Phnom Penh, Cambodia


The Khmer Riel is usually not used for large purchases, though it is coming into wider use. Prices for anything more substantial than a plate of rice will be quoted in US dollars. Money changers are plentiful near the Central Market and display their rates on the boards. The Cambodian Central Bank maintains the Riel at approximately 3,900-4,100 to the dollar, be wary if rates are outside this range. 
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Changing dollars into Riel is generally unnecessary. Small purchases with notes above USD20 can cause problems, though vendors will manage. Most vendors will accept US dollars and Khmer Riel interchangeably at a rate of 4,000 Riel to the dollar. If paying in US dollars, you will receive change in the form of Riel instead of US cent coins. For example, if a vendor owes you USD1.25 in change, you will either receive USD1 plus 1000 Riel or 5000 Riel. When accepting money in change or exchange, inspect the bills. Marred Riel is acceptable tender but the tiniest tear in a large US note (especially USD50 and USD100 bills) renders it unusable in Cambodia.

Canadia Bank in Phnom Penn by Kiensvay

ATM, Traveller's Cheques & Cards
There are plenty of ATMs in Phnom Penh. They dispense US dollars and accept international cards. Canadia Bank ATMs are fee-free, while ANZ Royal bank charges USD4 per transaction and Union Commercial Bank USD2 per transaction. Inside Capitol Guesthouse there is an ATM for Canadia Bank where you can make a safe withdrawal. Cashing traveller's cheques can be problematic and even major banks may refuse to exchange traveller's cheques of above USD100. Only upmarket places will accept plastic and normally with a 3% surcharge.

What to Buy
Popular tourist buys include silk, silverware, handicrafts and curios (including Buddha figures), and made-to-order clothes (which are often of good quality). If you want to support businesses that are noted for supporting Cambodia's culture and heritage, look for the Heritage Friendly Business Logo from Heritage Watch, an organization that promotes the preservation of Cambodia's cultural legacy.

Shops in Phnom Penh by Milei.vencel

What Not to Buy
Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware)! Electronics will likely fail within days, fake watches abound, especially in the Central Market. Pirated DVDs and CDs in Phnom Penh have a 20-30% failure rate while sunglasses from the street vendors do not give full UV protection and will likely disintegrate within 2 weeks.

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Phnom Penh

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