Visiting Cambodia will bring you unforgettable memories with majestically gilded temples and friendly, hospitable people. However, there are 5 must-know taboos you have to avoid when stepping on this beautiful land, otherwise, you will certainly get big troubles during your trip. Keep in mind the following taboos to have the greatest Cambodia tour!

Taboos in pagodas & temples

In the Buddhist country like Cambodia, pagodas and temples are the most sacred places that are highly respected by the residents. As a result, you must be careful with your manners and behaviors to avoid incidentally blaspheming the Buddha and the monks which are strongly punished by the Cambodian government.Taboos in pagodas temples Cambodia

– You must dress neatly and discreetly before entering the pagodas and the temples as a way to honor these religious landscapes. Do not wear mini-skirts, shorts, sleeveless shirts or slippers otherwise you will be kept outsides.
– Touching, sitting up, drawing graffiti, or signing on the walls and the statues of the temples are also strictly prohibited.
– If you want to buy a statue of the Buddha, you should keep it in the solemn place. Putting the statue in the pants pocket will be considered as offending the beliefs and the national religion of their country.
– When visiting the ancient gilded pagodas, it is irresistible to take pictures. However, you have to ask the monks or the local people before doing that because it may not be allowed to take a photo in the pagodas and the temples. Breaking this taboo will result in the warning or even imprisonment.
– The women are not allowed to touch the monks on the streets or in the pagodas, which is supposed to maculate their noble dignity.

Be careful when talking about the royals

In Cambodia, besides the Buddhism, the Royals are the inviolable people and respected by the whole nation. It is also taboo if you accidentally step on the national currency (riel) which is printed the image of the royals. Since February 2018, the Cambodia Congress has approved of the punishment for the lese majesty in which blaspheming the King will be attributed to being a criminal case, being financially punished up to 10 million riels (about USD 2500) and even imprisoned from one to five years. Therefore, you need to be mindful when talking about the royals and using the stuff that carries their image such as money, the national flag, etc.Be careful when talking about the royals in Cambodia

When visiting the local houses

It will be an honor if you are invited to visit a Cambodian host. Not only the delicious traditional food but also unique customs will create memorable highlights during your trip. However, it is essential for you to know about the taboos and daily practice to avoid the cultural conflicts between you and the host.
– Similar to some of the Asian countries, you need to take off your shoes before entering the house to keep the ground clean and arrange them neatly in the right place. You can follow the others or ask about the place to put the shoes away.

– During the meals, you should wait until the elderly and the senior eat first, then you can start, which shows the politeness and honor to the host.
– In order to respond to the hospitality from the host, you can bring some small gifts such as fruits, flowers or your country specialties when visiting the local house.Homestay Cambodia

Taboos in daily communication

In many countries, rubbing the children’s heads are considered as expressing the affection to the loved ones while it is totally a negative action to the Cambodian. The reason is that the head is the noblest and important part according to the local belief which is untouchable, except the parents and the gods. As a result, do not touch, stroke the hair or rub the head of the local people to avoid regrettable conflicts.
Besides, when you want to give something to the local people, remember to use your right hand. For the Cambodian, the left hand is the “dirty” one that is used for daily hygiene and it will be impolite when giving and receiving from the others by the left hand.
Similar to taking the pictures in the pagodas, you will have to ask for permission before taking a photo of the local people or the monks if you do want to get a trouble. Normally, smiling in Cambodia means scrupulosity; therefore, make sure that they allow you to take photos. Moreover, they also abstain to take a picture of three people, which result in the bad luck for the person in the middle based on their traditional conception.

One recommendation for sitting pose is to avoid turning your feet towards the others or the statues of Buddha, which is the vulgar gesture for the local people.Taboos in daily communication in Cambodia

Taboos in the public places

– Dress elegantly and do not wear revealing clothing when you are in the public places because it will be annoyed and offensive to the residents. The shorts are just for the boys so that you should wear trousers if you are mature.

– The Cambodian also do not like to express the love in the public places so you are highly recommended not to embrace, hug or kiss in the crowded sites.
– It is the taboo to tease or flirt with the Cambodian girls and women, which makes the native people angry and may cause bloodshed affrays.Taboos in the Cambodia public places