Women traveling together or alone will find exploring this region particularly pleasant and easy. The Buddhist and Islamic codes of conduct and ethics followed by many mean that you will be treated with respect and courtesy.
Although you will almost never find local women dining or touring alone, as a visitor, your behavior will be accepted. You will rarely, if ever, be approached or hassled by strangers. At the same time, you can feel free to start a conversation with a stranger without fear of misinterpretation. Note: If you are traveling with a man, public displays of affection are not welcome, and it's you, the female, who will be scorned. Also, you will have to take even more care than your male counterpart to dress modestly, meaning no cleavage- or midriff-baring tops, miniskirts, or short shorts. Otherwise, you risk offending people on the grounds of either religious or local moral standards. Though wearing revealing clothing or sunbathing topless might appear to be tolerated, that's only because your hosts wish to avoid confrontation. Deep inside, it is very embarrassing.
It's still not advisable to take risks that you wouldn't normally take at home. Don't hitchhike, accept rides, or walk around late at night, particularly in dimly lit areas or in unfamiliar places. Be acutely aware of purse or jewelry snatchers in large cities. When meeting strangers in nightclubs, for example, buy your own drinks and keep an eye on them. In Cambodia, where a system of impunity prevails, precautions are highly recommended -- and that includes within the temple complex of Angkor.
Check out the award-winning website Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com), a "real-life" women's travel network where you can sign up for a free e-mail newsletter and get advice on everything from etiquette and dress to safety; or the travel guide Safety and Security for Women Who Travel, by Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer (Travelers' Tales, Inc.), offering common-sense tips on safe travel.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.