Common Khmer Phrases For Travel

Ling Learn Languages
6 min readMar 27, 2021

Traveling around the world opens different aspects of our life. It broadens our minds to understand things across every culture. It also opens our hearts to appreciate the beauty of every beautiful place and most of all, it leaves us stories to tell. To be able to do that, you need to connect with the people. In this blog, you will learn about common Khmer phrases for travel.

Khmer In Cambodia

If you are planning a trip across Asia, Cambodia is definitely one of the countries that you will consider. Cambodia is undeniably one of the countries which have a rich culture. Have you been there? Well, if you go there, you will probably be hearing people speaking using their official language- Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ). It is a Mon-Khmer language that is spoken not just in Cambodia but also in Vietnam and Thailand.

Common Khmer Phrases For Travel

Traveling is fun and fulfilling. Who would not love to go to different places and explore their beauty? But no matter how great traveling is, let’s admit the fact that it’s hard to start a conversation with the local people especially when you are alone. You really need to start learning a little bit of their language and bring with you some phrases to help you get along.

If you are planning to have a trip to Cambodia, learning some Khmer phrases and words is advisable. Although there are Cambodians who speak English, there are situations that you will be needing to use their language. Here are some essential words and phrases that may come in handy:

Greetings In Khmer

Have you ever experience traveling alone and you have something to say but you’re doubting that the local people will not understand you? Sounds awkward, right? To avoid this kind of situation, you need to learn at least the different ways to greet in Khmer. Starting every conversation in a greeting will help you break the ice. Here are some Khmer greetings that you may use:

Basic Greetings

Hello (Formal)- chom Reap Sour (ជំរាបសួរ ) VS Hello (Informal)- susadei (សួស្តី)

Be aware that there are two ways on how to say hello in Khmer. Chom Reap Sour (ជំរាបសួរ ) is used for formal conversation and Susadei (សួស្តី) for informal. Both are done with a sampeah that also differs from whom you are talking to.

Other Greetings

Cambodians have their own way of greeting someone. They boy their heads and use sampeah as a sign of respect and it depends to whom you are talking.

Khmer Phrases for Directions

After the airplane landed in Cambodia, what’s next? Do you know where to go? If you do, do you know how to get there? If you do not have a travel guide, you will surely need to ask for directions. Tuk-tuk is likely to be your primary mode of transportation traveling around Cambodia especially in large cities like Phnom Penh. It can be exciting and a little bit scary if you don’t know how to communicate with the locals. But don’t you worry because here are some useful phrases to bring with you along your journey:

Common Places In Khmer

A Tuk-tuk can take you to different tourist spots around Cambodia. Aside from the beautiful places, there also places that foreigners should go before anything else or in case of emergency. Here are some of those places and their Khmer translation:

Khmer Phrases For Food And Restaurant

A trip will never be complete if there’s no food. It is one of the most exciting parts of your whole trip. Discovering what kind of food do locals eat is one of the highlights of your travel because you are able to taste their cuisine and see what special dishes they can offer. If you would like to know some words or phrases to use when you want to eat in Cambodia, check the list below:

Khmer Phrases For Shopping

Before leaving the country, it’s nice to have something that will remind you about your fantastic travel experience. Foreigners often buy souvenirs like ref magnets, shirts, artworks, and sometimes food. In Cambodia, there are unique souvenirs that you can bring home and give to your loved ones like rainbow Cambodian coconut bowls, silver jewelry, Cambodian or Vietnamese coffee maker/filter, and many more. If you are planning to buy, learn at least basic Khmer words or phrases. Who knows? You might be getting the product for a smaller amount. Here are some Khmer phrases for shopping:

Khmer Phrases for Emergency

Although Cambodians are nice and welcoming people, there are still people that you should be careful with especially if you are a foreigner. Accidents may also happen anywhere and anytime so you should know at least what to say. Check out the following phrases and words that might be useful for you:

Khmer Phrases For Expressing Politeness

If you are a foreigner being polite with the locals is a must. It is a way to show your respect and appreciation to the people and their country. Words like, “Thank you”, “Sorry”, “Excuse me”, and “You’re welcome” will really be essential to add to your Khmer vocabulary. The words below are the phrases and words that are commonly used in everyday communication:

Khmer Numbers From 1–10

Learning how to count at least 1–10 will really helo you a lot especially when you are buying something in the stores or eating out.

Khmer Days Of The Week

While wandering to the beautiful places in the country, it’s not impossible to lose track of the days. The words below are the Khmer days of the week which are very important especially for itinerary and scheduled flight:

Learning Language

Now that you’ve learned different Khmer phrases for travel, let’s go deeper. If you want to travel not just across Asia but around the world, it’s time to learn different languages. Learning different languages will open doors for a better travel experience. There are learning apps that you may use and carry with you throughout your journey. All you need is a smartphone and internet connection and you will be fine! A word or phrase will come a long way. Before you say goodbye to the country, learn at least a few words from their language. It will not only widen your vocabulary but it will also be your lifetime memory visiting that beautiful place.



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