Khmer Travel Vocabulary

Greetings and essentials

Chom Reap Sour (chom-reap-sore) / Hello (formal)

Cambodians have an extremely respectful culture, with elders and those of a higher social standing greeted using this more formal hello.

Susadei (Soos-a-day)/ Hello (informal)

This is a more informal greeting that is used between peers or friends. It is also accompanied with a sampeah.

Soksaby (soks-a-bye) / How are you and I am fine

It may seem strange but the Khmer way of asking “how are you?” and responding “I’m fine” is the same.

Chom Reap Lear (chom-reep-lear) / Good bye (formal)

Again, this is the formal way to say goodbye in situations where respect is required. Don’t forget to throw in a smile.

Lee hi (lee-hi) / Good bye (informal)

This is the more commonly used and casual way to wave goodbye.

Ot Teh (ot-tei)/ No

Learning how to say no will come in very handy for turning down the heckling tuk tuk drivers visitors face.

Arkun (Ar-koon) / Thank you

A polite thank you always goes a long way, wherever you are in the world.

Som Dtoh (som-toe) / Sorry/ excuse me

This is another useful phrase that is well worth picking up before you land in the country.


Baht schweng (bart-shweng) / Turn left

A tuk tuk is likely to be your main mode of transport in Cambodia so learning a few phrases will come in handy.

Baht Saddam (bart-sadam) / Turn right

Another handy phrase for getting around.

Chop (chop) / Stop

You can throw a “som” (please) in front to be polite.

Tini (tinny) / here

Why not place some of your newly learned words together to say, “please stop here” or “som chop tini”.

Da Trong (da-trong)/ Go straight

Another handy phrase when your tuk tuk driver looks like he wants to take a wrong turn.

At the restaurant/bar

Chhnang (ch-nang)/ Delicious

Cambodians love talking about food as much as Brits enjoy moaning about the weather, so saying “delicious” will bring about a smile.

Som tach (som tack) / Water please

Cambodia’s heat means staying hydrated is essential.

Knyom khleam (knoym-kleam)/ I’m hungry

If you grasp this phrase, then you’ll soon find yourself being ushered to the nearest restaurant or street stall.

Som ket loy (som-ket-loy)/ The bill please

Cambodians don’t so often use the word “please” or “som” so this can be dropped for speed.

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