Most countries have their own etiquette and social boundaries but these are more prevalent and respected in Cambodia. The Cambodian people are generally polite and placid people and can be easily offended, though Cambodians tend to refrain from confrontation.
The traditional greeting is by pressing both hands together as if praying and slightly bowing. It is polite to return the greeting in the same way.
In order to save embarrassment to you and your hosts, we have a few tips:
- The top of the head is regarded as the repository of the soul, so touching a child or adult on the head is highly disrespectful.
- Losing one’s temper is counterproductive and seen as a loss of face and should be avoided.
- On entering temples or homes, hats and shoes should be removed. In temples, shorts are not permitted. Nor are t-shirts and bare shoulders for women.
- Turn feet away from any sacred statue.
- Sunbathing in a bikini is considered offensive.
- When offered food or drink it is polite to take at least a sip or a bike to prevent the host from losing face.