To consider when visiting Cambodia

To consider when visiting Cambodia

To consider when visiting Cambodia

Are there tools to sensitize locals for tourists?

Sensitize locals for the presence and the welcoming of tourists at World Heritage sites and NON World Heritage sites

It is actually what I consider an inevitable destiny for Siem Reap and Angkor Wat! Worldwide, the various reasons why a certain geographic area is chosen for such a valuable inscription on the World Heritage List, are also the very main reasons why potentially millions of tourists would love to visit those areas and sites, year after year.

In fact, the norm and the belief are also for Khmer locals as well as worldwide, that World Heritage sites always belong to everyone, they should be very carefully preserved to provide income streams for future generations.

The first thing both visitors and locals should learn is the vital importance of this statement for the local community!

Especially because this statement is the very principle stat moves and creates the foundations for the World Heritage Convention.

The real tool creation itself should start comprising all relevant ideas from major intellectuals drafts and works on this topic, to help the locals getting familiar with most of the visitor’s needs, most of the visitor’s basic thoughts about Cambodia.

The main goal should be to get the locals familiar with some tools that might be bite-words or keywords to use when presenting and introducing the rural and typical Khmer life to the visitors, in order to get intimate and confidential about the local historical heritage, local’s lifestyle, the local attitude towards everyday life.

So … how we can afford to merge both our convictions with our concerns,  over this important topic that touches all industry participants, the actual impact of tourism on Khmer World Heritage sites?

The contemporary answer to this question is: through sustainable tourism.

Directing all entities such as local governments, site managers, the visitors, towards the most sustainable tourism applications.

Implementing this behavior is the only way to ensure, for the long term, the safekeeping of our Khmer Natural, historical and cultural heritage

I understand that tourism is always a very important management issue, at both natural sites such as National Parks, at cultural World Heritage sites such as Angkor.

A really improving tool should be also to form a community of local artists, as well as a website, to inform all visitors, with eye-catching boards, for example, about the manners that locals have at the heritage sites and at the religious sites! I still see few if not at all of these efforts!

This is such an important step but also easy to implement, as eco-tourism is already pervading most visitors’ ideas of traveling, it is as well one of the most frequently cited “new” tourism categories with eco retreats and green tourism.

Eco-tourism is very well defined by the International Ecotourism Society.

”Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people.”

The best manual I find for this goal was this

Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites
a Practical Manual for World Heritage Site Managers
By Arthur Pedersen

A number of activities have been labeled eco-tourism, including bird watching, nature photography, a wide range of outdoor activities, and can as well be used to create a bundle of tours and offers to present the Khmer lifestyle to worldwide visitors.

This is because eco-tourism always overlaps with cultural tourism and heritage tourism, the two key factors in traveling to Cambodia.

To consider when visiting Cambodia
Angkor Wat at sunset. Always a great pleasure to visit, Angkor Wat locals are really welcoming and kind people!

Some personal thoughts

What do you care about traveling anywhere or in any country? Of course, it is perhaps the
country’s popular sightseeing sites, history, tradition, people, or languages that many visitors are
interested in.

And when traveling to Cambodia, visitors are drawn not only by traditional cultural
elegance as well as by a beautiful language.

In addition, along with the timeline, not only Khmer is spoken in Cambodia. There are many different languages have been used in Cambodia, and they are divided into many categories such as English, French, and minority languages.

Hence, language is also a charming character to sensitize locals for tourists.

Is Phnom Penh (Cambodia capital) sensitize for tourists

After I have been asking the same question over and over to merchants, expats, homeowners in the city, I can actually say … I am not sure, and then if there would be any city local tools, they are not well sensitized.

This is due to some complaints made but when in remote areas of the city when tourists are concerned about their safety.

Cambodia, though, is a relatively safe state. Violent crimes are rare; however, assaults, robberies, and sexual harassment are rare in large cities ‘ remote and poorly lit areas.

Purse snatching, pickpocketing, and other small-scale thefts are the most common crimes against foreigners. You should be aware of the situations of renting and riding a bike when criminals push the bike or when the thieves struck the rider while riding the bike. A thief walks away when it goes down.

I have witnessed myself two situations happening right in front of me, once riding a bike approaching a traffic light, once walking in the evening. So what I continuously listen from expats just confirm what I personally saw.

This type of crime remains at the critical level, and resistance can typically turn aggressive. Armed robberies have continued to be at a high level, so note that your life is not worth any valuables.

Many of these crimes are committed by young gangs that operate in the Capital in particular.

Cloning and skimming are on the rise from a strict cash society to a move to use more often credit cards in everyday life.

So keep an eye on your credit card when you pay and don’t leave your card out of reach when you pay at a restaurant or cafe.

To consider when visiting Cambodia

Is the behavior of the tourists adapted to the cultural background in Cambodia?

Before answering this question, significant information about Cambodian culture should initially
be revealed.

If we talk about culture, people would consider architecture, housing, religion, way of living, customs, and food. Cambodia’s cultural background has had a rich and diverse history that dates back many centuries while India has heavily impacted it. A significant source of inspiration has been structured from religion.

From the syncretism of aboriginal animistic beliefs and the Indian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, Cambodians have developed a unique Khmer belief over almost two millennia.

According to the description above, people would feel that Cambodian culture is tough and hard
to be adapted. BUT, it is not like what it is written down in the book, Cambodian culture now has
been transforming step by step to fit the global perspective.

Tourists always enjoy their trip when they are in Cambodia. The norm is not too tough for them to follow, in contrast, they express a cheery face to taste something they never have experienced. It is always new, interesting, and excited, and joyful.

After some months in the country, I actually saw yes another point of view, still in development, like the following.

It is not easy to mess with any cultural background in Cambodia because it is rich with religious beliefs that are not easy to change. Cambodia’s culture has had a rich and varied history that dates back many centuries, and India has influenced it heavily. A major source of inspiration has been from religion throughout the long history of Cambodia.

From the syncretism of ancestral animistic beliefs and the Indian religions of Buddhism and Hinduism, Cambodians have developed a unique Khmer faith over almost two centuries. Neither religious culture is easy to change, nor can alter with Cambodia’s cultural background.

If not, are tourists sensitized?

A lot of actions have been taken in order to make sure that all tourists have discovered great life
experiences in Cambodia.

The government has set up a lot of campaigns to educate and to track the locals, especially in the hospitality sector.

I believe there is some restricted code that tourists are required to follow while entering the religious shrine.

However, it is not a big deal for them while most of the time they are forgiven and respected as they are foreigners.

Indeed, visitors are informed about the religious culture of Cambodia and are more educated about what to do and not what to do. Cambodia’s clothing is one of the culture’s most important aspects.

While many visitors wear shorts to cope with water, local people tend to cover as much skin as they can. Shorts are the traditional attire for male schoolchildren in Cambodia!

Has the behavior of the locals changed because of tourists?

Somehow, I believe the behavior of the locals has changed due to a large number of tourists
entering Cambodia. Passive, patient, resilient, and superstitious were described as Cambodians.

They live simply, eat simply, dress simply and are said to be swayed easily by rumors and hearsay.

They are exceptionally generous, open and optimistic to tourists despite the horrors and deprivation they have experienced.

Traditionally, cultural norms have already formed Cambodian people not to commit violence, resentment, and conflict. Then what are remarkable changes in Cambodian behavior?

Their way of doing business, communication skills, and the modernization of the hospitality to full fill the need of the tourists are what they have changed so far.

Which guest segment is most valuable for Cambodia?

Considering that travelers can be always included in 3 categories as following:

Hard-core tourists

They are joining tours or groups, their purpose is traveling specifically for educational activities and experiences, to take an active part in environmental and local cultural projects, a good example of these travelers are the one visiting National Parks for wildlife monitoring.

Dedicated tourists

They travel because they want to visit protected areas, cultural areas, they have precious knowledge and understanding of the local natural sites and cultural history.

Casual tourists

consider natural and cultural travel as an incidental component of a broader trip.

It is no brainer that the first 2 categories should the kind that Cambodia operators should value the most!

Most valuable guests for Cambodia are:

  • Hard-core tourists
  • Dedicated tourists
  • Ecotourism seekers


Cambodia is opened to everyone in this globe. Tourists traveling from all over the world to visit
Cambodia. Recently, Chinese are noticed to enter the kingdom in an extreme amount of numbers comparing to other nationalities.

Not only just Asian visitors set the destination to this marvelous territory but a great number of European visitors.

In which season do most tourists visit Cambodia?

The best time to visit Cambodia depends on the number of tourists, temperature, and rainfall.
Between November to March, most travelers visit Cambodia.

The best time to visit Cambodia is from May to early October if you prefer to escape the crowds and seek a lower price.

Cambodia is warm throughout the year, with temperatures seldom falling below 20 ° C in every
spot of the country.

Seasons are divided into dry and rainy seasons.

A brief rainstorm in the afternoon usually marks the wet season from May to October. It barely affects travel plans and still includes a lot of warm sunlight hours.

As the countryside springs to life, it is known locally as the green season. Traveling in the dry season, November to March is characterized by hot dry days.

To consider when visiting Cambodia
Siem Reap airport during the rainy season.

Keep in mind!

The appropriate time to visit Cambodia depends on the number of visitors, temperature, and rainfall. From November to March, most travelers visit Cambodia.

The best time to visit Cambodia is either from May to early October if you want to avoid the crowds as well as go when prices are lower.

Cambodia is warm throughout the year, with temperatures rarely dropping below 68 ° F (20 ° C) anywhere you go. Seasons are either split into dry and wet seasons. A brief downpour in the afternoon generally marks the wet season from May to October.

This rarely affects travel plans and still includes a lot of bright sunshine hours. As the countryside springs to life, it is known locally as the green season. Travel from November to March in the dry season because it is marked by hot, dry days.

To consider when visiting Cambodia
To consider when visiting Cambodia. A view of Tonle Sap in August from an airplane.

In which regions of Cambodia are the greatest tourist flows?

Based on its geography, Cambodia can be divided into four different regions. There are also several of the country’s islands.

Northwest Region is the most popular area visiting the country for tourists. The reason for this is that Angkor Wat and the surrounding archeological park are home to the Northwest. Siem Reap, the region’s largest city, is the gateway to Angkor for most visitors.

The Eastern region is not very popular with visitors, the area east of the Mekong. This area is heavily wooded and mountainous towards the Vietnam border.

Cambodia diversity

Cambodia is full of diversity and provides tourists with a range of activities to easily complete
their agendas.

The nation has everything from its array of majestic temples and religious buildings, rich heritage and culture to unique wildlife and breathtaking eco-tourism sites.

Siem Reap has been called Southeast Asia’s top tourist destination.

Besides this golden gate, Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia is cogitated as the best place to discover Cambodian culture both traditional and the modern style.

Sihanoukville, a coastal city of Cambodia, is a great place to relax and to easily reach the islands that many tourists are heading for.

To consider when visiting Cambodia
A view of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.

How is the infrastructure in Cambodia?

Mostly I hear very negative comments from tourists.

Living here one could see slight progress, year by year, of the infostructure system in Cambodia, regarding especially the main communication roads between major cities.

But considering that a traveler usually spends an average of a few days in the country, I can understand why the impact might be negative, in particular in the eyes of Chinese or Western visitors.

A personal opinion

To evaluate project expenditure and implementation, infrastructure relies on quality,
sustainability and cost.

Over the past few decades, the infrastructure in Cambodia has developed dramatically, but its overall success and advancement are still behind it’s neighbor’s countries. Without justification, owing to its brutal civil war, Cambodia’s infrastructure fell below the standard.

Let see the actual status with some basic examples

The infrastructure of Cambodia is extremely weak as a result of decades of conflict and civil war.

There is a small train system operating on the Thai border to Kampong Sam’s southern seaport and Northwest (Poipet).

Plans are being made to rehabilitate the railway to Poipet and build a new railway connecting Vietnam’s Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City as part of the trans-Asian railway. A maximum of 603 kilometers (375 miles) of these railways.

The country has 35,769 kilometers of highways (22,227 miles), only 11.6 percent of which are paved. The best way is from the capital to Kampong Saom’s seaport. Past aid from the United States has facilitated the renovation of this important road.

Because of its excellent access to a major Pacific seaport, many factories are located along that route.

Travel is more often done by plane to many remote provinces. There are 19 airports in the country.

The country also has 3,700 kilometers (2,299 miles) of navigable waterways and using the Tonle Sap River and the great Tonle Sap Lake. It is possible to travel by jetboat to the famed Angkor Wat complex.

In recent years, communications in urban areas have improved dramatically. The number of mobile phones (estimated to be 80,000 in 2000) now exceeds the number of conventional phone lines by four times.

There is little access to conventional telephone lines in rural areas.

There are ten radio stations and 5 TV stations. In Phnom Penh’s capital, low-cost cable television is available in many languages, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, English, and French, with a large number of different channels. In 1997, the country had an estimated 97,000 TVs.

Cambodia has entered the Web with a suffix However, Cambodia’s Internet access is extremely expensive compared to local income levels, which greatly restricts non-wealthy Cambodians ‘ use of the Internet.

In print media, there has been a rapid expansion in recent years. There are currently 3 English language papers, a French-language paper, 88 Khmer language newspapers, 19 Khmer language magazines, and 6 Khmer language bulletins.

Are tourists also guided to less known places? (Not only Siem Reap, Phnom Phen, etc.)

Of course, the government has been trying to expand the tourist sites from the city to a remote
area of the nation.

Over the past two decades, tourism in Cambodia has grown in two waves.

The first was when safety concerns were resolved, allowing easier access to Angkor, and then,
later, the second was when the rural area and the beautiful islands of Cambodia opened up for

Don’t imagine Angkor Wat to be all Cambodia has to offer; there is so much more to be explored.

The nation also has some outstanding tropical islands, a burgeoning scene of ecotourism, and some interesting and historic urban centers.

What added value does the tourists create for the locals?

The tourist industry has played a role in the Cambodian economy. Tourism accounts for almost
one-third of Cambodia’s GDP, giving the country $5 billion and more than 4.5 million visitors a

Economists agree that there is still substantial room for growth and from 2016-2020 the
the industry is still looking to develop a policy for managing sustainable development of tourism.

The Ministry of Tourism is also developing a more nuanced approach to promoting the country to
tourists beyond its staple of regional visitors and backpackers from Northeast Asia, Europe,
Australia, and America.

This way, people still continue to gain even more benefits from this non-smoke industry.

To remember!

Locals in Cambodia benefit from tourism as they get to sell their products to them as well as farm produces. More so they get jobs such as driving tourists in their country as well as other work as guides. Tourists really benefit locals.

How do the locals feel about tourists in general and about certain guest segments?

While tourism is a key driver to the Cambodian economy, people feel proud and wish to gain
more tourists to visit Cambodia.

People have been contributing their happiness when they have better living conditions when they get the benefit from tourism.

However, there are some concerns related to mass tourists visiting the temples. The locals worry whether the temple is ruined by the great number of visitors every day.

Moreover, some visitors have tried to break the rule when they enter the site, and that leads to the loss of Cambodian dignity, culture, and prosperity.

How I still see it …

Locals receive tourists with open hearts and cheerfully.

Locals are compassionate and caring according to their religion-based culture values.

Except some few (seriously few, lucky for all of us) who take advantage of the tourists and exploit then and other times end up stealing from them. Locals don’t like the demographic guest segments as it leaves some areas undeveloped.

Related to:

Experience Yoga in Siem Reap

Find the best wellness and yoga retreats in Cambodia

How many days do you need in Phnom Penh?

What I can do in Anlong Veng district

Best things to do in Siem Reap

Visit Angkor Wat without crowds (the less crowded temples)

Best Places to Photograph Angkor Wat area

Angkor Wat Entrance Fee and ticket

A New Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia

Holiday in Koh Rong Samloem

Kampot Cambodia, the destination for my weekend

How to go to Kulen Mountain?


Recent Posts