Frommer's lists exact prices in U.S. dollars or local currency, both of which are widely used. The currency conversions quoted above were correct at press time. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.oanda.com/convert/classic to check up-to-the-minute rates.
When visiting Cambodia you can spend enormous amounts. Since 2007, prices have started to rise sharply and most things such as food, hotel rooms, and transport have risen by about 40%. On the whole, however, most things remain moderately priced. Very little tourism money reaches ordinary Cambodians. Sadly, poverty is still very much a daily reality in Cambodia for the majority of people.
You can get a hotel room for as little as $3 a night in Siem Reap or Sihanoukville (though we certainly won't vouch for the quality). On the other hand, you can drop $1,000 on the whole luxury package. Cambodia has a wealth of options in the midrange. For between $15 and $80, you can find some excellent accommodations even in expensive Phnom Penh. Battambang is particularly blessed with wonderful hotels at good prices. In Siem Reap, pricing is heavily seasonal. High-season prices can be as much as 30% to 40% higher than low season. In all these places, a good local meal will set you back about $2. A main course in a tourist-orientated restaurant will cost between $4.50 and $7 at a moderately priced place. A small can of beer averages at about $1.50 and bottled water is more expensive than in London or Paris.
There is no shortage of banks in all provincial towns of any size, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, and Kampot. They offer the usual banking services: cash advances on credit cards (most accept MasterCard and Visa), international currency exchange, telegraphic transfers, and cashing traveler's checks. ANZ Royal Banks, Canadia, and SBC Banks offer ATMs with international access. Canadia Bank levies the lowest transaction charges. Most banks are open from around 8am to 3 or 4pm from Monday to Friday. Some are also open on Saturday mornings until 11:30am. ATMs are available 24 hours and are popping up everywhere. See the "Fast Facts" section in each chapter for bank locations.
The currency in Cambodia is the riel, though for anything over the smallest of amounts the U.S. dollar reigns supreme. Riel is what you use for small change. In the towns of the west, the Thai baht is also used. There are no coins in Cambodia, only notes. Cambodian riel notes come in 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, and 100,000 denominations, but the red 500 riel note and the blue 1,000 riel note are the most useful and common. Wads of 100 riel notes mount up and are best distributed to beggars in handfuls. Be aware that the slightest tear on a dollar note of any denomination will render it useless. Check the condition of your change.
The use of credit cards is increasing in tourist areas, though Cambodia remains very much a cash economy. Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most upscale hotels, shops, and restaurants. Some midrange places and a growing number of other businesses are following suit. Most businesses charge a 2% to 4% fee to accept credit cards.
Come Armed with Singles -- We recommend coming to Cambodia with a large stack of dollar bills. You'll blow through them quickly while zipping around towns on tuk-tuks and motos, and the lower cost of food and drink means they'll come in handy. Larger bills dispensed by ATMs can be harder to break.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.