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Cambodia forum

Change currency or use USD

Posted by sunlvr on 16/9/2015 at 17:50

I've been reading recently that a lot of places now accept USD and the Riel. Any suggestions on what currency is better to use? If using USD should I mainly bring small bills? I have heard no torn or marked up bills will be accepted. We will be going into Laos as well, does anyone know if its the same there? TIA

#1 sunlvr has been a member since 7/8/2014. Posts: 37

Posted by exacto on 16/9/2015 at 18:22

I haven't been to Cambodia in a while now, but crisp USD was always much appreciated. It is a smart idea to take some with you (we took about $200 total, with 100 brand new $1 bills and the rest in $5s and $10s). Last I heard, ANZ ATMs were still dispensing USD. You will get riel back in change, which is handy to have for small purchases and tips and such.

As for Laos, it used to be that USD was accepted and even preferred in some places. But on my last several trips, kip was the preferred currency and the USD stayed in my pocket to be exchanged towards the end of the trip for local currency.

By the way, I think it is smart to always have a few $10 bills (or euro or whatever you use at home) with you on a trip in case you need to get just a little extra local currency before crossing a border or to pay for visa-on-arrival or such. Cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,840

Posted by amnicoll on 17/9/2015 at 07:36

$ no problem in Cambodia. No need to go to the bother of carrying lots of $1 bills or even small denomination bills

best strategy is always to simply ensure you have some small bills so when you run out of $10s for example cash a 20and when you run out of $20s cash a 50 and when you are out of $50 cash a 100 and so on. In towns and cities this is not a problem (banks and money changers will usually oblige) but in villages then you may wish to at least have a stock of $10s

This is general advise and where and what you are doing should be thought about in this context. I stay in a village but I know I can cash $100 notes but that much of the change will be in Riel unless I ask in advance for $ to be saved for me as change

#3 amnicoll has been a member since 10/1/2005. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 976

Posted by billytheliar on 19/9/2015 at 02:24

Oct.13, I had no problems with the condition of USD notes. Many smaller denomination notes I got as change were anyway in a miserable state (not torn, though). Depending on the exchange rate, using riel might be marginally better.

#4 billytheliar has been a member since 3/4/2012. Posts: 48

Posted by annarchynyc on 16/12/2015 at 15:42

I am travelling to Cambodia in the next month. I am curious about other traveller comments regarding Battambang --> I am torn whether to visit or skip. Opinions/Comments on Kep and Kampot also welcome. Anyone?

So far, the itinerary is 1day PP, 3day Siem Riep, 3 day S'ville, 3days are as of yet unplanned, and last 2 days PP.

Thank you in advance.

#5 annarchynyc has been a member since 20/10/2015. Location: Other. Posts: 4

Posted by Lollivia on 17/12/2015 at 23:14


I went to Cambodia this time last year and changed around $400 into Riel. Everywhere uses USD. You don't need to change it. They will give you change in Riel if need be. Make sure you change it into USD before you leave the country as it won't be accepted outside. I learned the hard way.

I don't know about Laos. Best bet is to stick to crisp, new and undamaged USD. I wrote more in the comments here

I hope this helps. Have a great time!

#6 Lollivia has been a member since 17/12/2015. Posts: 1

Posted by Clare1993 on 18/12/2015 at 04:08

I'm in Cambodia at the moment - in Phnom Penh they look at me funny whenever I ask for what the price is in riel as everything is done in USD so definitely not a problem. Even here in Pursat (rural area) hotels and things accept USD, but most people prefer riel.

@annarchynyc I loved Kampot and Kep when i went 3 years ago, and after arriving back in the country i've heard rave reviews from a few people so I would definitely put it on the list. You can stay in Kampot and rent a motorcycle to day trip to Kep. Battambang I am going next weekend for xmas so not sure what it's like as of yet!

#7 Clare1993 has been a member since 7/4/2012. Posts: 22

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