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Travel money guide: Cambodia

Traveling to Cambodia? Learn the best ways to access the Cambodian riel and tips to manage your travel money.

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A beautiful country with beautiful people, there’s so much to see in Cambodia. You’ll find that you can cary both USD and the local currency, the Cambodian riel. Most vendors accept both, so there’s no need to exchange your money when you arrive.

Like most countries in Southeast Asia, cash speaks loudest, so be sure to bring an ATM card to access money when you need it. Here we look at the different travel money options for travel in Cambodia.

How much Cambodian riel (KHR) will I need for my trip?

You’ll find your money will go far in Cambodia. You can spend any where from $15 to $100 a day if you budget properly. You’ll find that there are many vendors who are willing to negotiate prices — another way to keep costs down.

Phnom Penh (capital of Cambodia)BudgetMid-rangeExpensive
to-sleepCheap guesthouse room
$3.50–$10
Air conditioned hotel room
$12–$40
Boutique hotel or resort
$30–$350
to-eatLocal meals and street eats
$1–$3
Decent local restaurant meal
$5–$10
Fancy meal with drinks
$20–$40
busLocal buses
$2
Local tour guide per day
$15
4WD rental per day
$50–$100

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

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What’s the best way to take money to Cambodia: Travel card, credit card or debit card?

You can use USD in Cambodia, but if you plan to go to more countries or you want flexibility to pay in riels, you have other travel money options:

Credit cards make the perfect travel companion. You can make interest-free purchases and there are a number of perks like emergency card replacement, access to emergency cash and complimentary insurances to protect you, your family and the things you buy. Find a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees to save the most when you spend.

Take a preloaded travel card and withdraw USD from an ATM in Cambodia. Travel card ATM fees can be lower than debit cards — Cambodia is one country where a travel card can work in your favor.

The other choice is to use a debit card to get cash. There are a few travel-friendly debit cards for you to compare. Some debit cards waive international transaction fees such as ATM fees and currency conversion fees. Checking accounts are free to open and won’t cost you anything unless you use the card.

Travel money options for Cambodia at a glance

Travel money optionProsCons
Debit cards for travel
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
  • Save on ATM fees when you withdraw overseas
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • Can’t be used over the counter
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Can preload USD which is widely accepted in Cambodia
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No prepaid cards support the KHR
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
Credit cards for travel
  • High availability of ATMs in Cambodia for cash withdrawals
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion or transaction fees
  • Benefits include rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveler’s checks
  • 2% charge for cashing traveler’s checks can be cheaper than the flat fee for using an ATM
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo ID needed to cash checks
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveler’s checks
Cash
  • Both USD and KHR are used in Cambodia
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • Difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How different travel money products work in Cambodia

There are many ways you can take your money to Cambodia, but the most valuable option will depend on your financial situation, spending habits and travel plans.

Using a debit card

Debit cards are another way you can take your cash overseas. They are a great way to keep your budget on track, making it easy to keep track of how much you spend. Not all debit cards are suitable for overseas use though, so you’ll want to compare your options. Using your debit card for ATM withdrawals can cost you between $50 and $100 in fees. Find a bank that waives foreign ATM withdrawal fees, and spend the money you save on a guided tour.

Using a travel money card

Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge a currency conversion fee of 3% for each transaction. But In Cambodia, because the US dollar is an accepted currency, you won’t pay the the currency conversion fee.

Where you save in the conversion rates you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee.

Using a credit card

Credit cards are accepted in larger restaurants and hotels, and you’ll likely have to show ID to use them. Find yourself a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. Carrying a credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.

Cards that offer travel perks and waive fees often charge an annual fee, so make sure the fee is worth it before you bring it along on your travels. If you’re ever in a jam, credit cards also offer cash advances, though we don’t recommend it. You’ll pay high fees and interest rates apply the moment you get your money.

Using a traveler’s check

Security is the main advantage of using traveler’s checks. Each check has a unique serial number and can only be cashed with photo identification. Fees are the main disadvantage. Banks charge a fee to get a check and to cash them. You’re better off using a debit or travel card which lets you make cheap or free ATM withdrawals.

Bringing cash

You can bring US dollars to use in Cambodia, but if you run out of cash or would like to have it waiting for you upon arrival, you can use a money transfer company to get it there safely.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $1,000 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi Premier® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get a generous $300 in annual travel credits, 3x points on travel and dining, and a 50% bonus on point redemptions with Chase's premier card.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021)
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
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Case study: David's experience

David Cheng profile photo
David Cheng

David in Cambodia and Southeast Asia

David and his friends spent three weeks in Southeast Asia: One week in Cambodia and a week each in Thailand and Vietnam. He visited Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple in Siem Reap and then headed to Sihanoukville on the coast. This is what he told us about using travel money in Cambodia.

What cards did you take with you?

Why did you take these cards?

David says he used the Charles Schwab debit card for his everyday expenses at home, but it offers the benefit of no foreign transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees when he travels. He used his Barclaycard for big purchases like flights and other travel and for much of his accommodations.

Where could you use your cards?

David says he mainly used cash in Cambodia. For the times he did use his card, besides ATMs, David says he was able to use his cards at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants — both big and small, department and clothing stores.

What about ATM withdrawals?

He withdrew funds from his travel card at Canadia Bank ATMs, which he read online were free, but when he checked his statement, he saw that he was charged a $4 fee by the ATM operator. But luckily for him, Charles Schwab reimbursed him for all those charges. He didn’t have problem using ATM machines and was able to withdraw about $200 each transaction.

What is your travel money recommendation?

He says he didn’t have to worry about any purchases or ATM withdrawals with the Charles Schwab debit card. David said he liked the flexibility of not searching out a certain ATM when he needed cash.

Do you have any travel money tips?

David says that it’s always a good idea to tell your bank about your travel plans so it doesn’t think the charges are fraudulent and block your account.

Our pick for a prepaid travel card
Travelex Money Card

A quick guide to Cambodian riel

Two currencies, one country: USD and KHR

USD and KHR are both used in Cambodia. Buying an item worth $2.50 and paying with $5.00 gives you $2.00 in change and the rest in Cambodian riels. There are different exchange rates between riels and dollars used in Cambodia, too. $1.00 works out to be roughly 4,000 to 4,200 Cambodian riels.

For example:

If an item costs $1, pay $1 or 4,200 riels.

If an item costs 5,000 riels, pay $1 and 1,000 riels.

The value of a dollar changes between 4,000 and 4,200 riels depending on how you pay. Use riels to make smaller purchases to get the best price.

  • Tip. Make sure all the money you get back as change and money you get from the ATM is clean, crisp and untorn. Many Cambodians will not accept dirty or weathered bank notes.

Did you know?

The riel has been issued twice in Cambodia’s history. During the Pol Pot period, the country did not have a currency.

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How do I access money in Cambodia?

You shouldn’t have any issues finding an ATM in the large cities that accept Mastercard and Visa issued credit, debit and travel cards. Note there are some ATMs that only accept Visas. Be sure to look for the Visa and Mastercard logos displayed on the front of the ATM if you’re unsure which cards the ATM takes.

The standard charge is approximately $5 per withdrawal. ANZ Royal charges the most and Bank of Canadia ATMs are the cheapest. Most ATMs dispense USD, while some dispense riels.

ATMs will dispense large denominations, which can be hard to change. Request an ATM withdrawal that includes multiples of $20. For example, instead of withdrawing $300, you can ask for $280. This way you get some smaller notes as well as larger notes.

  • Tip: Be sure to spend all your riels before you leave, as the currency has no value outside Cambodia.

Common ATMs where you can withdraw cash in Cambodia

  • Agribank
  • ANZ
  • ACLEDA
  • Canadia bank
  • Maybank Cambodia
  • Sacombank
  • Western Union

Cash pickup services in Cambodia

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 4057.113 KHR 4,040,925 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
$0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 3995.95 KHR 3,987,998 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 3975.563 KHR 3,896,051 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Get a travel insurance quote for your vacation in Cambodia

Name Product Trip Cancellation Emergency Medical Expenses Baggage Coverage Trip delay
Allianz Travel OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan
$50,000
$2,000
$1,000
Budget-friendly policy designed for international and domestic travelers who want medical protection. Trip cancellation and trip interruption not included.
Allianz Travel AllTrips Basic Plan
$20,000
$1,000
$600
Annual policy that offers affordable protection, but doesn't include trip cancellation or trip interruption.
Travelex Travel Basic
100%
$15,000
$500
$500
Essential travel coverage — with the option to customize — that can protect the cost of your trip.
Travelex Flight Insure
$10,000
$1,000
$100
Protect the cost of your flight and choose the coverage amount that meets your needs — trip delay protection included.
RoamRight Essential Travel Insurance Plan
100%
$15,000
$750
$500
Basic policy with coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.
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