Cambodians are a conservative people and what’s acceptable back home may be inappropriate here
While shorts and a singlet are acceptable clothing at the beach they are not suitable in the city or countryside, despite the heat of the day, so try to dress modestly. Upper arms and legs should be covered, especially at religious sites such as Banteay Srei temple.
Learn the correct gestures
Khmers greet one another with a sompiah, holding both hands together and bowing slightly. To show more respect, move your hands higher and bow lower. Keep your palm down when beckoning someone towards you.
Learn some of the language
Try to learn a few words of Khmer during your stay. The locals may laugh at your pronunciation, but they will respect you for trying and it may get you a better price when you're haggling for a bargain at the market. See the Khmer Language Glossary to get you started.
Remove your shoes
When entering a religious site or someone’s house (and many places of business), take off your shoes and leave them outside.
Use both hands
Use either your right hand or, better still, both hands if you’re passing something to someone. If you use your right hand, as a sign of respect touch your right elbow with your left hand at the same time.
DON'T LOSE IT
Don’t criticise others, even if they are in the wrong and especially not in public or they will ‘lose face’. Just smile through gritted teeth and offer a sompiah.
DON'T GIVE OUT SWEETS
Don’t give out sweets or candy to children as this will damage their teeth and encourages begging (and dependency) from a young age.
EAT WITH THE FAMILY
Do eat with the family if invited. It is customary to share the food from communal bowls and spoon it on to your rice. Leave a very small amount of food to show you are full or the rice will keep on coming.
Check with a host family what time electricity is provided as it may not be 24 hours in rural areas. Do not leave electric lights on over night as electricity is expensive.