January 11, 2017

6 Things Travelers Should Know Before Visiting Cambodia

1. The People & Language

Cambodia used to be called Kampuchea. At one point, the country was under the French colony. Cambodian people are called Khmer people and their language is called Khmer language. Some people still refer to those as Cambodian language and Cambodian people, and that's okay too.

2. Angkor Wat Is Not In Thailand

Given Thailand and Cambodia are neighbor countries, they have similarity in cultural aspects and temple design. But the Angkor Wat temple belongs to Cambodia, not Thailand. If you see a straggled fig tree picture or painting, it's not in Thailand. That's one of the attraction trees at Angkor Wat ruin and it is in Cambodia.

This Tree At Angkor Wat Is In Cambodia, Not Thailand

3. Not Everyone Can Speak English

If you go to tourist areas, there are Khmer people that can speak English, but don't assume that everyone can speak that language, especially off the beaten path or the areas that have more local Khmer residents. Be polite, patient, and respectful to their culture as you try to interact with them.

4. Don't Give Money to Kids

It's our human nature that when we see a poor kid, we want to do something about it. In Cambodia, if you do that, you'll notice that there are more kids coming. Soon, they will all swamp you to beg for what you have to give to them. Basically, one kid passes the news on to the other kids. If you must give, just do that then walk away further from that area.

5. Negotiate & Bargain

It's frustrating when local people try to scam new arrival foreigners. The fare from airport to the riverside or Cambodia city center can't cost you more than $5 although I heard the taxi inside airport costs $10, but if you walk out to grab a Tuk Tuk transportation, your price is cut in half or less if you bargain. Be willing to negotiate and bargain as that is Cambodian business's model. Same thing applies to when you want to purchase things in Cambodia.

Negotiate & Bargain With Tuk Tuk Driver

6. Street Crime

As with any places in the world, always use common sense and exercise safety cautions. Street Crime in Cambodia is very common and can happen. The “snatch and grab” robbery is the most common type of the street crime. Anything that can be quickly grabbed such as cameras, mobile phones, backpacks, purses, necklace, jewelry, etc. are at risk. Exercise safety precautions and don't "show off" too much, you will be fine.

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