Currency of Cambodia
Information on this page will give an idea what can be bought with the Cambodian currency, called RIEL, in Cambodia and what other currencies you can use as a tourist in this country.
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Money Used in Cambodia
The national currency of Cambodia is called RIEL (pronounced as in the English word "real").
The letters written before the figure of an amount is "KHR", such as for example, KHR1,000.00. "KHR" means Khmer Riel. The word "Khmer" (pronounced "khe-mayh") is the traditional name of the country of Cambodia (Kingdom of Cambodia) and of its citizens.
Exchange Rate: USD vs RIEL
Official Exchange Rate of USD and KHR (as of January 2017): US$1.00 = KHR4,045.63
Generally Accepted Exchange Rate (as of January 2017) when paying for purchases in Cambodia in everyday transactions: US$1.00 = KHR4,000
Images of Cambodian Currency
The paper bills of the Cambodian Riel, in different denominations, are as shown below:
The smallest denomination exchanged in everyday transactions is the 100 Riel bill. In photo above, the topmost bill at left is the old 100 Riel bill. It has the shortest length and width among the bills that are commonly used.
The new 100 Riel bill is directly below the old version. It bears the face of an honored monk. The size of this new 100 Riel bill is the same with the sizes of the other bills that have higher denominations. The designs are colored orange.
Below the new 100 Riel bill is the old 500 Riel bill. It bears the image of Angkor Wat. The new 500 Riel bill (immediately below the old 500 Riel bill) bears the face of the current king of the Kingdom of Cambodia, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni. The designs on the bill is colored red.
The topmost Riel bill at the right side of the photo above is the 1,000 Riel bill. It is a little longer and larger than the old 100 Riel bill but shorter compared to the rest of the bills that have higher denominations. It bears the image of Angkor Wat.
Below the 1,000 Reil bill is the 5,000 Riel bill. It bears the face of the immediate past king, Norodom Sihanouk. The designs on the bill is colored green. Below it is the 10,000 Riel bill. It also bears the face of the past King Norodom Sihanouk. Care needs to be exercise when using the 5,000 Riel bill and the 10,000 Riel bill. Read explanation below (at "Be Careful When Using These Bills").
At the bottom right is the 20,000 Riel bill. It has the largest size among the bills below its denomination. It bears the face of the current king of Cambodia, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni.
BE CAREFUL WHEN USING THESE BILLS
Care must be exercised when using the 5,000 Riel and the 10,000 Riel bills (shown above). They are of similar size and under poor lighting condition they can look the same.
At the accepted exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Khmer Riel (which is US$1=KHR4,000 in everday ordinary transactions), the KHR5,000 is equivalent to US$1.25 and the KHR10,000 is equivalent to US$2.50.
Exchange Value and Purchasing Power of Riel in Cambodia
The accepted exchange rate in Cambodia, anytime, when the Riel is used for purchasing anything, or when a U.S. Dollar is exchanged to Riel, is US$1.00 = KHR4,000.
To give an idea of the purchasing power of Cambodian Riel, below are examples of cost of items, in Riel, in Cambodia:
The smallest can (330ml) of Coca-Cola (Coke) in Cambodia can be bought in small retail stores for 2,000 Riel (about US$0.50). Be aware however: in restaurants the price is sometimes inflated up to KHR4,500 (about US$1.15).
A loaf of plain ordinary bread is 4,800 Riel (US$1.20).
A plate of fried rice mixed with meat and herbs is at least 8,000 Riel (US$2.00) up to 12,800 Riel (US$3.20).
A pair of Nike rubber shoes for adults is about 128,000 Riel (US$32.00).
A one-kilometer ride on a "moto" will cost about 1,500 Riel (about US$0.37). A "moto" is a motorcycle that is used for public transportation purposes. See Transportation In Cambodia.
The cheapest room in a hotel that is not a luxury hotel but has good and comfortable accomodation is more or less KHR200,000 (about US$50.00). See Hotels and Guesthouses for hotels and rates.
The cheapest room in a good guesthouse is more or less KHR40,000 (about US$10.00).
Use of U.S. Dollar in Cambodia
The U.S. Dollar is accepted by everyone and everywhere in Cambodia almost like it is the national currency.
Items in grocery stores and malls are tagged with prices written in U.S. Dollar.
Gasoline stations accept it as payment and give it as change.
Everyone in Cambodia from children to adults carry U.S. Dollars along with Cambodian Riels in their pockets.
Payments in large amounts are made in U.S. Dollars.
Be aware: The Cambodians are extremely picky about the condition of the dollar bill being paid to them. A slight tear at the edge of a bill can immediately render it unacceptable. If you have arrived in Cambodia with US Dollar bills that show some damage, especially torn on the edges, you will need to go to a bank and have the bills exchanged. Private money-changers may also exchange them with bills that are of better condition, but they will charge a fee.
Accepted Currencies in the Border-Gates
In points of border-entry into Cambodia through the Thailand-Cambodia border, the Thai Baht is often preferred, but U.S. Dollar is still accepted.
Also, in points of border-entry into Cambodia through the Vietnam-Cambodia border, the Vietnamese Dong may be preferred, but the U.S. Dollar is also still accepted.
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