Tipping is not traditionally expected in Cambodia. Plush hotels may charge a 10% service charge, but this might not always end up in the pockets of those who deserve it. As there is no fixed amount or percentage that is expected, the consumer is free to decide if their service provider deserves a tip. Or not.
Khmers are wonderful people who love to please and will be delighted to see a reward for their efforts.
Keep in mind that the average wages for waiters, cleaners and other service staff in Cambodia remain low, and a small tip will go a long way.
Here at Rikitikitavi we save up all received tips and share them twice a year – just before the two major holidays in this country. The staff love it, as they are able to buy a decent present for their parents.
At the end of a visit to a wat, especially if you have been blessed by monks or have been shown around, it is considered good manners to leave a small donation in the contribution box at the wat.
If an item or service has a price tag, you are not expected to bargain.
Otherwise, go ahead and give it a try. Bargaining is about reaching a price that is satisfactory for both parties, not about making the seller lose money. Remember that it is a game and it is important to ‘save face’ in Cambodia. There is no need to get angry or argue. Be friendly, smile and perhaps have a little chinwag and a dose of humor.
If you believe the asked price is not right for you, say thank you and you might be able to find a similar item elsewhere for a better price. Try not to get too carried away in the process, ask yourself if the amount you are haggling over is worth the time and effort.
Do not refuse a purchase if the seller has accepted your price. It is polite to hand over money with the right hand supported just below the wrist by the left hand.
To improve your Cambodian bargaining adventure, brush up on some basic vocabulary. Cambodians love it when you speak their tongue, even if it is just a couple of words. Your efforts may well be rewarded.
bprahm-murn, bprahm-muy-puan, pee-roy, sahm-sap, bprahm-bei
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