Cambodia, Developing countries, Life, Thoughts

The top 5 things I will miss about Cambodia

In less than five months, my partner and I will be moving back to Australia. I will have been living in Cambodia for five years and three months by that time. Whilst there are more than a handful of things I will definitely NOT miss about this country, there are a few things on my list I certainly will.


Greeting people with respect
In Cambodia you traditionally greet people with your hands together and placed in front of yourself (from the chest upwards) as a sign of respect. I really admire this, as it is a very easy way to show that you are a polite person and respect another person. It is something we always promote at Human and Hope Association, and as a result, have some of the politest students around! Of course, this is also a way to determine right off the bat if someone is a respectful and courteous person. When I was interviewing people for the accounting position this year, an applicant came to HHA and I immediately greeted her with respect when seeing her. She didn’t do the same. Our staff looked on, gob smacked, and needless to say, she didn’t get the job.

Insane amount of public holidays

Well, this one has its benefits and its pitfalls. On one hand, the insane amount of public holidays (we are talking about upwards of 30 per year) is bad for the education of children, as they really need to focus on their schooling. But on the other hand……YOU CAN TAKE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT TAPPING INTO YOUR ANNUAL LEAVE! It is pretty great. Like, we have a four-day holiday to Thailand coming up soon, and we don’t have to take any annual leave days. Also, we are heading to Myanmar for five days in November and I only need to take one day. So you don’t have to worry about letting your team down. It also always gave the very hard-working team at HHA much deserved breaks, especially for our holidays that lasted a week. Time to refresh so they can commit their all to their jobs. This brings me to my next point….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Easy and cheap to get to other countries in Asia

I have never ever in my life had the budget to travel Europe. In fact, the only time I have been to Europe was when I was in grade ten and visited Italy on a two-week exchange for school, as my parents were paying for it. That’s why I developed a love for Asia, one which was strengthened by living in Cambodia. Did you know that it is actually cheaper to fly return from Siem Reap to Kuala Lumpur than it is from Siem Reap to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh? That’s because Air Asia constantly offer cheap flights, which I have definitely taken advantage of over the past few years. Also, given that the cost of living is constantly increasing in Siem Reap, if you play your cards right, holidays can actually cost the same amount as actually staying in the country during holidays.

Historical landmarks

Cambodia has a long history, albeit a turbulent one. I absolutely LOVE visiting the temples this country has to offer, although I definitely haven’t managed to see all I should. When I am there I always imagine what it was like living during those times, and thanks to the book, A Woman of Angkor, I have a bit of an insight. Of course, ticket prices to the temples are increasing from $20USD to $37USD for a one day pass next year, which may mean less people get to experience these wonders.


Calling people by titles

Instead of using names in Cambodia, we use titles to express their rank or their age. For example, I will call someone who is a few years older than me, ‘bong’. But, if they are older than that, like my landlord, I will call them ‘ei’ or ‘po’, which means aunty and uncle. For people younger than you it is ‘oun’, and for REALLY old people, it is ‘yay’ or ‘om’. Not only is this a sign of respect, it is SUPER useful when you don’t know someone’s name. Think of it as a more polite way of saying ‘mate’. I have known some people for many years and I STILL don’t know their names, but it is OK, as I can call them by a title. It is fantastic for avoiding awkward situations.