Please share your tips for travelling with Monzo in Cambodia here, for @saralaranjeira
Going to Cambodia and Lao in December. Anyone any recent experience of using a Monzo card there?
Tourist areas tend to accept credit cards, but most places are strictly cash-only (esp if you want to visit the markets). Hotels will help you withdraw money, if you request. When I went to Laos both the day and night markets were cash-only. I simply brought a large amount of cash with me and used my credit card sparingly. I think Cambodia is a bit more card-friendly.
Expect to take a hit on withdrawing cash from ATMs… they range from $4 to $6, and some have limits too.
We’ve tried to find free ATMs but sadly the ones which used to be free have now changed.
General advice; everything costs more than you may expect in Cambodia. Out of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, its definitely the priciest so factor that into your budgets.
Lived in Phnom Penh on and off for 2 years while I havent tested Monzo ANZ bank was by far the best to use with a modern functioning system. Hopefully chip and pin cards work in those.
Used Monzo in November to withdraw cash and pay for hotels in Cambodia. Didn’t get charged transaction fees when paying for accommodation, but like someone else said, there is a $4- $6 charge when withdrawing from ATMs which only tend to dispense USD.
Used my card to withdraw cash from an ATM in Siem Reap.
It was Candida Bank which is red and there was a US$5 service charge.
I think all ATMs dispense US$ and Riel is only used for change that is less than $1.
Most places prefer cash. Many places do not like crumpled or old notes. I asked my hotel for change from a $10 note. The next time I came back in they asked if I had another, newer note. The first note I had given them did feel quite thin, so I don’t know if counterfeiting is a problem them.
Is it possible to dispense only Riels? I’m kinda going to boycott this ‘usd only’ trend as much as I can, because I know I’d be overspending.
Went in January. I would recommend taking out a large amount in USD in low denominations ($1,$5,$10) before you go as cashpoints won’t necessarily give you the low denominations that shops want (plus the sky high ATM fees as already mentioned).
To be honest I have no idea. I didn’t check as I was not concerned about it and I only withdrew once.
I think a lot of vendors will prefer to be paid in USD. I did not see anything priced in Riel.
As @sacha recommends below taking large amounts of low denominations of USD is probably best.
We had a tuk-tuk driver who did not have change for $10 for our $3 fare, so we had to get it from the restaurant he had just dropped us at.
What do you mean by “USD only trend”? I assume most places will accept both currencies but I did not really need to try as essentially everything small costs a dollar.
I don’t know how large the denominations of Riel go. It might be the case that to carry a useful amount it would require a lot of notes. USD is the de facto currency I think.
I barely used Riel’s, USD is the de-facto currency. Virtually all my cash transactions and all my Monzo transactions were in USD.
When you pay in USD, everything gets really rounded up. I’m planning really budget trip with my parents, we need to be really careful with our spending. While I don’t want to rip off anyone, I’m not keen to overpay constantly either. Prices in USD are higher than local price because conversion rate is worse than any high-street bank. I’ve seen prices on the menu in EUR to be 10-15% higher than prices in local currency too (not KH, elsewhere). That’s why, I plan to stick to Riels in Cambodia as much as I can.
Ok, I see.
I was only there (Siem Reap) for a few days so I didn’t really visit supermarkets except to get a few beers.
In the restaurants/bars the menus are in USD, you may be able to ask for the bill to be in Riel. Beers are usually $0.5 or $1 so I assume they are rounded up as you say.
I’ve been travelling around Cambodia since early Feb (Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Koh rong, Kampot, Kep & Phnom Penh) and all ATMs I have used only dispense USD so if you want to have Riels I could only maybe suggest changing them at a converter on the streets?
To be honest you’d probably lose out this way as crazy as it sounds. Most bars and restaurants work on the basis of 4000KHR = 1 USD. This is above the interbank spot rate so you’re actually getting a better deal in dollars. Some food and drink along the way is priced in Riel (e.g. Average 2000 can of coke or 50c) which again, if you exchange when you get there, with fees and exchange rate on top, probably still works out better in USD.
Some places even offer 4100/4200 to 1 USD which again would not be beneficial to pay in Riel when mainly everything is priced in USD. I am yet to see a restaurant menu with dual pricing.
One thing generally about ATMs is my card would tend to be rejected at Canadia Banks (5USD withdrawal fee) so my advice would be the ABA banks, same fee but I found them to be a bit more reliable. Most ATMs will give you 100USD if they can so like previously advised make your withdrawals just below to avoid the larger notes.
Some places are fussy with the condition of your bills also, Riels will be accepted in mainly any condition as the locals can easy change them at the banks. However, USD should be free from rips and tears. Inspect the bills you are given as change and don’t be shy to ask for them to be exchanged if you find a tear in your change - the next place you try to give it in at wont be shy in telling you they won’t accept it!
Hope everyone enjoys their trips. Cambodians on the whole are really nice and friendly - they will help with anything if you need it!
I agree with everything already posted ANZ bank fixed fee of $5 upto $400 withdrawal best to use monzo to pay for as much as possible just paid $15 at hotel which exchanged on monzo to £12.07. I am using a local sim which cost $7 for 8 GB so can keep track when out and about and I hope is a little more secure
Maybank in Siem Reap on Sivatha Blvd is free, used it yesterday to withdraw dollars. Also it gave me lots of small notes which are useful here
We are in Phnom Penh. May bank only accepted VISA cards. MB bank (junction of street 214 and 93) accepted Monzo and we could withdraw US dollars for no charge.
May bank (Siem Reap) is visa only. Was there today and unable to use Monzo. Big signs saying visa only… Staff recommended ABA Bank - there is a set $4 charge for credit card withdrawals.
Maybank goes not accept MasterCard in its ATMs.
Best to bring USD with you or take the hit on the $5 charge that most ATMs charge.
MB Bank (same as Vietnam) - not to be confused with Maybank - is FREE to withdraw from ATMs!
Possible limit of $1000 (didn’t take that much).
Attached screenshot shows locations in Phnom Penh.