What is the currency for Cambodia

Money in Cambodia: one country, two currencies

It would be far too easy to just have to adjust to one national currency. Instead, two currencies are used for daily cash in Cambodia: the - more or less - hard US dollar (USD) and the Cambodian riel (KHR).

Purchases in tourist centers and larger amounts are often paid in US dollars, and small amounts under one US dollar are paid in riels. In everyday life, the double-track approach to money in Cambodia works surprisingly well.


Two currencies in Cambodia

The US dollar has almost displaced the Cambodian riel in the larger cities. Most goods are priced in dollars. Supermarkets, restaurants and even tuk-tuk drivers only bill in dollars. Unless the amounts are odd, the riel is used.

US dollar coins or cents are not accepted. In this way, the final account can then be quickly processed, for example. “One US dollar and 2000 riel” for 1.5 US dollars. It can also happen that part of the change is also received in Cambodian riels - or a mixture of dollars and riels.

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Depending on which currency is currently in stock. Away from the tourist centers, larger amounts are also increasingly paid in Cambodian riels.

Cambodian riel is one of the currencies in Cambodia.

Paying with Cambodian Riel is a bit confusing. There are e.g. different series of one value, which in turn look different. You will get a better overview if you sort all the notes “upside down” in the same direction. Then the value can be seen at a glance.

The exchange rate US dollar - Riel

One US dollar is converted to 4,000 riels. At least most. Some supermarkets and self-service restaurants have come up with the idea of ​​announcing a slightly higher exchange rate at the checkout, but the goods are still priced in US dollars. The higher rate is preferred to be offset in one direction only. If the customer receives his change - e.g. to 50 cents - back in Riel, then most business people prefer to stick to the well-known course. At the end of the day, these little “rip-offs” are all about sums of less than a euro cent.

Money in Cambodia: US dollars and riels are used in parallel.

Baht and Vietnamese Dong in Cambodia

In order to completely confuse the visitor in Cambodia, the currencies of the neighboring countries are preferred in some border regions. The Thai baht in the north-western region belong to Thailand and the dong from Vietnam as parallel currencies in Cambodia.

Thai baht are accepted near the border crossings between Cambodia and Thailand, such as Poipet / Aranyaprathet or Cham Yeam / Khlong Yai.

Change is important in Cambodia

Always make sure that you have some change in your wallet. Larger amounts, we are talking about more than ten US $, can often be difficult to change, e.g. in street kitchens and by taxi drivers.

In Cambodia, always keep some change in stock, e.g. for the street kitchen.

ATMs often dispense US $ 100 notes. My tip: Enter an “odd” amount when withdrawing money from the ATM, such as US $ 290. This way you will receive at least US $ 90 in tens and twenties. You can use the large bills to pay for hotel rooms, for example, in order to have some change in your pocket.

Cash from the ATM

The big cities in Cambodia and tourist centers, such as. the capital Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) are very well equipped with ATMs. As is customary internationally, they are also referred to as ATM here and are easy to recognize. Few ATMs are free-standing, most of them housed in a building or in a small hut.

ATMs in Cambodia can usually be found in glassed-in houses.

The ATMs in Cambodia accept all major credit cards and also bank cards. However, not every ATM will accept all cards. The symbols of the cards that can be used can be seen on the machine or on the door. Visa and MasterCard work at most ATMs, Maestro (“EC card”) but not everywhere. I withdrew money from the DKB-Bank * with my free VISA credit card and got my cash every time within a few seconds.

If you want to withdraw money with your Maestro card in Cambodia, look out for the Cirrus symbol. The Maestro card is accepted by e.g. Cambodian Commercial Bank and Canadia Bank. Withdrawals of up to 1000 US dollars are possible at Canadia Bank; Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and UnionPay are accepted.

Different cards are accepted at ATMs in Cambodia. Here e.g. from Canada Bank.

At the ATM in Cambodia, you can receive US dollars with an international credit card or debit card. The ATM does not issue Cambodian riels.

ATM fee in Cambodia

Until the end of 2014, some banks, such as Canadia Bank, did not charge ATM fees. But that is a thing of the past. For ATM withdrawals in Cambodia, an additional $ 5 will be charged. The fee may vary slightly depending on the bank. In Cambodia, this ATM fee is charged additionally per withdrawal, i.e. added to the withdrawal amount. This fee is independent of the expenses of your bank or credit card and is added to it even if you can actually withdraw cash with your credit card at the ATM free of charge.

US money in Cambodia is causing problems

Even though the US dollar is the common currency in Cambodia, American banknotes sometimes cause problems. In Cambodia there are generally very rare US $ 2 banknotes in circulation. Tourists who have been hailed them are hard to get rid of. Often, 2 US dollar bills in Cambodia are simply converted worse than the Cambodian riel when paying.

Badly wrinkled, labeled and worn US dollar bills are rarely accepted. A reader of the blog (see comments) also reports that US dollar notes issued before 2000 will not be accepted.

That is why you should act just like the locals when it comes to money in Cambodia: only accept intact dollar bills and reject tattered or old dollar bills.

Cashless payments in Cambodia

The majority of daily payments in Cambodia are still made with cash in US dollars and Cambodian riels. In more expensive hotels or exclusive restaurants, payment by credit card is also common.

In some convenience stores and also on the Cambodian Railway, payment with Alipay and Wechat Pay is possible. The two cashless payment systems via smartphone originally come from China.

Alipay and Wechat Pay are accepted in some stores in Cambodia.

Cash is easily available in Cambodia

Resolving money in Cambodia is not a problem. In the big cities, many banks offer ATMs. There are often several ATMs next to each other, and not all cards are always accepted. The easiest way to get money at the ATM with a credit card is to look out for the Cirrus logo if you want to withdraw money with the bank's cash card (“EC card”). When withdrawing money in Cambodia, fees are charged at the ATM, even if your bank does not charge you any costs for withdrawing cash from the ATM.

The ATMs in Cambodia only dispense US dollars when using international credit cards and debit cards. The money from the USA is the main currency in the Southeast Asian country. The Cambodian riels play a subordinate role and are mostly only used for small amounts in the tourist centers. Most of the awards are in US dollars.

Cashless credit card payments are largely uncommon in Cambodia. However, Alipay and Wechat Pay are accepted in some stores in Cambodia.

And one more tip at the end: spend Cambodian riels again before leaving the country. In contrast to the US dollar, you can no longer use the Cambodian currency in any other country.

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This post was published for the first time on February 15, 2011 and was last updated on March 27, 2019, as part of my last trip to Cambodia.

Category: Cambodia