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Using Thai Baht in Cambodia


bushwacker

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I live in Thailand and therefore have a Thai Bank account with ATM card and all of this is in Baht. I would like to visit Cambodia for about 1 month and take with me Baht and my ATM card to finance my travel which will mostly be in PP and SR.

My question is concerning the easy ability to use Baht or to change Baht into the local currency. Do they take Thai Baht at bars, hotels and on the street? Or would I be forced to change it at a bank or Kiosk? Is this a smart way to go?

Do they have ATM machines that would accept a Kasikorn Bank card?

From the different blog readings it seems most people talk in terms of US$ but this might be strictly from a communications perspective. I do not know.

I do know that I do not want to change currencies from CAD to Baht to US to Cambodian money.

I notice that the price of beer is really cheap and so maybe it is necessary to have some local currency handy. What is the best way to do this?

Any ideas or suggestions on the logistics of financing a trip would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

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Many areas will take Baht (but many won't) and you will not get a favourable exchange rate.

US Dollar is the currency mainly used in the areas that you are going. You are likely to receive small change in Cambodian Riel (approx 4,000 Riel/Dollar. Example you buy something for $4 and proffer a $5 note; your change will be 2,000 Riel (you may get 1,950 Riel if the rate has moved against you) . In PP and SR almost everything bar street corner baguettes and street vendors will charge in Dollars

It really is quite simple and you quickly get used to it.

I would suggest that buy some USD with CAD - depends how much you are comfortable carrying with you. You can use your ATM card in Cambodia. I recommend Canadia Bank (red ATMs) who do not make a charge for ASEAN country cards. Your own bank will charge up to 150 Baht.

First stop is the Cambodian visa - are you flying or going over a land border? Will you be getting an e-visa or visa on arrival (may cost more if you don't have Dollars).

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You will get lucky with Thai Baht in Sisophon (Svay), Anlong Veng, Pailin, etc. Cities close to the border. In Phnom Penh you will do good to change them at the Central Market corner St. 136/Calmette without much loss at a better rate than the banks. Do it during banking hours of course and compare the rates offered.

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Yes, baht accepted in areas near the border only, elsewhere you need to change to dollars. I've not found anyplace willing to take baht in Phnom Penh (other than money changers of course)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with all the posters who have contributed to this thread. Thai Baht is the usual currency to use in such border cities/provinces as Poipet, Sisophon, Pailin, Koh Kong, O'Smach etc. and many prices in these places will be quoted in Baht but starting about 50km from the border, the US dollar is preferred and most prices will be quoted in US dollars.

However, all ATMs in Cambodia, including the ANZ ATM in the no man's land area between Thai and Cambodian immigration in Poipet dispense US dollars only. Apparently some of these ATMs also dispense Riel for local account holders, but only US dollars for everyone else.

Most prices will be quoted in US dollars and payment settled in that currency. Although you could settle all your expenses in Riel, nobody does this, not even locals, especially in places like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Locals in the provinces will however mostly use Riel only and this should be your strategy too IF and only IF you spend any time in rural areas. For all other expenses that you are likely to need to pay for (like any other typical tourist) in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, US dollars will be accepted.

A small number of places in Siem Reap (notably some hotels) may accept Thai Baht, but generally speaking your best strategy would be to exchange Baht directly for US dollars wherever you happen to enter the country or in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. The rates will be good and Thai Baht is one of the most widely traded foreign currencies in Cambodia, which should be of little surprise. Canadian dollars are also easy to exchange, especially in the more touristy cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

If you happen to be entering Cambodia overland via Poipet, there are a number of excellent money changers located near the roundabout just after Cambodian immigration. They'll give you a great rate on Baht, Canadian dollars and other major currencies.

In all other instances where you need extra cash, go for a cash advance inside a bank branch or use an ATM machine to withdraw US$. Note that some ATMs such as those operated by Canadia Bank do not charge an ATM withdrawal fee, while others, notably ANZ, which charges US$5 per transaction, will. Most other bank ATMs seem to charge around US$4, all in addition to what your home bank charges (most Thai banks charge 100 Baht +3% of the amount withdrawn per foreign withdrawal).

Lastly, the Cambodian visa fee should be paid in US$, only because it will be cheaper than paying in Thai Baht. This applies at all border crossings, including airports and land borders.

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I think that Canadia Bank is now also charging ATM fees. Just read it recently on another forum.

Riel. I use mostly riel. We had a long discussion about here some time ago. If you pay in riel the price is usually calculated at 1/4000. Exchanging USD to riel you will get about 4070 - I did not check today and places vary. Moneychangers are apparently always better than banks.

Acceptance of riel is no problem. No matter if PP, SHV or Siem Reap riel was always excepted with the exceptions of museums (e.g. S 21) and supermarkets. There you will need to pay in USD otherwise they accept your riel at a very low rate.

One disadvantage of the riel is the relative small bills. The max is 50K = 12.5 USD approx. On the other hand, you won't escape the smaller bills anyhow as change is given in those small riel bills.

In sum, you might be able to reduce your overall expenses by 1-2% on those items you purchase in riel while having to carry more bills around.

Of course no problems with changing your riel or USD back to Baht anywhere.

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Thai Baht is a no go here in Siem Reap. However, the good news is that you will get a very, very good exchange rate for USD back into Thai Baht or vice-versa if you hunt around a bit. Get quotes from the row of money changes opposite the old market in the center of town - and get quotes from all of them. Two are brilliant and more than fair; the others are thieves pure and simple. I can normally exchange cash for about 0.5% discount on the interbank rate with no commission fees.

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  • 7 months later...

Thai Baht is a no go here in Siem Reap. However, the good news is that you will get a very, very good exchange rate for USD back into Thai Baht or vice-versa if you hunt around a bit. Get quotes from the row of money changes opposite the old market in the center of town - and get quotes from all of them. Two are brilliant and more than fair; the others are thieves pure and simple. I can normally exchange cash for about 0.5% discount on the interbank rate with no commission fees.

Some merchants in Siem Reap will accept Baht. I was quoted prices in Bagt once someone saw I had Baht in my wallet and even received a combination of Baht and Riel as change at the Banteay Srei temple. But that doesn't mean Baht is ubiquitous as the exchange rates offered are often poor. Also be aware of exchange scams I was offered just USD 11 at a travel agency for 500 Baht when it should have been 14. After some haggling and me telling the guy I would exchange elsewhere he initially offered 12 then 13 and finally 14.

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