Customs and Traditions of Cambodia

Customs and Traditions of Cambodia


Until the 1980s, according to Countryaah, Cambodians professed Buddhism along with Hinduism. Currently, echoes of Hinduism are present in such ceremonies as birth, death, marriage, but Buddhism is considered the main religion. It is practiced by more than 90% of the population.


The official language of Cambodia is Khmer. The population constituting the communities of national minorities (Vietnamese, Chinese, Thais) speaks their native language. Only in large hotels in the country, the staff speaks good English.

Behavior rules

Arriving in Cambodia, you must follow the rules of conduct associated with the great religiosity of the country’s population.

Tourist behavior rules:

  • Cambodiansare tolerant people, they try not to show their discontent, indignation, anger. Accordingly, tourists should not show anger, as this will put you and the locals in an uncomfortable position.
  • The head is considered a sacred part of the body, therefore neither adults nor children are allowed to touch someone else’s head. Legs are a less revered part of the body, so you should not cross your legs, throw your legs on the table.
  • You can’t point fingers at anyone.
  • If you want to give or receive a gift, do not give it with both hands. It is better to give a gift with your right hand.
  • You should not raise your thumb up, as this gesture is sexual in Khmer.

Rules of conduct for tourists in religious places (temples):

  • When entering the temple, you must take off your hats, shoes, and leave them at the entrance.
  • Treat images of the Buddha and local monks respectfully, with respect.
  • It is forbidden to visit temples in shorts, short skirts, shirts with short sleeves.
  • It is considered good form to donate to the temple or buy a lotus flower, candles, which will show your respect for local religious customs.
  • The temple can only be bypassed clockwise.
  • Photographing religious sites and local residents is possible only with permission, and for a fee.


Cambodians greet each other by tilting their heads slightly and folding their palms in front of their faces. Men can greet each other by shaking hands, which is not permissible when greeting a man and a woman, moreover, a man should not look into a woman’s eyes so as not to embarrass her. Check agooddir for recent history of Cambodia.


In everyday life, the Khmer wear a sarong made of blended or cotton fabric. Sarong made of silk is worn on holidays or worn by fairly rich people. Almost all Khmers wear a pendant with the image of the Buddha. Also a special element of Khmer clothing is a bright scarf – krama. In big cities, they usually wear trousers, shirts, wide-cut dresses that hide most of the body.

In a formal setting (holy holiday, office work, a visit to visit, and so on), men wear trousers, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, women wear fairly closed dresses (no deep neckline, length below the knees and the dress must be with sleeves).

For tourists, loose-fitting clothing is the best option. But when visiting temples, trousers and a long-sleeved shirt are required.


In Cambodia, as in other countries of the world, there are international holidays:

  • New Year – January 1;
  • International Women’s Day – March 8;
  • Labor Day – May 1;
  • Children’s Day – 1 June.

National holidays:

  • Day of Victory over the genocide regime is celebrated on January 7,
  • Chnam-Thmai or Chaul-Chnam, Cambodian New Year from February to mid-April;
  • in mid-May, Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated (Visaka-Buchea);
  • The Queen’s birthday is celebrated on June 18,
  • King’s birthday – October 30;
  • Constitution Day – 24 September;
  • Pchum-Ben (Day of the Ancestors) – early October;
  • Day of the Paris Peace Agreement – October 23;
  • Independence Day – November 9;
  • Human Rights Day – 10 December.

Customs and Traditions of Cambodia

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