What currency do they use in Cambodia? This is a very interesting question! In fact, they use two, the US Dollar and the Cambodian Riel, both of which are used interchangeably! Sound complicated? We’re here to help.
The Cambodian currency is the Riel, this is the national money of the country and what things in places like supermarkets are priced in.
The Riel was first issued from 1953 until 1975, as, when the Khmer Rouge took over the country, money was officially abolished. Something no other “socialist” country managed to achieve.
Money was printed though during this period and the Khmer Rouge even printed their own notes from 1993 to be used in the vast swathes of eastern Cambodia still controlled by Pol Pot.
When the Vietnamese liberated the country, money was agreed reinstated as the second Riel which has existed in the same format until the present.
Do they use USD in Cambodia?
This is where it gets interesting, Cambodia in reality has a dual currency system with US$ being a Cambodian currency alongside the Riel. Back in the good old days the $USD was what you would usually get, at least outside of the countryside, but since the 2020 removal of $1, $2, and $5 bills Cambodian currency in your change is very much the norm.
Do they have dollar coins in Cambodia?
No they do not, instead of coins you will receive Riel banknotes! But how many banknotes? Let’s get onto the exchange rate between the Riel to US Dollar.
Cambodian currency to USD
The actual exchange rate between USD and Riel floats up and down, but on the streets it is fixed at $1 = 4000 Riel. This means that if something costs a dollar you can either give a dollar, or 4000 Riel (following so far?).
What change will I get in Cambodia?
Even if you pay in dollars you will likely receive at least some of your change in Cambodian money.
Let’s say for example that something costs $1.75 and you give $5. You might receive $2 change and 5000 Riel of Cambodian money. As in 4000 Riel being $1 and 1000 Riel being 25 cents! For smaller denominations there are 500, and even 100 Riel notes.
And that is the story of Cambodian money, it really is not as complex as it seems from the outside and when you visit it is easy to get used to how money works in Cambodia.