The official currency is the Cambodian riel which is issued in denominations of 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations. The 500 and 1000 riel notes are the most widely circulated. The exchange rate is around US$1 to 4,000-4100 Riel and 500 riel is slightly more than a dime. The defacto currency is the US dollar especially in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap where all goods and services are priced in US dollars. Watch out for small tears on the US dollar bills as the Cambodians will not accept them.
Change less than US$1 is given in riel and it is worth carrying some around for small purchases in markets or the ride in the moto. Banks will exchange other currencies although the moneychangers found around any major market will offer a slightly better rate. Banks open from Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 3.000pm; some will open on Saturdays. Hotels will exchange currencies only for their guests.
Banks are found in all provincial capitals with the usual services – cash advances on credit cards and cashing traveler’s checks. ANZ Royal Banks, Canadia and SBC Banks offer ATMs with international access. ATMS are open 24 hours.
There are no banks at any of the border crossings, so a supply of US dollars is handy. The Thai baht is acceptable in western towns.
Credit cards are accepted at most upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants and increasingly more businesses but are not generally used outside of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and the casinos in Poipet. Visa, MasterCard and JCB are the most widely accepted. Some impose an extra 2%-4% fee.
Cambodia is not an expensive place and while some bargaining is to be expected, bear in mind that US1 can feed a family. The budget traveler can get away with $10-$15 a day.