InSITE 2020: Informing Science + IT Education Conferences: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Jul 6 - 11 2020, Phnom Penh, Cambodia 
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Locale Information

Health and Advice

Drink lots of water. Never drink tap water. Purified bottled water is available everywhere.

Use an insect repellent against mosquitoes. It is the only way to be sure of protection against mosquito borne diseases. Since Cambodia has a hot and humid tropical climate, casual and light-weight clothing is best. Clothing made from natural fibers is the best option. A jacket might be needed on cool winter evenings or in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning. A hat and high-factor sun block is advisable as protection against the hot sun when sightseeing.

Although no vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, they are highly encouraged. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B. Any essential medications should be brought with you as there is no guarantee they will be available in Cambodia.

 

Travel Comfort

When visiting temples or pagodas, including those of Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds, visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts.

 

Photography

Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installations is forbidden and discretion should be used when photographing people, particularly monks.

 

The Weather

The conference will be held during the wet season (May to October). Consideration of the weather should be made during this time, and it would be useful to pack a light rain jacket and/or an umbrella (plastic ponchos can also be purchased cheaply in Cambodia).

 

Currency

The local currency is called the Cambodian Riel (KHR). 4000 Riel are worth $1 USD.

The US dollar is also widely available and accepted in Cambodia and often preferred. It would be handy to keep some on hand. Most ATMs throughout the country will dispense dollars instead of Riel. In the western parts of Cambodia close to the Thai border, Thai baht is often accepted.

Prices are very low for most items in Cambodia. A bottle of beer or water will cost between 50 cents and a $1. Meals are only a few dollars, and accomodation is less than $100 for quality hotels.

 

Do’s and Don’ts in the Kingdom of Cambodia

During your stay in Cambodia, you will most probably be touched by the kindness of the Cambodian people. In most places, you’ll be warmly welcomed and guided by local residents, eager to show you the treasures of their country. Although your Cambodian hosts will do their best to tolerate tourists’ involuntary mistakes, stemming from different cultural and social conventions, the following tips will help you understand Cambodian culture and avoid social misunderstandings.

Do’s in Cambodia

  • Cambodian people greet each other by saying “Chum Reap Suor”, accompanied by a gesture of pressing their palms together in front of their face and slightly
    bowing forward, which is called ‘sampeah’. Your Cambodian hosts will be happily surprised to see you using the ‘sampeah’ to greet them.
  • Shaking hands is now more and more acceptable, usually with men, and after a ‘sampeah’. When offering a gift to a Cambodian person, especially an elderly, it is the convention to present it with both hands.
  • Before entering a sacred place, such as a Buddhist pagoda or the Royal Palace, please remember to take off your shoes and your hat. Also please remember to
    be dressed in a clean and modest manner. Especially, women should wear a t-shirt or a blouse with short or long sleeves and a skirt or pants at least at knee-length.
  • When entering someone’s home, please remember to leave your shoes at the entrance. Although your Cambodian hosts will often insist that you keep them for your comfort, they will always appreciate your consideration for their home.
  • Although Cambodian people enjoy having their pictures taken, do ask for permission first.
  • If you buy foods at a street cart or a stall in a market, please remember that the price is usually cheap. Please remember that Cambodia is still a developing country and the Cambodian people are just starting to be familiar with other cultures’ customs and expectations. So be patient when communicating and interacting with your Cambodian hosts.

Don’ts in Cambodia

  • In the Cambodian and Buddhist culture, the head is the most sacred part of the body. Please DO NOT touch or pat the head of people, even children.
  • Similarly, as the feet are the lowest parts of the body, DO NOT use your feet to point at someone or something, to get the attention of someone or to push an object to someone.
    If you go to a pagoda and have to sit on the floor, DO NOT sit cross-legged or with your legs outstretched. Instead, sit slightly sided on your heels. If the position becomes uncomfortable, try to shift on your other side.
  • Buddhist monks are deeply revered and respected. Women are not allowed to touch a monk’s robe or his body.
  • The Cambodian society is relatively conservative and public displays of affection, such as kisses and hugs, are considered inappropriate and offensive behaviors.
  • In public areas, on sacred grounds such as pagodas, and in public buildings, avoid shouting, as well as laughing and speaking excessively loudly.
  • As cultural customs are different in Cambodia, please DO NOT resent Cambodian habits, which may be considered rude in your country.

 

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