As blunt as this title may be, I don’t know any lighter way to put it. After traveling through Thailand and Laos, and feeling very unwelcome in a good few spots, hitting Cambodia was a breath of fresh air. Cambodian people, though somewhat rough around the edges, are kind, gracious, extremely playful, and actually enjoy having tourists in their country. They are also actively taking steps to make the influx of tourism postive.
I’ll be real; I honestly believe Thai people hate tourists. I’m not one for blanket statements normally, and I don’t believe ALL Thai people do, but take a trip to southern Thailand or Bangkok and try and prove me wrong. Laos, though home to some extremely nice people, are following in suite.
From experience, I do believe both Thai and Laoation people are good people. Having dealt with shitty tourists for some time, and allowing lots of their beautiful locations to turn into shitty tourists destinations, has jaded them on westerners. Tourists seem no more than a giant dollar sign. It is sad, but it seems to be the case.
What makes Cambodians so great is that they are real. They don’t pull punches and they are upfront. Sure getting hassled by Tuk Tuk and Moto drivers is obnoxious, but Cambodians will be open when they want to talk to you, as well as when they want to try and sell you something. If you are lucky enough to befriend a Cambodian, you will find out just how playful and affectionate they can be.
Visit Cambodia, meet people, and remember a smile and a little effort to learn some Khmer will go a long way.