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Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia - What money to take

Posted by Ian15 on 29/5/2016 at 11:16

Hello,
I'm travelling to Southeast Asia in September for 10 weeks, travelling to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
I understand you can use US Dollars in these countries. Are other currencies accepted (British Pounds, Euros)?
What's the best currency to take.

#1 Ian15 has been a member since 11/9/2015. Posts: 10

Posted by exacto on 29/5/2016 at 21:35

I cant' speak for Vietnam, but US Dollars are not widely accepted in Thailand, and are no longer widely accepted in Laos either. You can still use USD most places in Cambodia, but it is easier to get dollars from ATMs there in Cambodia rather than carry a pocketful of cash around with you, particularly on a 10-week trip.
You will want to have USD on hand to pay for visa on arrival in Laos and Cambodia, but otherwise, your best option is to pull local currency from an ATM in the country where you are located once you arrive. Prices are typically lower when using local currency too.
If you choose to have some cash with you as emergency back up, GBP, USD, AUD, NZD, Euros, or Canadian should be fine and easy to exchange at most booths and banks. You will almost always get a better exchange rate once you arrive in the country rather than trying to purchase Baht, Kip, or Riel back home.
I hope that helps. Cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,831

Posted by Captain_Bob on 30/5/2016 at 01:47

Yes, ATMs should be your primary source of local currency, but carry a stash of USD for visas and any hard currency for backup when/where ATMs are unavailable (esp. rural Laos). Thai Baht is a hard currency which can also be brought to Laos and Cambodia for reliable exchange. Laos Kip, Cambodian Riel, and Vietnamese Dong are soft currencies only of real value in their respective countries. ATMs in Cambodia dispense USD which is the currency of tourism there. In a pinch a spare credit card can get cash at exchange bureaus or large hotels.

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,957

Posted by missamandalim on 30/5/2016 at 02:09

Actually, the best currency in each country is the local currency. Therefore, you should change money at the bank or golden shop at each country.

#4 missamandalim has been a member since 13/5/2016. Posts: 17

Posted by Ian15 on 30/5/2016 at 03:59

Thanks everyone for the replies. I should have been a bit clearer, I was thinking more for use in emergencies and when arriving into a new country instead of having to find an ATM or money exchange. It seems that I also need $60 Dollars for the Laos and Cambodia Visa.
Anyone know where I can get Laos Kip from when crossing from Chiang Khong to Huay Xai

#5 Ian15 has been a member since 11/9/2015. Posts: 10

Posted by amnicoll on 30/5/2016 at 04:32

For emergencies then $US is by far the best - make sure you have smallish denominations to avoid the "No change" scenario.

On most borders changing cash is not a problem (Thai baht to Laos Kip say) just make sure you have an idea of what the exchange rate should be and only change for immediate need.

Cambodia is a good place to stock up with $ as you can get them from their ATMs but again you may need to split the notes down

On the Thai Laos/Cambodian borders most will accept thai baht BUT it does not work the other way so in all the countries apart from Thailand get rid of your local currency before you leave or at the border

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


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