Do and Don't in Cambodia - Angkor Wat Taxi Tour

Cambodian people are well-known for their hospitality and warmth. Out of respect, 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 and do not do before embarking on your trip to Cambodia.

DO in Siem Reap/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 temple. Additionally, visitors should dress appropriately when inside a religious site (upper arms and legs should be covered, hats removed).

• 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 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.

Do not do in Siem Reap/Cambodia

• Don't use your feet to point at someone.

• Don't touch a Cambodian person 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 Buddhist monks or hand something directly to them.

• Keep public displays of affection to a respectful minimum

Don't touch the temple carvings

Don't deliver the candy to kids

What to wear in Siem Reap/Cambodia?

The weather in Cambodia generally falls under two categories: the wet season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).

Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended for the dry season, when the weather is hot and humid. Visitors may wish to pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts for hiking, trekking, or outdoor activities. A hat and sunglasses may be useful for when walking around under the sun.

During the rainy season, visitors may want to bring a light rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased cheaply in Cambodia) or a sturdy umbrella. A light jacket or cardigan will come in handy during the months of December and January, when temperatures are at their coolest.

When visiting outdoor temples, including those of Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes and hats are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds. visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts and keep their shoulders covered.

What to bring to Siem Reap/Cambodia?

• Photocopies of your passport

• At least two passport-size photographs of yourself

• Cash in US$1s, $10s, $20s, $50s

• A folding umbrella or lightweight rain poncho if you plan to visit during the rainy season

• Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry

• An adventurous spirit.

Publis Holidays in Cambodia

Please note that many public holidays in Cambodia are either traditional festivals or Buddhist holidays, which are based on lunar calendars; thus, the holiday dates change from year to year.


International New Year’s Day -

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The celebration of New Year’s Eve has become more and more popular in Cambodia; although not an official holiday, many offices are closed


Victory over Genocide Day

Saturday, January 07, 2012

This national holiday commemorates Vietnamese-backed troops taking the capital from the Khmer Rouge in 1979. It marks the end of the Khmer Rouge regime after their defeat to the Vietnamese.

Meak Bochea Day /Magha Puja Day

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

An important Buddhist holy day celebrated in Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos on the full moon day of the third lunar month in Buddhist Calendar. The month is known in the Thai language as Makha (Pali: Magha). Bucha, also a Thai word (Pali: Puja), meaning to venerate or to honor. As such, Makha Bucha Day is for the veneration of Buddha and his teachings.

Women’s Day

Thursday, March 08, 2012

This United Nations-inspired holiday.


Cambodian Khmer New Year/Chaul Chnam Thmey

Fri, Sat, Sun: April 13, 14, 15, 2012

Possibly Cambodia’s most important holiday. The cities empty as Cambodians rush to spend the holiday with family. The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year’s Day. This time of the year is at the end of the harvesting season. The farmers enjoy the fruits of their harvest and relax before the rainy season begins. Gifts and tips are especially auspicious during April and should be accompanied with the phrase ‘Sok Sabay, Ch’nam Tmey’.

Labour Day

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A relatively minor holiday. Embassies advise avoiding large labor-related gatherings and rallies falling on this day.

Visaka Bochea / Visaka Buja Day

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Vesak Day, Buddhist observance commemorating the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha

Royal Ploughing Day Ceremony

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Known in Cambodia as Pithi Chrat Preah Neangkol, this public holiday corresponds to the start of the planting season. Royal astrologers will predict the coming season’s weather.   

HM King Sihamoni’s Birthday

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Commemorates the birthday of King Norodom Sihamoni on 14 May 1953. The current king was crowned in 2004 after the abdication of his father, Norodom Sihanouk.

International Children’s Day and Cambodia Children’s Day

Friday, June 01, 2012


HM the Queen Mother’s Birthday

Monday, June 18, 2012

Commemorates the birthday of The Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk.


Cambodia Constitution Day

Monday, September 24, 2012

A public holiday called to celebrate the anniversary signing of the Cambodian new constitution by King Sihanouk on 24 September 1993   

Pchum Ben Day

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Festival of the Ancestors. Buddhist tradition demands Cambodians visit many pagodas over two weeks. Food, flowers, rice and gifts are given to the monks to convey to the afterlife.

Cambodia Coronation Day

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cambodia Coronation Day is the anniversary of the coronation of current King Norodom SihamoniFormer HM King Sihanouk’s Birthday

Commemorates the day of birth of HM King Sihanouk.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Former HM King Sihanouk’s Birthday

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Commemorates the day of birth of HM King Sihanouk.


Cambodia Independence Day

Friday, November 09, 2012

Marks anniversary of independence from France. King Sihamoni visits Independence Monument in Phnom Penh.   

Water Festival / Bon Om Thook

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Millions flock to Phnom Penh from the provinces to celebrate the end of monsoon season. Dragon boats race for three days with the king overseeing.


Human Rights Day

Monday, December 10, 2012

A United Nations-inspired holiday. Unlikely to affect travel plans but government offices are closed.

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