Angkor Wat

Overview of Cambodia's Customs

Customary Cambodian teachings include: that if a person does not wake up before sunrise he is lazy; you have to tell your parents or elders where you are going and what time you are coming back home; close doors gently, otherwise you have a bad temper; sit with your legs straight down and not crossed (crossing your legs shows that you are an impolite person); and always let other people talk more than you.
Khmer culture is very hierarchical. The greater a person's age, the greater the level of respect that must be granted to them. Everyone in Khmer culture is given a hierarchical title before the name - in some cases names are shortened with the title added before the name is given - which varies in relation to the person. In some cases elders are referred to by a family title even though there is no relation, out of respect to their seniority in life. Referring to someone by the improper title is a sign of disrespect and would be assumed as improper parenting or a lack of respect for elders.

Cambodians traditionally wear a checkered scarf called a "Krama". The "kroma" is what distinctly separates the Khmer (Cambodians) from their neighbors the Thai, the Vietnamese, and the Laotians. The scarf is used for many purposes including for style, protection from the sun, as an aid (for your feet) when climbing trees, as a hammock for infants, as a towel, or as as a "sarong". A "krama" can also be easily shaped into a small child's doll for play. Under the Khmer Rouge, all Khmer were forced to wear a red checkered "krama".

In Khmer culture, it is taboo to touch, or point your feet at, a person's head, because the head is believed to contain the person's soul. It is considered to be extremely disrespectful to point your feet at a person, or sleep with your feet pointing at a person, as the feet are the lowest part of the body and are considered to be impure.

One traditional Khmer belief taught by monks is that there are three types of delusions or addictions which will lead to the self destruction of a man; women, alcohol, and gambling ("srey, srai, la-baing").
Almost all Khmer men and women wear a Buddha pendant in a necklace fashion. There are different pendants for different uses; some are meant for protection from evil spirits, some are meant to bring good luck.