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
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).
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.
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.
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!