Reil is the Cambodian currency but, surprisingly, U.S. Dollars is more commonly used and actually preferred! All prices for hotels, restaurants, water, activities, tuk-tuks [local taxis], etc. are in U.S. Dollars. Bring U.S. Dollars when you travel here and avoid converting any money!
US$1 = 4,000 Reil [check the current conversion rate: www.xe.com]
Cambodia is not a country where I felt like I was losing money constantly and getting ripped off… It was one of the best countries with money for me because I felt like Cambodia was just an extension of the U.S. in terms of money. But even though U.S. dollars is the preferred currency, if you think about it too much, Cambodia can be a bit confusing when converting dollars into Reil. Click HERE to read about the CURRENCY CONVERSION CONFUSION of Cambodia!
What to Do/See
Siem Reap. City with the famous Angkor Temples and great night life.
Temples. Be like Lara Croft and explore the same temples used to film the movie Tomb Raider!
People. The people are great, very friendly, and not as pushy as other countries. Although you’ll see children and adults selling things on the street to make money, I didn’t feel as though the people were trying to squeeze the most amount of money out of me every chance they could [like how I felt in Vietnam]. The people, as a whole, were lovely.
Phnom Penh. The capital of Cambodia. Enjoy the Royal Palace and other history.
Boat Rides. A major boat ride worth taking is from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh [or vice versa]. Sit back and enjoy seeing how native Cambodians live on the water – with houses on stilts, boat houses, women and children doing chores, and men fishing for dinner. It’s really interesting and the children come running and waving when they hear a big boat with a motor drive by! [see below to compare transportation]
Southern Coast. Relax in a bungalow for US$5, enjoy the pepper of the Kep/Kampot area, or have a beer and sit on the beach in Sihanoukville.
Bus. The bus a is cheap and can get you from city to city. A bus from Siem Reap all the way to Phnom Penh is only about US$7. The most expensive bus ride I’ve seen is about US$9 or US$10.
Boat. Transportation by boat is a lot more expensive, yes, but I think it’s worth doing in Cambodia… a bus is a bus pretty much in any country and you don’t get to see much of anything besides the same boring road as anywhere else.
What is interesting about Cambodia is that pretty much everyone lives on the water. Since there is a huge river running right in the middle of the country, this is where you’ll see the interesting ways of how people live [see above]. The boat ride from Siem Reap toPhnom Penh is about US$35 [compared to the bus at US$7]. Again, this is definitely more expensive to get from A to B, but in this case, it’s not about the transportation, it’s about the culture that you will not see from the bus. Think about it as an “activity” rather than “transportation.”
Tuk-tuk. The local taxis are carts that can hold up to 4 people attached to a motorcycle – this is called a “tuk-tuk” and will cost no more than US$2 to get anywhere around the city. If you want to take one out of the city, that is fine and people will be jumping for joy to take you anywhere, but it will cost a bit more [about US$10-US$15].
Bicycles. Rent a bicycle for US$1-US$2 per day and ride all over the city. Make sure your bicycle comes with a bike lock! If it doesn’t, find somewhere else… there are a bunch of places renting bicycles so don’t jump at the first place you see – you don’t want to get stuck some where and then have to buy a new bike.
US$5 per night [not per person]… but with shared bathrooms and one temperature showers [usually a little cold]. However, it’s so hot in Cambodia, you really won’t mind!
Did You Know?
There have been more bombs dropped on Cambodia than all the bombs dropped on other countries COMBINED from WWII.
NOTE: I’m not 100% sure about this information, but this is what I’ve been told and I saw it in a museum over there… I just thought it was interesting, but you may want to double check this “fact.”