Facts you should know about Cambodian people before visiting their country

Many visitors who traveled to Cambodia agree it is that Cambodian people who make this lovely country are so special. The words such as kind, friendly, hardworking, list goes on may not express fully how amazing they are. This article reveals several facts which make you have deeper understanding of Cambodians.

Things you don't know about Cambodians

Typical characteristics of Cambodians


If you are first-time travelers to Cambodia, a smile from a Cambodian surely makes you feel at ease right the moment you set foot in this country. Like many other Southeast Asians, Cambodian people smile a lot and this is one way of expressing their friendliness and happiness which can make a foreign visitor feel safe in a totally different country.

However, smiling is also a way to mask their true emotions. The truth is Cambodians don’t like confrontation so you can see they rarely show visible sign of anger, they value cool-headedness and soft words and after all, they hide it with a smile.

Super kind people you’ve ever met

The fact that Cambodians love to help others may surprise you a lot. Many travelers to Cambodia are humbled by the kindness and generosity of the people. If you are in clear need of help, they are willing to assist at any time. Whoever you are, you may find them eager to invite you to join them at their table, share snacks they are carrying or just simply say hello to you in the street.

Cambodia is a developing country and many locals are very poor but don’t be surprised if a family with seemingly nothing want to share their food or drink with you, invite you to attend their family meal or take part in festivals in Cambodia. Their friendliness can melt your heart.

 Their curiosity? Don’t be surprised!

At the first time you meet a Cambodian, you may feel yourself bombarded with tons of questions. The topic varies from where you are from, what you do, your status, your kids… to your country and lifestyle. The truth is Cambodian people are inquisitive and love to learn, so please be open with their questions. It would be great if you can fire at them some interesting questions, both of you will get closer.

Things you don't know about Cambodians

True problem solvers

Many Cambodians are living in poverty for years which make them sharpen their life skills. They can think on their feet and when they have a problem, they will quickly come up with a solution and fix it before you know it. Many problems happen in life such as broken motorbike on the way, being lost which could be serious to us may be no problem to the locals. They always know how to deal with it!

Their honesty shocks foreigners

Cambodians’ honesty seems to be a shock to many first-time travelers. They are straightforward so they don’t think that telling you what you look like or you should have kids is something impolite. So don’t be offended because this is a common thing, the way it works in this country. Get over, be cool and cheerful to their culture and you will have a very meaningful time with the locals in Cambodia.

They are resilient

Cambodia shares many things in common with Vietnam. Both countries have gone through decades of war and poverty. From 1975 to 1979, It is estimated that over 1,7 million people died and the country was seriously crippled. Fortunately, they succeeded in fighting invaders, protecting the borders of freedom, independence and territorial integrity. However, the Khmer Rouge years left Cambodian people shocked and until now, many people who lived through that hard time still suffer in silence.

Food culture in Cambodia

Cambodians can eat anything

We’ve known that rice and fish is the most common dishes in a meal of a Cambodian family. However, their street food culture is unique and somehow weird to first-time traveler. Some of very popular street food that you can easily find in any market are insects like spiders, crickets, locusts, bugs, water beetles or Cambodians can even use cow’s intestine or termite eggs to create food. Many visitors are still shocked by these kinds of food after travelling to Cambodia. However, it is also a really big chance for foreigners who are eager to adjust fully to Cambodia’s unique and exotic cuisine.


It is believed that the oceanic merchants who sailed through the Gulf of Thailand have largely influenced religion in Cambodia. There are several religions in Cambodia such as Buddhism, Hindu, Islam and Christianity. In this country, citizens are most prominently Buddhism (95% of the population) while Christianity and Cham Islam are active and showing sign of growth.

Things you don't know about Cambodians

Buddhism has a strong effect on Cambodian personality. One of the most popular beliefs of Buddhist life is “Earning merit”. They are taught to help people along the way, have compassion for each other, develop their own virtue and live a happy, peaceful life. Children will look after vegetables and fruit trees in temple. Many boys may become a novice monk for a short time to earn merit.

Cambodians’ loyalty to family and country

They are proud of their country

As mentioned, Cambodians had really hard time in the past and they have high sense of national pride. Though they may not want to mention Khmer Rouge, prefer just to try and move on when talking but in deep down in their heart, they are proud of their strong history.

Not only about history, Cambodian people are also proud of their rich culture, traditional apsara dancing, arts, a swathe of artisanal crafts. Don’t forget to try them as much as possible when you travelling to this country.

Cambodians love their families

Like many other Southeast Asian countries, family sits at the core of Cambodian life. The older teach the younger strictly how to learn, how to share and how to respect to others. Family members commonly share work, food and resources.

Many parents have to work hard for long working hours to solve their financial problem of the family and build a better life for their kids. The young in this country are taught to appreciate what they have very early in life which is another welcoming feature of Cambodians.

How to show respect in Cambodia

Being humble is one of innate traits many Cambodians always carry. They have a strongly developed sense of courtesy and respect. Like Vietnamese people, they appreciate education and respect for others, especially for elderly. Many locals communicate with others using metaphors which is not very direct and may be difficult to understand.

Things you don't know about Cambodians

When you travel to this Southeast Asia country or watch a movie made in Cambodia, you will notice that a short bow with the hands clasped is the most common from of greeting and good-bye to others. This is a factor foreign visitors would remember and act accordingly because it show that you’re respectful.

Here is some travel tips for you to show respect to Cambodian people:

– The lower the bow is, the more respect is conveyed especially when you passing an elder.

– When a younger person want to hand things or accept things from an elder, he or she has to do with their both hands.

– Do not put your hand on an elder’s shoulders when standing or posing a picture. This action is considered very rude.

– When eating, do not start before the elder.

–  Do not take off hats or put hands in pocket when you’re talking to others.

There are still a lot information about lovely Cambodians not mentioned in this article. It would be very great if you can book a tour around Cambodia and then share your experience and feelings with asianwayvietnam.com. For more further information, please contact us via email: booking@asianwaytravel.com or hotline : (84-243) 7 755 888.

Facts you should know about Cambodian people before visiting their country
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