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About the currency
Coins and notes
No true venture to another world could be complete without a completely new currency system. In Cambodia you’ll find coins worth 50, 100, 200 and 500 riels, then notes taking you through 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and even 100,000 riels. That’s a big note.
Facts about the currency
- Many believe the term ‘riel’ came from the Mekong River fish, but it’s more likely to have been a spin-off of the Mexican real used in Cambodia up to the mid-19th century. That kind of makes way more sense anyway.
- Towns by the borders will often accept the currency of their neighbours. So if you pay a visit to Ha Tien, most establishments should accept Vietnamese dongs as well as riels.
- You can withdraw both riels and United States dollars from ATMs in Cambodia.
- You’ll find the 1,000 and 2,000 riel bank notes are the most common. If you happen to have a 100,000 riel note, be sure to look after it!
- If you hear the currency referred to as the Khmer riel, don’t fear, you haven’t landed in the wrong country. Cambodia was traditionally called Khmer, so the currency still sometimes goes by its maiden name. (This also explains the KHR abbreviation.)