Angkor & Temples
Eco Tourism Area
DO’S & DON’TS
An excerpt from the book:
“Cambodian strolls and proverbs” by Isabelle FOURNIER-NICOLLE & Anne-Yvonne GUILLOU
“Chohl Steung T’aam Baatt, Chohl Toohk T’aam Kompong, Chohl Srok T’aam Prohtehs”.
“Travel up the river (by) following its meanders, Moor the dugout canoe to the jetty, Enter the country through its borders”…
… is in fact an invitation for visitors to the Kingdom “that one must respect local customs and adapt/adjust to them (and not the other way round)! Chol Tuk not only means “to moor” but also to “get in the dugout canoe”.
Be it while visiting temples, beachcombing or simply hanging around, you will come to interact with the People of Cambodia who are well-known for their traditional hospitality and warmth. Out of respect to the Khmer traditions, visitors to the Kingdom should take care to observe local customs and practices. You may find it useful to familiarize yourself with the following common Do’s and Don’ts before embarking on your trip to Cambodia.
- Ask for permission before taking photographs of any Cambodian people or monks.
- It is customary to remove your shoes when entering a place of worship such as a pagoda or a sacred spot in the temple. Additionally, visitors should dress appropriately when visiting and when being inside the premises of a religious site, e.g. Angkor Temples, Royal Palace (shoulders and upper arms with a shirt or blouse, and legs and knees should be covered with long pants or long skirt – no mini shorts and miniskirt above the knees – , and hats removed when entering the sanctuaries or Vihear).
- It is respectful to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home.
- Though not always expected, a respectful way of greeting another individual is to bow the head slightly with hands pressed together at the chest (known as “Sampeah”).
- If invited to dine in a Cambodian family’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift for the host such as fruit, dessert, or flowers.
- If invited to attend a Cambodian wedding, it is customary to bring an envelope with cash as a wedding gift.
- When using a toothpick at the table, use one hand to cover your mouth.
- Keep business cards ready, and present them with both hands. Accept business cards with both hands.
- Last but not least, protect yourself from the heat and sun and do drink plenty of bottled water as to avoid severe dehydration.
- Don’t use your feet to point at someone as it is considered extremely insensitive and impolite.
- Don’t touch a Cambodian person (be it an adult or a child) on the head.
- Don’t begin eating if you are a guest at a dinner and the host has yet to take a bite.
- Women should never touch male monks or hand something directly to them.
- Keep public displays of affection to a respectful minimum.
- Keep business cards ready, and present them with both hands. Accept business cards with both hands.
- Travel safely and do not put your own life at risk.
- Do not litter; keep our community clean and safe.
- Plastic bags can be hazardous; dispose them properly and help keep our city and streets clean and tidy.
- In any situation, do keep a smile on the face as this will also help your interlocutor to keep a “face-saving” attitude, for making someone “losing face” may lead to misunderstandings and should you lose temper, you could end up spoiling your entire holidays.
FACTS & TIPS
When travelling to the Kingdom of Cambodia …
And while preparing your travel and stay, visitors should think about what to bring along and to take care to observe local customs and common sense practices. You may find it useful to familiarize yourself with the following common Facts and Tips before embarking on your trip to Cambodia.
1- Good shoes for the visits of the temples; tongs and sandals are not recommended;
2- Bring a cap + sun glasses for sun protection and sunscreen protection cream; Straw hats are available for sale at Temple entrances (around USD 1,50 to 2 $ per piece); Drinking a lot of water is recommended, so keep in mind to often drink as much as possible so to avoid severe dehydration;
3- Light clothing as it may be getting hot as early as in February/March until July/August, while a raincoat and K-way is recommended for the rainy season from July to October (also, as the temples are still worshipped by the Khmers,inappropriate clothing is not recommended as you may be turned away for the visit of the temples); when traveling, always keep a traditional “krama” (Khmer scarf) with you as it is a very helpful piece of cloth;
4- Mosquito repellent may be helpful for the persons allergic to mosquito bites;
5- Some medicines (Paracetamol, Imodium) may be helpful though good pharmacies are available around town and in Shopping malls / No need for malaria treatment (though recommended if going to the remote places and far-Eastern provinces such as Mondolkiri or Rattanakiri);
6- IMPORTANT: Have ready upon arrival 1 or 2 ID-Photos for visa processing on arrival at Airport; your photo for temple passes will be taken on spot when processing the pass. Have some small US Dollar change and notes / one-1, five-5 or ten-10 US$ notes (exchange Rates may sometimes be more advantageous in Cambodia);Also note that your passport MUST be valid 06/six months AFTER the date of your planned departure from Cambodia!
7- Suggestion for lunch: you may want to have lunch at Le Jardin des Délices, the Training Restaurant of the Paul Dubrule Hotel and Hospitality School on weekdays (Tuesdays to Fridays), and meet with students, then visit the school (all proceeds for lunch go to the Scholarship funds); many other possibilities for eatery venues are now available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cities, while Battambang have seen new places sprucing up, and fresh seafood is available at Kep (famous for its Kampot Pepper Fried Crab) or in Sihanoukville;
8- Be careful of NOT LOSING the individual Temple pass (otherwise you may need to purchase a new one);
9- Make sure you do not lose the Departure cards (second sheet/part of the Arrival card) which should have been stapled onto your passport by the Immigration official, and to be filled out before checking-in and going through Immigration Police on departure day.
In order to promote the Kingdom of Cambodia and help new visitors and customers to get an idea of the destination, one’s need ‘in-depth and insider information’, and such information that only someone living and working in his/her native country would perhaps know!
We, at All Dreams Cambodia, would like to add this to the general information needed to help new visitors and customers to the Kingdom prepare and enjoy their holidays, and make their very Dream of Cambodia come true!
Destination Insider Information
TOP 10 REASONS TO TRAVEL TO THE KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA:
1- The Kingdom of Cambodia is a many-splendored thing
2- For the archaeological wonders in Angkor (and beyond) to natural marvels and eco-tourism
3- Cambodia beaches have been ranked among the top ten in the world, and are being classified recently as a member of the “Most Beautiful Bays in the World”
4- For her graceful and hospitable people, and the intensity of human exchanges
5- For the warm and smiling faces
6- For the yet-to-be-discovered Khmer cuisine and the variety of food available (many TV documentaries have been broadcasted recently and famous Chefs from around the world have even cooked for His Majesty the King!)
7- For the bird sanctuary in the Great Tonlé Sap Lake which is soon-to-be inscribed in the UNESCO World’s Natural Wonders, as well as for the rare and endangered-specie fresh water dolphins in Kratié town (also known as the Irrawaddy dolphins)
8- For the great photo shooting opportunities in all season and all year-round
9- For the recent thriving arts scene revival (from the music scene to classical and contemporary dances, paintings, theatre, fashion world, sculpture, photo, circus show, …)
10- For the numerous yearly festivals (Khmer New Year in April, Royal Ploughing ceremony in May, All Souls’ Days in the pagodas in September, Water Festival with the long-tailed boat racing and salutation to the Moon in October/November depending on the Lunar Calendar, …)
TOP 5 REASONS TO TRAVEL TO KEY CITIES
Siem Reap / Angkor, former Capital City of the Angkorian Empire
1- For Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and surrounding World Heritage site (be it at sunrise or sunset from a tethered balloon!) or for an Ancient Khmer style Gondola boat promenade at sunset (sipping Champagne on the moat of Angkor Thom, and out-of -time experience!), for the newly restored Baphuon Temple and Khmer masterpiece by French Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient after more than 20-year restoration work and effort!
2- For the Great Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest and rich-in-fresh- water-fish lake in the world
3- For the Prek Toal Bird sanctuary and sunset cruise on the lake, floating villages and inundated forests during the rainy season with superb photo shooting opportunities (with the Photography Tours and the yearly Angkor Photo Festival)
4- For the great opportunities to discover local life style in the countryside that dates back to bygone centuries and rich handicraft (Khmer silk, stone and wooden sculptures and lacquered artefacts) at the Old and Night markets
5- For the many-choice accommodation styles the city has to offer, ranging from small guesthouses and boutique hotels to world class top luxury hotels (not to even mention great cuisine and food and the vibrant nightlife on Pub Street in the Old market area) and various activities (such as world-class golf ranges,…)!
Phnom Penh Capital city
1- For the remaining colonial architecture (that can be discovered on the eco-friendly mean of transportation Cyclo-pousse) and unique-in-South-East Asia riverfront promenade that stretches for over 6 kilometers
2- For the fairy-tale-like Royal Palace in Phnom Penh with the more than five thousand pieces of one-kg each made of pure silver tiled floor at the Silver Pagoda (also known as Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot)
3- For the great restaurants serving Khmer and International cuisines from all around the world
4- For the great sunset cruises (with or without dinner on board) on the Tonlé Sap River with the sun setting over the Royal Palace and the city as to give a different perspective to your discovery of this Capital City once-known as “The Pearl of Asia”
5- For the thriving arts-scene revival (see above) and numerous and mushrooming cafés and eatery venues at the brand newly opened AEON World Class Shopping Mall where opportunities to mingle and meet with local people abound
Sihanoukville Beach Resort city
1- For the white sand stretched beaches (ranked among the best top ten in the world)
2- For the wild and undiscovered islands off-shore (fancy a Robinson Crusoe experience and life style far from the madding crowd, and if so, – do head straight to Koh Rong Saloem) or for the Honeymooning and Romantic atmosphere on Song Saa Private Island Resort
3- For the by-the-seaside leisure and sport activities and diving experience or simply,
4- For an absolute farniente
5- For the great seafood on offer
Describing the Kingdom of
Cambodia in 10 key words
Angkor World Heritage Site and Archaeological Park, and beyond with Preah Vihear and Sambor Prei Kuhk
Phnom Penh Royal Palace and century-old traditions
The Phnom Penh Cyclo-Pousse and Siemreap Remorque (Khmer version of the Thai tuk-tuk)
Endangered Kratié River Dolphins
Ecotourism on the Great Tonlé Sap Lake & Mekong River
Graceful and hospitable people
Art revival in many Art-scene from movie making to Circus Shows
Great and tasteful cuisine
A personal view and testimony
from the Sales and Communication Manager
“The Kingdom of Cambodia, despite its recent dark history and decade-long turmoil and which was almost on the brink of disappearing from the world map, is currently experiencing a thriving revival like a phoenix rising from its own ashes! Business is flourishing, visitors are re-discovering this long-forgotten and secluded land, her century-old traditions and customs, and the art scene is leaping forward: the Royal Ballet has been recognized by UNESCO as an Oral and Intangible Heritage and the world starts to rediscover this form of classical dance that captivated and enthralled French painter and sculptor Auguste Rodin more than a century ago! Visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia will also discover other nascent forms of arts such of music, sculpture, painting, design, fashion, play and circus by the talented young artists and former street children from a French NGO based in Battambang which the young troupe is now touring Europe, Japan and Australia!
What is my favourite part of my native country and why?
“My favourite part of the country is indeed the seaside area and city of Kep, a former sleepy beach resort that has a special atmosphere, Deauville-in-Normandy style during her glorious past in the sixties. Located not too far of the capital city Phnom Penh, Kep-Plage holds a special place in my heart! Then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Head of State, wanted to make Kep-sur-Mer a sort of Cannes of the Côte d’Azur, thus Kep-Côte d’Opale, with a Movie Festival and a Concours d’Elégance Automobile. Phnom Penh elite used to rush on weekends to Kep to escape from the heat of the capital city Phnom Penh (global warming was not heard yet in those times)! There was great seafood (even oysters) and a Japanese soldier from World War II who decided to remain in the country he loves and who grew strawberries, asparagus and Choux-de-Bruxelles on cool and green nearby Bokor Mountain Range!
Life passed by, tranquil like a river flowing by, with simple family gatherings and laughs until the war broke in the early seventies, and darkness fell on Kep-sur-Mer. The city now still retains traces of her former glory along with the legacy from the dark years, but is gradually awakening from her long sleep with newly opened hotels and restaurants! When visiting Cambodia, Kep is must-see and worth a visit spot for her heart-breaking and out-dated atmosphere of bygone years!”
What is my favourite thing about the Kingdom of Cambodia and why?
“The warmth and smile of her graceful and hospitable people from all walks of life, the glorious Angkorian past and the vivid traditions and culture” will not only take your breath away, but will also make your Dream of Cambodia come true and will keep you fell deeply in love with the country for a long, long time somewhere deep in your heart, even after you return back home! Experience the Kingdom of Cambodia, now!”