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| Updated on Jul 29, 2016

Cambodia: Etiquette and health

When travelling to Cambodia, it is very important to merge with the locals in order to make the most of your trip. Although Cambodia is a safe country for most tourist, the social and economic differences can lead to uncomfortable situations. In order to stay safe in Cambodia, make sure that you are vaccinated against most common illnesses in South East Asia. In order to prevent mosquito bites and other insect stings, using an insect repelling lotion is the best method to fight the potential health hazards that they may carry. Water sterilizing tablets and devices such are SteriPen’s are very recommended, as the water in Cambodia is not very suitable for foreigners and bottled water may not be available at all times during your visit. In order to fully merge with the locals, take your time to learn a little about their culture and traditions. Getting informed before going, will not only ensure that you do not inadvertently offend anyone, but it will also ingratiate the Cambodians you meet during your trips.

When you are visiting the Cambodian temples, respect local dress standards. Cover your upper arms and legs and remove your shoes and head coverings before entering. A small donation will be expected of you as a sign of gratitude and will help to maintain the temple. Women should take into account that monks are not supposed to touch or be touched by women. If a woman wants to hand something to a monk, such a small gift or contribution, the object should be placed within the reach of the monk or on the monk’s ‘receiving cloth’. Learning the Cambodian greeting, the sompiah, can be very useful when making new friends, as it shows that you respect and understand their culture and heritage. When tackling a problem in Cambodia, make sure you do not raise your voice or show your anger in public. Displays of rage are bad regarded in the country and will only embarrass locals. Being polite is a strong part of the Cambodian society and they will not be able to help you if you offend them.


To visit Cambodia you are required to have a working tourist visa, which has a cost of US$35 and a passport valid for more than six months. For most nationalities, visas can be obtained upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International airports, but most tourist purchase online visas through the E-visa website. It is advisable to apply for your visa for Cambodia with a few weeks in advance in order to prevent potential delays in the application process. If you are planning to travel to Cambodia for business, you are required to apply for a business visa In order to obtain a valid visa, both tourist and business travelers are required to have a passport sized photo and a passport valid for more than six months. All visas have a duration of 30 days and are valid for a period of three months from the issue date. Both tourist and business visas offer the possibility of extending your permit up to one year. If you wish to extend your stay in Cambodia, you must visit the Immigration Department of the National Police.

A departure tax is charged on all domestic and international flights, and ranges from US$6 to US$25 depending on the type of flight. For more information about visa permits and practical matters regarding your trip to Cambodia, please refer to the official Cambodian tourism website. Applying for a visa to Cambodia for US citizens can also be arranged by ordinary mail. For additional information, contact the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington. In order to visit Cambodia, visa requirements for US citizens are not hard to meet. Should you have any issue during your stay or application process, do contact your closest consulate.

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