21 Apr
2014

Cambodian Money — 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia

Cambodian Money — What You Should Know While Traveling Cambodia

While traveling Cambodia, one must consider several aspects of Cambodian money. What’s the currency? How far does a US Dollar go in Cambodia? What are other issues to be mindful of?

1. How Far Does a Dollar Go in Siem Reap, Cambodia?

The cost of food is always a great way to gauge cost of living while traveling. In my Cambodian travels, I’ve been spending less than $12.00USD a day for food!  Typically $12.00 only covers one meal in the U.S., but take a look at the other side of the world in Cambodia and you’ll get yourself 3 full meals with an afternoon snack included.   🙂 The food is fresh, delicious and will satisfy your taste buds!

My average daily expenses for food in Cambodia

$1.75USD total for breakfast:  $0.75 coconut, $1.00 16-bundle of small bananas

$3.50USD total for lunch:  $1.00 fruit smoothie, $2.50 khmer curry

$1.50 total for afternoon snack: bundle of lychee

$5.00 total for dinner: $2.50 khmer crepes, $2.50 fruit salad

total= $11.75

Cambodian Money 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia Khmer Curry

Khmer Vegetable Curry . . . my absolute favorite 🙂

2. Are Some Areas of Siem Reap Cheaper than Others?

Yes. There are definitely areas in Siem Reap, Cambodia that are cheaper than others.  For instance, restaurant prices will be twice as high when dining at restaurants on Pub Street (the most touristy area of Siem Reap). Street and corner stands (as opposed to restaurants) are 75% cheaper than when buying fresh fruit (coconuts, pineapple, papaya, bananas).

Cambodian Money 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia Lychee in Cambodia

Khmer women selling lychee at the corner.

The Old Market near Pub Street in Siem Reap is even cheaper when buying fruit. Old Market vendors sell by the Kilo (I usually buy at 1/2 kilo). Don’t let their initial asking price of $5.00/kilo fool you — you can always bargain lower or find a different seller among the many inside the market for a better price.

Cambodian Money 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia Lychee Stems Cambodia Lucid Practice

Taking a photo of my lychee before I eat them all up is a challenge! 🙂

3. Use Dollar or Cambodian Money (Riel)

Moreso than most countries, Cambodian vendors allow customers to use multiple currencies — either US Dollars or Cambodian Riel. Interestingly enough, USD often comes out of the ATM machines in Cambodia! As of now, one US Dollar is equal to 4,000 Cambodian Riel.

4. Carry Small Notes for Street Purchases in Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you’re making a small purchase, some vendors will not accept large USD notes. For example, you might have trouble buying a $.75 mango with a $10 dollar bill.  At restaurants, large notes are not an issue.

Tip: Before coming to Cambodia, my friend took out $300 USD from her bank and asked for all one dollar bills — I suggest doing this!

5. Bring Crisp USD Notes for Purchases in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Unless you’re using Cambodian money (the riel), then I suggest carrying crisp USD notes (no creases or tears). The local Khmer people can be picky about their money. For instance, if you give a vendor a ripped or crinkled USD note, they might note accept it!

So, while making a bank withdrawal, ask for “new money” instead of old. On the other hand, Cambodian money (the Cambodian Riel) is viewed differently — the crispness of notes is not a concern.

Cambodian Money 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia Riel or Dollar? Lucid Practice

Both new and worn riel are acceptable to use!

Conclusion

These are the 5 most important things to consider about Cambodian money while traveling in Siem Reap or other parts of this beautiful Southeast Asian country. Click here to read about my recent experience celebrating Khmer New Year in Siem Reap.

I hope you found this post useful! I’d appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing your comments about your deals in Cambodia or elsewhere abroad!

xo,

Danners

3 comments Danners

3 thoughts on “Cambodian Money — 5 Things to Know While Traveling Cambodia

  1. Paz Romano says:

    Danielle,

    Awesome post! I learned a lot about Siem Reap/Cambodia 🙂

    Brian said that in Burma, they’re even more strict about using 100% crisp USD notes haha.

    Have you found that vendors prefer accepting one currency over the other? Does it matter to them?

    Thanks — photos are amazing!

    Paz

  2. Danielle says:

    Wow! Even stricter? That’s crazy! But I suppose it’s possible . . . at somewhat nicer restaurants in Siem Reap they will accept beaten/slightly torn dollar bills. Perhaps they avoid being rude of rejecting bills so they don’t lose their customers, versus cheaper restaurants who are less concerned and care more about the bills themselves.

    I do not believe vendors have a preference for currency.

    Interesting how money works around the world! 🙂

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