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Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia forum

Cash and valuables (and rainy season)

Posted by adelene on 8/5/2006 at 02:04


This is a great website!
My husband and I are travelling from Bangkok to Hanoi, through Cambodia and then up the coast of Vietnam, mainly overland, between July 22nd and August 22nd 2006. As he is a school teacher, these are the only dates we could feasibly do. We are slightly worried about two things, though:

1. It says in lots of travel guides that you should not leave cash in budget hotel rooms, even if there is a safe in the room. But I don't fancy carrying around our entire budget every day. What do other people do about this? Where do you store the bulk of your cash? We don't want to rely on ATMs as we read that you can only get around £70 a day out of them, and that they are extremely few and far between.
2. Are we trying to do too much in one month - particularly considering this will be rainy season? We were thinking of two days in Bangkok, just over a week in Cambodia (three days at Angkor/Siem Reap, then Battambang, then Phnom Penh for two nights), and then three weeks-ish making our way up the coast in Vietnam. Is this going to be a nightmare in the wet weather? Should we plan a different itinerary?

Thanks in advance,




#1 adelene has been a member since 8/5/2006. Posts: 19

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/5/2006 at 11:09 admin

Hi Adelene,

Welcome to Travelfish -- glad you like the site!

1) How are you planning on carrying your money -- if you're planning on travelling around with a huge wad of cash, I'd suggest considering Traveller's cheques instead as they're more convenient and secure -- plus take up a lot less space so can easily be carried around in a money belt.

2) You're itinerary is doable... have you had a look at the Trip planner section? there's some Vietnam itineraries in there that may be of help with the planning... I wouldn't worry too much about the weather - if that's when you can go, that's when you can go!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,093

Posted by adelene on 8/5/2006 at 17:20

Thanks so much for that - that's great! I did look at the trip planner section, which was really helpful thanks. I suppose we don't know the best way to carry our money - this is the first trip of this type we've ever done. If we take traveller's cheques, will it be easy to change them along the route?



#3 adelene has been a member since 8/5/2006. Posts: 19

Posted by exacto on 10/5/2006 at 02:55

Hi Adelene,

I'd second Somtam's suggestion on the Traveller's Checks, because if they are lost or stolen you can at least get your money back. If your cash goes missing, you are out of luck.

I'd also suggest a good mixture of traveller's checks, cash, and an ATM card for travelling. The ATM card will come in quite handy if you arrive in a place after the banks or currency exchange places are closed. If you get stuck, you can always try to change a traveller check into local currency at a hotel, but they'll usually give you a very poor rate and/or a high service charge. For that reason, if you can try to carry a range of denominations of travellers checks. At least that way if you are getting stuck with a bad exchange rate, you are only changing a bit of money rather than a bunch.

I've had good luck exchanging travellers checks throughout Asia, particularly in places where tourists tend to go. I always travel with US dollar-denominated checks, so I don't know if it is easier or harder to exchange GBP-denominated checks or not.

I also prefer to use my ATM card as my primary source of funds (I travel with two of them), using cash and travellers checks as backup. I've never been stuck that way. I have a low-fee ATM card, and for me it is much cheaper and easier than the fees and service charges associated with travellers checks. The best part about the ATM is that not only do you tend to get a better rate, but ATMs are usually available around the clock.
Don't know about the GBP 70/day limits you mention. In Thailand, for example, you can pull out up to 10,000 baht per day in most locations. In Laos of course there are no ATMs, and only a few I'm told in Cambodia (ANZ I think).

Finally, for Cambodia, they'll prefer cash for most transactions like meals and hotels (unless you are staying at a very upscale place), and they prefer US dollars as their currency. FYI.

Sorry. I tend to get long-winded. I hope this info helps. Have a good trip.

#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,841

Posted by adelene on 10/5/2006 at 15:58

That's brilliant - thank you. It all sounds like common sense, but then I don't have very much of that! Both of your posts really help, so thanks again,

#5 adelene has been a member since 8/5/2006. Posts: 19

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