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?).
Cambodian Money – What will I get from an ATM?
Generally speaking when it comes to withdrawing Cambodian money you will get a choice between dollars and local Rial. And while it might seem to make more sense to get dollars these will most probably be presented as $100 bills, which are all but impossible to change, unless you are at a high end place. You will also likely get most of your change in Cambodian money too.
Therefore we suggest sucking it up, doing the math and just getting local Cambodian money.
Why is there more Cambodian money than there used to be?
If you remember the good old days in Cambodia then you will remember Cambodian money not being much of a thing as the country had lower denomination notes. This is no longer the case and the Kingdom are actively trying de-dollerization.
This is the case not just with change, but also local bank accounts where people get a higher interest rate if they save in Rial.
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.The 500 notes are relatively common, the 100’s less so. Collectors can of course get smaller notes from shops that specialize in that kind of thing.
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 quite quickly.