Whether you’re taking a one, two, three or four-day tour of Angkor Wat, joining a bar crawl on Siem Reap’s Pub Street or hammock swinging in Sihanoukville, Cambodia has something for every traveller, from the history buff to the party animal to the beach bum.
Cambodia is possibly the most complex South East Asian nations when it comes to money management, this owing mostly to the use of up to three different currencies at once, but our handy blog aims to remove those complexities, whether it’s riel, baht, dollars or all three at once.
|Official Currency in Cambodia||Riel (KHR)|
|Unofficial Currency||US Dollar (USD)|
|Budget Accommodation||£4-8 per night for hostel/guesthouse|
|Bottle of Water||£0.50|
* Prices based on Siem Reap
Riel Banknote denominations: 50, 100, 500,1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000.
Riel Coins: 50, 100, 200, 500.
The Riel is only available once you are in Cambodia so you can not buy or exchange it before you go. However, the 2nd unofficial and more widely used currency is the US Dollar. Most purchases and cash withdrawals will be in USD.
Cash or Card?
Like almost all of South East Asia Cambodia is a cash ruled country. We found that 93% of WeSwap transactions were made with cash rather than a card. Whilst the large hotels and international brands should accept credit and debit cards the majority of places will not offer the facilities. Visa and Mastercard are the most accepted with Amex gaining popularity.
ATMs are plentiful in Cambodia, but as across the continent, there is nearly always a charge. Often around £3-£4 per transaction for most major debit and credit cards and not all foreign cards will be accepted. There’s a lot of choice though and you can end up saving a lot if you choose correctly. So, to help you navigate those costs, we’ve put together this list of the country’s most popular ATMs their fees:
- Canadia Bank: $5 per withdrawal
- Mekong Bank: $5 per withdrawal
- Maybank: Free withdrawals for US and European Visa/PLUS cards ($4-6 per transaction for the rest of us)
- ABA: $4 per withdrawal
- ACLEDA: $4 per withdrawal
- Vattanak: $4 per withdrawal
- Cathay United: $6 per withdrawal
Always choose the local currency (by local we mean USD or Riel) rather than your home currency. If you do not you may face a fee known for Dynamic Currency Conversion. This can really add up over the length of your trip.
- US Dollars are the second currency here and a number of ATMs dispense them as well as riel. The on-the-ground rate tends to be 4,000r to the dollar and you may find you end up paying for things with dollars and getting your change back in riel. Like Vietnam, keep those dollars crisp or see them placed them firmly back in your hand.
- To complicate things further, as you move towards the Thai border, Thai baht comes back into play giving you a third currency to deal with. A travel card and app, such as the WeSwap lets you spend globally and this can really simplify things in these situations.
- If you decide to just commit to the dollar always aim to have about 40,000r on you just in case. It’s ideal for small purchases and will also stop you gathering more and more small change as you pay for things in dollars and get change in riel.
- Withdrawl amounts such as $240 or £290 this will mean you get lower denomination notes which are easier to spend and change up.