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Laos forum

Large denomination USD - accepted in Laos?

Posted by Bear on 28/2/2010 at 11:12

I am traveling in Laos and Cambodia this month, and want to bring enough USD with me to pay for the major expenses: visas * two persons for Laos and Cambodia, Angkor Wat passes * two persons, guide for Angkor, expensive guest house in Luang Prabang.

Assuming a guest house bill is close to $100 or for two Laos visas at the airport, will a $100 USD bill be accepted? (If carrying $500 USD at the start of the trip, it will be so much easier to have a $100 bill or two.)

#1 Bear has been a member since 13/1/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by christay2009 on 28/2/2010 at 19:50

I imagine that if you pay for visas/ankor passes in dollars they'll probably give you the change in local currency at an unfavourable exchange so i'd be more inclined to have exact change for these or at least near enough.

I would just change the dollars into local currency when needed, in Laos anyway, i'm almost 100% sure they'll accept a hundred dollar bill...they accept $100 travellers cheques so i can't see why they wouldnt take hard cash.

thats my two pence, i'm sure others will be more helpful!

#2 christay2009 has been a member since 8/2/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 414
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Posted by somsai on 28/2/2010 at 21:35

In Laos, the change from visas will be given in dollars, (don't let them give you old torn ones) Haven't been to Cambodia since it was half run by KR, think dollars are defacto big money there, in Laos they use kip.

#3 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 568
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Posted by exacto on 1/3/2010 at 00:20

like somsai says, in laos they use kip for pretty much all transactions now, so you can use the $100 bills to exchange money at the bank and then just pay for everything with local currency.

in cambodia, i agree with christay that you'll be better off having at least some smaller denomination bills, including a pile of $1s, to pay for stuff.

#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,679
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Posted by Bear on 1/3/2010 at 07:29

Thank you for the responses -- very helpful.

#5 Bear has been a member since 13/1/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by Captain_Bob on 5/3/2010 at 16:33

I'd be inclined to carry $20s (nice neat crisp unmarked unfolded) as you don't want to run low on kip for example and then be forced to exchange a full $100 when you're leaving in just a couple more days. USD in Laos are only useful for visa charge and when paying for a posh hotel which has its tariffs listed in dollars. I actually prefer Thai baht to carry in Laos which can be exchanged for kip everywhere and not required to be in perfect condition as with USD.

#6 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,911

Posted by Barns on 11/3/2010 at 10:32

People don't nearly always use kip in Laos. Everyday, small expenses are in kip, mid-price things up to about one or two hundred dollars are quoted in Thai baht and above that it's usually quoted in dollars.

However, the government is trying to encourage people to use kip and I also recommend people do so since it helps the economy. Although it does seem a bit strange when you're paying several million kip for something!

$100 are accepted in most places but the change will usually come back in kip unless at an official place. For some reason though they don't like $100 bills from 2003, I think it must have been a big year for forgeries or something.

#7 Barns has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: Laos. Posts: 16
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