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Cambodia Currency: How to Pay When Touring Cambodia?

When traveling anywhere it is important to understand the local currency and payment methods to ensure you have a smooth trip. Cambodia is rapidly modernizing, making payments for tourists more convenient, but cash is still commonly used. This guide will tell you what you need to know to understand how to pay when touring Cambodia. 

What Is the Main Currency of Cambodia? And What Is the Exchange Rate?

The main currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR). Banknotes are the most common form of currency and come in denominations from 500 to 100,000 Riel. Coins, which come in denominations of 50, 100, 200, and 500 Riel, are less commonly used.

The exchange rate between Riel and other currencies can vary. For the last few years, the rate has been around 1 USD to 3900-4200 KHR. However, the rate can vary from place to place and over time due to economic factors, so it remains advisable to check the current exchange rate before traveling there.

Cambodia Riel
Cambodia Riel (KHR)

Can USD Dollars Be Used Widely?

While the Cambodian Riel is the official currency, Cambodia operates in a dual currency system where both the Riel and the US Dollar are used for transactions. Currently, payment for a tourist visa in most places is required in US dollars, and dollars are readily accepted in areas where there is a lot of tourism . Many businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops often quote prices in both currencies for the convenience of international travelers.

Even though USD is widely accepted, it is still recommended to have some Riel on hand. USD might not be accepted in some local markets, or for smaller purchases. On smaller transactions, you might receive your change in Riel when the amount is less than a whole dollar. For example, if you pay USD 10.00 for something that costs $7.50, you will get two dollar bills and a 2,000 riel bill as change.

Is It Convenient to Withdraw Money from an ATM in Cambodia?

ATMs in Cambodia are widely available in urban areas, major cities, and tourist hotspots. Typically ATMs dispense both Cambodian Riel and US Dollars, and major international card networks such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. English language options are also commonly available on ATMs catering to tourists.

Be aware of any fees associated with ATM withdrawals. Some ATMs charge a withdrawal fee, but, even when there are no additional fees, your home bank may charge an international transaction fee. These fees can cost between USD2-4 per transaction, so it is a good idea to check with your bank before your trip, and check before using any ATM.

Cambodia ATMs

Can I Use a Visa/Credit Card for Payment?

At upscale restaurants and hotels, larger stores, and well-established businesses Visa and other major credit cards may be accepted. However, be prepared with other payment options in smaller towns, markets, and more local businesses.

Before traveling to Cambodia, it is a good idea to inform your bank about your travel plans to ensure that your credit card transactions won’t be flagged as suspicious activity. Also, keep in mind that your home bank or credit card provider might charge international transaction fees for card usage abroad. Make sure to check before your trip.

In What Situations Do I Have to Pay in Cash?

In Cambodia, cash is still the preferred or only payment option available in some circumstances. For small purchases such as street food, snacks, and local markets, vendors often don’t have card payment facilities.

Local transportation services like tuk-tuks, moto-taxis, and local buses are also often only available through cash payment. Some attractions, historical sites, and museums may only accept cash for entry fees, and, if you plan to tip wait staff, drivers, or tour guides, it is customary to do this in cash. Here you can learn about Cambodia destinations in case to know where you might encounter the cash payment situation.

Having cash on hand is also advisable in case of any unexpected or emergency situations that might arise. As much as credit cards are growing in acceptance, cash is always an option.

Are Mobile Payment Options Convenient?

Mobile payment options exist in Cambodia, but their adoption remains limited. The use of mobile payment apps is higher in areas where technology adoption is higher, namely in large urban centers such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Local mobile payment apps such as Wing, Pi Pay, and TrueMoney are increasing in popularity, but cross-border payments are not available for all countries. Some local payment apps, such as Pi Pay, allow users to load cash into an e-wallet through bank transfer or cash at retail outlets.

However, as using mobile payment options relies both on a retailer accepting that method, and stable internet connectivity, having a cash backup is still advisable.

Pi Pay at restaurant in Phnom Penh

How Much Money Should I Prepare for Each Day?

How much money you should have prepared for each day on a Cambodia tour depends on your travel style and planned activities. Budget travelers might spend around 30-50 USD per day, whereas mid-range to luxury travelers might spend 50-100+ USD.

Food is a regular daily expense that varies depending on where you eat. Street food and smaller local restaurants can cost between 2-10 USD. Upscale restaurants are often between 15-30 USD.

Local transportation is inexpensive in general. Short tuk-tuk rides might cost 1-5 USD, while longer rides can be around 5-10 USD. Major activities should also be budgeted for. A day pass for Angkor Wat, for example, costs 37 USD.

Prices in Cambodia are very low overall. A bottle of water costs around $0.50 and a cup of coffee is around $3. Having small denomination bills will be very helpful, and it is not recommended to carry a lot of larger denomination bills such as 50s and 100s. Read more on how much does a trip to Cambodia cost.

Do I Need to Tip in Cambodia? How Much Do You Suggest?

Tipping in Cambodia is not mandatory, but is considered a thoughtful gesture, especially in the service industry. In restaurants it is common to leave a small tip for good service, 5-10% of the bill is generally appropriate. Some upscale restaurants might include a service fee, so check to see if a tip has already been added first.

A good practice for tuk-tuk rides is to round up the fare to the nearest US dollar, but tipping is not expected for other kinds of small transactions. For porters, bell boys or housekeeping, a dollar tip is OK. If you’re taking a guided tour or using transportation services, it is common to tip the guide and driver. The amount will vary based on the length of the tour or ride. For a full-day guided tour, consider tipping around 10% for the guide and a similar amount for the driver.


Paying for goods and services in Cambodia is more convenient now than ever before. However, it is still important to be aware of local norms in different situations. Being ready with a mix of cash, credit cards, US dollars, and Cambodian Riel, will help ensure that you won’t have any problems during your stay. Lastly, feel free to contact us for tailoring your future trip to Cambodia!

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