- Ayn Rand
Cambodian currency is the Riel but US dollars are widely accepted and exchanged. This is in no way 'black-market' or unofficial; the Cambodia Tourist Visa payment must be paid in US dollars and cannot be settled in Riel - Thai Baht are accepted at the Thai border crossings.
The Riel per US$ exchange rate on the streets of Siem Reap has been stable at around 4,100 - but most shops will round to 4,000 for ease. When receiving change from a dollar, the cents will be returned to you in Riel - if you give a 10 dollar note for a $2.50 item, you will usually get 7 dollars and 2,000 Riel change.
Cambodia is an inexpensive place to vacation. Some example costs for day to day living: a roll of film costs from US$4 to US$5, large bottle of water from US$1.00, Angkor beer (excellent by the way) costs US$0.50 to $1 for a can. Meals are roughly - breakfast from US$0.50 to $5, lunch from US$2 to US$5 and dinner from US$2 to $10. For more information, check out our Cambodia travel costs page.
If you are concerned about the total costs for a holiday in Cambodia you perhaps should consider one of our sample itineraries so that your costs are known up-front. All transportation, hotels, entry fees and guided tours are included and you can even ask us to add meals to the package as you prefer.
Even slightly torn US dollar bills will not be accepted by many places and banks. Reject any torn, well worn or damaged US dollar bills which you recieve in change.
Visa or Mastercard are accepted in many hotels and most souvenir shops but in only the largest restaurants. You should carry enough Cambodian money or US Dollars (in fairly small denominations) to cover your immediate costs. Note also that American Express is not as widely accepted. It is the custom to pass on Cambodian bank transaction fees to the customer on credit card transactions.
Tips are an important income in the service and tourist industries. There is no tradition of tipping in the country, but tips are (very) gratefully received - in restaurants and bars we suggest rounding up a dollar or two for most bills (or use up some Riel). These tips make a real difference for most Cambodians. For guides who have make a special effort tip US$10-30 per day.
Back to "Cambodia Vacation Advice" page.
Banking hours are generally from 8am until 3pm Monday to Friday. ATMs now operate in Siem Reap,Phnom Penh and most other cities and give $US for a $2-4 fee per transaction. Most banks will exchange travellers cheques of most major currencies for withdrawal in US$. Generally commission is charged at 2% by the bank. Credit card cash withdrawals also incur a 2% charge.
DO carry plenty of US$1 notes: Most daily transactions are conducted in cash and you should carry plenty of US$1 bills with you. A surprising number of things cost US$1; 2 flutes for US$1, 10 bracelets for US$1, 10 post cards for US$1 etc.
DO NOT carry more that US$10,000 into or out of the country.
DO NOT change dollars into Riel, particularly at the borders - there is no point, and you may get a poor exchange rate.
Check your exchange rate for Cambodian currency to US Dollars through this real time currency exchange rate converter
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