(image source)

Cambodian currency is known as Riel (KHR). Although, it might as well be known as US dollah dollah bills y’all! No kidding.

Three things you should know about currency in Cambodia:

1. US dollars and Thai Baht: Almost everywhere in Cambodia takes the US dollar, including small vendors and taxi drivers. If you’re dying to use some Riel, no worries, if you use US dollars you will/can receive Riel’s in exchange. Banks and street currency exchange vendors are everywhere, but, really, I didn’t find a need to exchange any money. And since Thailand is such a close neighbor to Cambodia, you can use your leftover Thai Baht here in Cambodia.

2. What? The US dollar is strong??!?!?: Yes, believe it or not, there is ONE country on this planet where the US dollar is strong. Luckily, that country is Cambodia. For about 2 dollars, you can get a ride with a tuk tuk driver. For about $2.50 (in a high tourist area) you can get a full meal. For about $10, you can stay at a clean and cozy hotel. Lots of people will try to dupe you to make an extra few bucks from you and it can get pretty exhausting. Even the airport government employees! Be aware vigilant and, remember, that it’s always okay to haggle. In Lonely Planet, they said that $2 is about half a week’s wage for the average Cambodian.

Our scary murderous tuk tuk driver in the background

(Image via Mabel)

3. I want yo’ money!: Because the average weekly wage is so small, Cambodian service people are incredibly nice, but SCARY aggressive when it comes to making your money. My friends and I made the mistake of trying to bargain between two tuk tuk drivers which ended in a turf war and a serious threat to murder the other tuk tuk driver’s entire family. No joke! What were they fighting about? oh… about $20. Bargaining between two vendors seems like an easy concept, but when aggressive behavior and language barriers come into play… just skip it. Bargain early and set your price before you get into that vehicle!

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