9+ Basic Khmer Greetings You Must Know!

Basic Khmer Greetings

Embarking on an adventure to Cambodia is not just about exploring breathtaking landscapes and historical wonders; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture that’s as warm as its tropical climate.

Among the many keys that unlock the heart of Cambodia, none are as essential as the art of saying basic Khmer greetings. These seemingly simple words and gestures open doors to rich interactions and foster connections that transcend language barriers.

If you’re planning to visit Cambodia soon, learning basic greetings in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, can come in handy. Keep reading to learn how to greet locals in their native language!

Hello In Khmer Language

Imagine stepping into a world where greetings are more than just polite gestures – they are expressions of respect, kindness, and an eagerness to connect. That’s the magic that Khmer greetings bring to your Cambodian journey. At the heart of these interactions lies a deep-rooted value for mutual respect and an open-hearted approach to new acquaintances.

Hello in Khmer basic Khmer greetings

The Essentials: Chom Reap Sour And Susadei

The beauty of Khmer greetings lies not only in their spoken form but in the cultural nuances they carry. These Khmer language phrases – “Chom Reap Sour” and “Susadei” – catches the essence of Cambodian hospitality and camaraderie.

Chom Reap Sour

Imagine stepping into a realm where formality meets tradition. This greeting, often accompanied by a slight bow and a warm smile, is reserved for showing respect to elders and individuals of higher social standing. When you utter “Chom Reap Sour,” you’re not just saying hello; you’re acknowledging the wisdom and life experiences that your conversational partner brings to the table.


Picture yourself amidst friends, feeling the camaraderie that comes naturally in a close-knit community. Here, “Susadei” comes to life. This informal greeting carries the spirit of friendship and belonging, making it the perfect choice when addressing peers or friends. A quick “Susadei” with a friendly smile creates an instant bond, inviting laughter and easy conversations.

Other Basic Khmer Greetings

If you’d like to learn more informal Khmer greeting, here are other options for greeting in Khmer.

English TranslationKhmer ScriptKhmer Pronunciation
Hello (formal)ជំរាបសួរChom reap sour
Hello (informal)សុស្តិតិSusadei
Good morningអរុណសូវស្ដីArun susadey
How are you? I’m fineសុគស្មាបតិការិយាសSoksaby
Goodbye (formal)ជំរាបលាអេរក្រិយលារChom reap lear
Goodbye (informal)លាហិនហិLear hi
Take careសុគស្មាបលSok sabai
Thank youអរគុណArkun
Sorry/Excuse meសុំទោSom dtoh

The Grace Of The Sampeah

While spoken greetings are wonderful, mastering the “Sampeah” is like opening a window to Cambodian culture’s very soul. This traditional gesture, where palms are pressed together in a prayer-like gesture, carries profound respect, gratitude, and humility. It’s a universal language that transcends words, connecting hearts across cultural divides.

Five Levels Of Sampeah

  1. Chest Level: Share camaraderie with friends and peers.
  2. Mouth Level: Pay respects to bosses, elders, and those in authority.
  3. Nose Level: Convey admiration to parents, grandparents, and teachers.
  4. Eyebrows Level: Offer reverence to royalty and monks.
  5. Forehead Level: Express devotion during prayers and sacred moments.

The Sampeah isn’t just a gesture; it’s an embrace of the soul. Learning its nuances and practicing it with sincerity opens doors to profound connections and deeper understanding.

Polite Khmer Phrases

In Cambodia, basic greetings extend beyond “hello” to encompass expressions of politeness. Phrases like “Som dtoh” (Excuse me/Sorry) and “Arkun” (Thank you) carry an extra layer of respect and consideration. Using these phrases not only showcases your desire to understand and embrace local customs but also ensures smooth and respectful communication.

cambodia basic Khmer greetings

Enrich Your Journey By Learning Khmer

Approaching the journey of learning Khmer greetings with humility is the key. Cambodians often appreciate and applaud those who attempt to speak their language, recognizing the effort as a bridge between cultures. Remember, each word and gesture represents a step closer to mutual understanding and genuine connections.

As Cambodians have an extremely respectful culture, learning a few phrases in Khmer is more than a skill; it’s a passport to Cambodian hearts! As you traverse bustling markets, share conversations with locals, and explore ancient temples, the phrases you use become bridges to deeper interactions. Each “Chom Reap Sour,” “Susadei,” and Sampeah is an invitation to connect, a token of your openness to the beautiful culture that surrounds you.

Incorporating these greetings into your daily interactions enhances your travel experience. It’s not just about saying words; it’s about understanding the values, traditions, and spirit of Cambodia. From the bustling streets of Phnom Penh to the serene temples of Siem Reap, these gestures enrich your journey, creating lasting memories and forging friendships that span continents.

So, as you step into the heart of Cambodia, armed with a warm smile and a heartfelt “Susadei,” you’re not just greeting someone – you’re embracing a culture, bridging divides, and leaving footprints of friendship in the sands of time. In a world where connections often begin with a simple “hello,” your efforts to learn Khmer greetings are seeds that blossom into lifelong memories.

Start Learning Khmer With Ling!

Ling is a language learning app designed to help you improve all four language skills in more than 60+ foreign languages including the Khmer language.

Ling takes you from the beginning and guides you through step-by-step instructions to teach you how to write the Khmer script correctly. The best part? With this, you can learn real-life vocabulary and phrases in Khmer and 60+ other languages! So what are you waiting for? Download the Ling app from the App Store or Google Play now!

Enjoyed this post? Ling has a massive Khmer language blog where you can find a lot of articles covering different aspects of the Khmer language and its culture!

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