not carry them on the side where scooters are driving. Do not wear valuable jewelry. Use safes in hotels and  don't leave any valuables behind.
Don’t walk in the dark in remote alleys. Prostitution, child trafficking and HIV is a problem in Cambodia. Be warned.
Furthermore, don’t go off the paths in remote areas. Landmines are cleared in many areas and it is safe, but in remote areas landmines are still found.

Safety in traffic
Motorbikes and tuc tuc drivers are often reckless. Especially at night you must pay attention to the traffic. You can better wait to cross, especially if you have kids with you. Driving a car yourself is not recommended, given the state of the roads and difficulties of having a valid driving license. It is a better option to hire a car with driver. In principle you can ride a motorbike, although it is not really recommended.

Plugs and voltage
Standard current used is 220 volts. The plugs and sockets vary from hotel to hotel, usually it's the 2-plug Northern European or the flat 2-plug American one. Please note that power cuts are quite common, especially outside the major cities. A flashlight is very useful!

Internet and mobile phones
Most hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap haves Wi-Fi. In these cities the mobile network is  fairly reliable. However, outside these cities internet is often slow or not available, and the mobile network is sometimes limited.

Khmer is the official language in Cambodia. The Khmer script is unreadable for us. English is spoken in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but not much elsewhere.

Opening hours
Shops: 7 days a week
7:30 am - 18:00 pm, sometimes closed at lunch time from 11:00 am.
Museums: mostly 8:00 am - 17:00 pm
Royal Palace Phnom Penh is closed from 11:00 am - 14:00 pm and sometimes unexpected when King Noroddom Sihamoni holds a ceremony
Banks: mostly Mon-Fri 8:00 am - 15.00pm