Cambodia’s national currency is the riel (KHR - Khmer Riel). The Cambodian riel comes in notes of the following denominations: 50 riels, 100 riels, 500 riels, 1000 riels, 2000 riels, 5000 riels, 10.000 riels, 20.000 riels, 50.000 riels and 100.000 riels.
Cambodia’s second currency is the US dollar, which is accepted everywhere and by everyone, though change may arrive in riel. There is a 90% level of dollarization in the country. What this means is that you don’t need to be concerned about getting riel when you arrive in Cambodia. The accepted exchange rate in Cambodia is USD1.00 = KHR4.000. Because they don’t use American coins in Cambodia, you’ll get change for your purchases in riel (1.000 riels is 25 cents). You can exchange money at any bank in Cambodia. Be warned, changing a relatively small amount of US dollars can leave you with a big pile of cash.
Items in grocery stores and malls are tagged with prices written in U.S. Dollar. Everyone in Cambodia from children to adults carry US dollar along with Cambodian riels in their pockets. Payments in large amounts are made in US dollar. Unlike in many countries, if you pay in US dollars the exchange rate you will get is quite fair.
The Cambodians are extremely picky about the condition of the dollar bill being paid to them. Old-style US bills are also not welcome, so make sure that the cash you bring is fairly new. 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.
ATM machines in Cambodia dispense US dollars and Cambodian riel. However, if you are using a foreign ATM card, you will only be able to withdraw dollars.
In points of border-entry into Cambodia through the Thailand – Cambodia border, the Thai Baht (THB) is often preferred, but US Dollar is still accepted.
Also, in points of border-entry into Cambodia through the Vietnam – Cambodia border, the Vietnam Dong (VND) may be preferred, and the US Dollar is also still accepted.
Tipping is not traditionally expected here, but in a country as poor as Cambodia, tips can go a long way. Many of the upmarket hotels levy a 10% service charge, but this doesn’t always make it to the staff. If you stay a couple of nights in the same hotel, try to remember to tip the staff that cleans your room. Consider tipping drivers and guides, as the time they spend on the road means time away from home and family. It is considered proper to make a small donation at the end of a visit to a temple (wat), especially if a monk has shown you around; most temples have contribution boxes for this purpose.
Image sources: Internet