What does Cambodian money look like? You can see some of the currency pictured below.
Cambodian Riels (what the Cambodian currency is called) come in 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations.
But really, the red colored 500 Riel and the blue colored 1,000 Riels are used most often. And the $1 US bills.
So you can get an idea of how much each note is worth, I’ve converted them into US dollars using the usual exchange rate of 4,000 Riel to 1 US dollar.
|50 Riels||=||US $ 0.01|
|100 Riels||=||US $ 0.03|
|200 Riels||=||US $ 0.05|
|500 Riels||=||US $ 0.13|
|1,000 Riels||=||US $ 0.25|
US $ 1.00
|5,000 Riels||=||US $ 1.25|
|10,000 Riels||=||US $ 2.50|
|50,000 Riels||=||US $ 12.50|
|100,000 Riels||=||US $ 25.00|
For the most part, you’ll only need to ‘worry’ about change. Although dollar bills are widely used, Cambodians don’t use US coins (actually, Cambodians don’t even use Cambodian coins).
So for example, if you buy an ornament for $1.50 and you pay $2 for it, you’ll get change of 2,000 Riels. This converts to $0.50.
Some, if not most, of the Cambodian money you’ll get your hands on will be worn, dirty, and very old. But you can still see how colorful the notes are, and if they were crisp and new some of them would be rather pretty.
These notes also have pictures of Angkor temples on them (as they should!). The 50 Riel note has Banteay Srei on it, the 500 Riel note has Angkor Wat, and the 1,000 Riel note has one of Angkor Thom’s gates.
50 Riel notes ($0.01)
Banteay Srei’s entrance
100 Riel notes ($ 0.03)
500 Riel notes ($ 0.13)
The most widely used notes.
Angkor Wat temple on the note
1,000 Riel notes ($ 0.25)
The second most widely used notes on the street.
One of Angkor Thom’s gates
5,000 Riel notes ($ 1.25)
The King father Norodom Sihanouk
You don’t really need to exchange your currency for Cambodian currency prior to visiting Angkor Wat, but you do need to exchange your money for US dollars.
But although US dollars are very widely used, it doesn’t mean you should bring large dollar bills! As you see from the rate table above, and from the fact that the most widely used notes are the 500 and 1,000 Riel notes, it makes sense to have lots of dollar bills with you.
Not $20. Not $50. But one dollar bills.
You’ll see that most stuff is sold for $1. A bottle of cold water for $1. Two postcards for $1. Tipping for $1. Tuktuk rides for $1. Everything for a dollar.
You can, of course, change or break your dollar bills at larger shops, money changers, or at your hotel. But if you want to make it really easy, come with dollar bills and be ready to part with them.
So in short…
Money stuff is easy to sort in Cambodia. If not Riels, then dollars. Both are accepted widely in Siem Reap. Just make sure you spend, or donate, all of your Cambodian money before leaving Cambodia because you can’t exchange it elsewhere.
Or keep some as souvenirs. That works too.
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I found a 1000 Riel note today in a closet while installing carpet…I could not wait to get home to see what it was worth…Better not quit my day job …
Want to see the money in real life? Why not get get them?
Click here to read about Cambodian Riels, the official currency
The Cambodian currency is called Riel. However, most Cambodians prefer US dollars to their own currency. The littlest shop will quote the price in dollars, and they keep on saying that their own money is worthless.
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