Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Tuesday, 12th July 2016

5 things you didn't know about Cambodia

Cambodia has gained popularity as a travel destination in recent years, with many people drawn to the country due to sites such as Angkor. And while photos of this incredible archaeological wonder, the country’s many pagodas and Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace are all now well known, Cambodia still has a few secrets.
Here are five things about this stunning country you probably didn’t know – kudos if you did!

1.      Cambodia has never been home to a McDonald’s

Some things seem ubiquitous wherever you are in the world and a branch of McDonald’s tends to fall into this category. Not in Cambodia, however, which does not have a McDonald’s outlet and never has done. Visitors to the country chow down on the likes of fish amok, Khmer red curry and fried crab instead – delicious.

2.      No other national flag features a building

It’s safe to say that Angkor Wat is the pride and joy of Cambodia, so much so that it has been emblazoned onto the country’s flag. Sitting against the red backdrop of the central stripe on the banner is a stylised representation of the most famous temple at Angkor. What makes this flag all the more special is that it’s the only one in the world to feature a building.

3.      Constant reinvention

The country we know today as Cambodia has actually had a long list of other names, changing every time a new government came to power. It has been the Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea and the People’s Republic of Kampuchea until it finally settled with the Kingdom of Cambodia.

4.      It’s easy to cause offence with your feet

Always tuck your feet in when sitting and be careful where you direct the soles of your feet. It is a sign of disrespect to point them at a person or important object and be sure not to inadvertently let have them be bared towards a Buddhist image or temple. Also, always remember to remove shoes before going into a religious building or someone’s house.

5.      Cambodia has its own form of greeting

In Europe it is commonplace to shake someone by the hand or give them one or multiple kisses on the cheeks when greeting them. In Cambodia, the protocol for a meeting is known as Sompeah and should be initiated by the younger member of the pair or the person of lower social rank. To carry out the Sompeah, place your two palms together and bow gently from the waist.

Related news stories:
Six books you should read before travelling to Cambodia (5th November 2015)
Angelina Jolie has a special bond with Cambodia through her son (28th October 2015)
Could you soon be tiger spotting in Cambodia? (6th April 2016)