Part 2, Khmer Lesson For Your Beautiful Holiday In Battambang

In the first post, we have already talked about Hello and Goodbye. We have also mentioned about Cambodian greeting too. In this post, we are going to talk more about the word that is normally used in a bigger situation such as the market words and some simple communication words. All will be in the simple way.    

I used the word Khmer instead of Cambodian language in the first post. You might have wondered this word since you hear it in the first time or you only arrive Cambodia in a couple days. Khmer is the word that Cambodian people call themselves. This word refers to the language and people in Cambodia.

Ot Te Orkun / No Thanks

Soksabike’s guest is practicing Khmer words and greeting in Cambodian way

Soksabike’s guest is practicing Khmer words and greeting in Cambodian way

Ot Te Orkun means “I Am Good Thanks” or “No Thank You” When travelling, people want to relax and feel free to do what they want to do. When you are in Cambodia, you might feel annoyed by a Tuk Tuk driver trying to offer you a Tuk Tuk ride. To say no in the proper way so they listen, you should say no in Khmer. They will stop following you because they realize that you might live in Cambodia. Normally the foreigners who live in Cambodia have their transportation. The official sentence for this is “Nhom min trov ka te orkun”. It is not necessary that you need to use this. I just want you to get a sense of the word.

A Cambodian lady, holding banana leave, Battambang.

A Cambodian lady, holding banana leave, Battambang.

Tlai Pn Man / How much, Thlai Nas / Too Expensive

It doesn’t matter how long you are in Cambodia. Going shopping when you are on holiday could be one of the best activities to do. Exploring the local markets is fun. It is also a great opportunity to get to know real Cambodian people. When you get into the market, you will be welcomed by the warm smile of the seller. Start to talk to them because they really want to talk to you. Soksabay is the best phrase to kick off your conversation.

When you are walking in the market and you want to purchase something, you will want to know the cost. “Thlai Ponman” means “how much is it?”  “Thlai Nas” means “it is too expensive.” It is always ok to do a little bit bargaining however if the product cost lower than $2 it is reasonable to accept it without bargaining. Keep in mind that incomes for many sellers are low so if you are bargaining over fifty cents or a dollar that income means much more to the seller than it means to you. When you want to pay for your meal or Tuk Tuk ride, you can also use this word to ask for the cost. Keep in mind that $1 is 4,000 Riel in Cambodia currency.

Chong tov / Want To GO

It is easier if you can say where you want to in Khmer. You can only check on Google Map to get the name of the place then you can use the word Chong Tov plus name, example Chong tov P’sa Nat or Chong Tov Angkor Wat. It is true that in Cambodia, there are more people who speak English compared to some other countries in Asia. The biggest challenge for you is not how well you speak Khmer but how much you understand.

I am going to explain a little bit more about this word because in Khmer there are two words in this word. When we divide it, it is like this. Chong mean I want and Tov means Go.

Example: Chong plus

          Eat/Nham: Chong Nham                                    I want to eat

          Buy/ Tinh: Chong Tinh                                       I want to buy

          Rent bike/ Chul Kong: Chong Chul Kong         I want to rent a bike

Bat, Ja/Yes

The Yes word is simple spoken in conversation. In Cambodian language this word is said in two ways according to the sexes of people. The man says Bat for yes and the woman says Ja for yes.


Old French bridge, Battambang

Old French bridge, Battambang

I have met a lot different people who visit Cambodia. Most of them are curious about Cambodian food. They told me they like the food. They want express that feeling to the seller, but they don’t know how to say delicious in Khmer. Delicious in Khmer is Changanh. There are so many Khmer foods for you to try. When you are in a restaurant, try saying Changanh to your waiter or waitress and see their reaction! It is always so exiting to hear foreigners speak Khmer.

In Khmer culture, people must be very polite and respectful when they are eating. They normally don’t talk in the meal. Younger people should not eat before their elders. You should not eat by yourself while your friend or other people are with you. You should at least make an offering for them some food even if you know they will not eat.  Be sure to try some Khmer food when you are here in Cambodia.

Chul Muy/Cheers

The cheer is one of the most interesting words for me, especially when people say at drinking time. Have you noticed that? being a guide, I have met people from all around the world. It is interesting to hear this word in the different languages. The English say Cheers, the French say Santé, the Chinese say ganbei and so many more. Cambodian people say Chul Muy when they are drinking at a party. I know sometimes the word cheer isn’t used only in drinking time yet It is used to welcome for victory or more than that. The word Chul Muy is only use when we drink beer or wine and everyone always drinks together, even for just one sip.

I really enjoy working as a guide. I have learnt a lot about different cultures and I know how important to respect the local culture is it. I hope you like this content and share it to people who you think it is good for them. I love to share more if you are interested to know  more Khmer words. Feel free to contact me on Soksabike’s Facebook page or website. I am there.