10 false tourist assumptions about Cambodia
When you travel to Cambodia, you will certainly look for information in travel guides and on the website of the Foreign Office. What diseases are there, how to behave, what is allowed and what not. But many assumptions about Cambodia are outdated today and therefore we want to help you to get a realistic picture.
1. No ice cubes in the drink
Today the ice for drinks comes from a specialized production and is made from filtered drinking water. You can put ice in your drink today without hesitation. Furthermore, beer is often drunk with ice instead of being cooled.
2. Drinking water cannot be used for brushing your teeth
That too is outdated today. Phnom Penh has an excellent drinking water supply, and the water is constantly being tested. This is also the case in Siem Reap. In the countryside, water often comes from a groundwater pump. When brushing your teeth or taking a shower, this is no problem.
3. You must help Cambodians
Even though Cambodia is a poor country and the majority of the people here live from one day to the next, they also have their pride. Distributing books and pens to children is no longer appropriate today. It is better to finance a child’s education through an organization (Green Gecko), or to go to local restaurants run by locals. You can always leave a tip.
4. There is a tuktuk on every corner
Since about 2018, Cambodia has had Passapp, and now Grab. With this apps you can call a rickshaw (motor tricycle) or a tuktuk. This is cheaper, faster and you get a fixed price. Many tuktuk drivers have taken advantage of tourists again and again and charged far too high prices. You are free to tip here as well.
5. A restaurant is good if there are many guests
Many cafes and restaurants with high ratings are run by foreigners who are more familiar with social media. But that does not mean that you get better food. The rule that a restaurant is good because there are many people there is only true to a limited extent. Tourists go where they see tourists, without this having anything to do with price and quality. In case of local restaurants it is different, there, a visit is worthwhile.
6. The Khmer Rouge trauma
Although the time of the Khmer Rouge was a traumatic event for the Khmer living at that time, most young people today know little about it. It is part of history, but Cambodia is more than just the few years of reign of terror.
7. Cambodia is a combination destination
Many combine Cambodia with a trip to Thailand, Vietnam or Laos. You can also spend two or three weeks in Cambodia. There is more to see here than just Angkor Wat. Siem Reap alone has many other destinations, and then there are the beaches, the city of Battambang and the great forests.
8. Siem Reap is Angkor Wat
Of course, Siem Reap is known by Angkor Wat, and you just have to have seen it. After all, it is the largest temple complex in the world. But there is much more to see and experience. For example a meal with locals, or a bike tour through the rice fields. You can explore the temples in the outskirts or spend the night in the forest. There are great yoga classes and you can meditate with monks.
9. Cambodian food is simple
When you come to Cambodia, you will of course try Fish Amok and Beef Lok Lak. But there are many other dishes. Especially when it comes to soups and curries, Cambodia has a lot of culinary delights to offer. The pork is especially good here and if you like you can also eat fried insects.
10. You have to support an NGO
Cambodia is a developing country, and particularly in terms of health care and education, it lags far behind other countries. However, even the many aid organisations have not been able to change this. If you want to help, support Cambodian shops and drivers. If you really want to donate, we recommend the Kanta Bopha Hospital or the Angkor Children Hospital. They do a great job.