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Kent Kobayashi

Travelled to 11 countries / regions

Written 18 briefs
I traveled to Cambodia in January of 2019

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Asia > Cambodia > Useful Info
Submitted on May 07, 2019 Useful Info

You can pay for things with USD in Cambodia

  • Cambodia is a strange country in that it accepts both its own currency (the Riel) and US Dollars for day-to-day transactions inside the country
  • On my entire trip, I had no problem paying for everything with cash US dollars. In fact, most businesses quoted me in USD instead of Riel
  • So, I think the best way for tourists to pay for things in Cambodia is to bring lots of USD, instead of trying to exchange for Riel, because it's basically impossible to get Riel anywhere outside of Cambodia, and once you arrive in Cambodia you can just pay for everything in USD directly
  • The implied exchange rate when paying for things in USD is also extremely good. When I was doing some checking, I found USD price to be less than less than 1% worse than the price in Riel
  • So, here are some of my tips for using USD in Cambodia:
  • Bring lots of $1 USD bills: Cambodia is a low-cost country, and you will find that your daily transactions will only ever cost you a few dollars each. Having $1USD bills will help a lot
  • They do not accept USD coins: forget about bringing nickels, dimes and quarters. Cambodians do not want them. The minimum denomination they accept is $1 bills
  • You can pay with a combination of USD and Riel: let's say something costs $5.5USD. You can pay $5USD, and then pay 2000 Riels (which is worth 50 cents) on top of that
  • Make sure the USD bills are in good condition: they prefer pristine notes, and certainly nothing that is torn or have writings on them
  • Change will be given in Riels: you can pay for things in USD directly, but change will most likely be given in Riels. It's confusing but that's just how it is. You will end up with a bunch of Riel bills, so you will need to try to spend them as much as you can before you leave the country. As soon as you leave Cambodia the Riels will become worthless as you won't find any money exchanger outside of Cambodia willing to accept Riel
  • ATMs also dispense USD: when you run out of USDs, you can just withdraw more from the ATMs in Cambodia. That's pretty cool I think