Cambodia Currency

The Currency of Cambodia: The Cambodian Riel (KHR)

Cambodia, a Southeast Asian nation known for its rich history, ancient temples, and vibrant culture, uses the Cambodian Riel (KHR) as its official currency. While the United States Dollar (USD) is widely accepted and often used for larger transactions, the Cambodian Riel remains an integral part of the country’s financial landscape. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the history, denominations, design, usage, exchange rate, and broader economic context of the Cambodian Riel, offering a comprehensive overview of this essential element of Cambodia’s economy.

Historical Overview:

According to bestitude, the history of the Cambodian Riel is closely tied to the nation’s historical and economic development. Cambodia has a long history of various forms of currency used for trade and commerce. The Riel, as the official currency, was first introduced in 1955 when Cambodia was still a part of the French colonial empire.

Upon gaining independence from France in 1953, Cambodia established the National Bank of Cambodia, which began issuing the Cambodian Riel. The Riel’s name is derived from the Spanish “real,” a term used for various currencies in the colonial era, indicating its historical ties to colonial influence.

During the late 20th century, Cambodia went through a turbulent period of civil war and political upheaval. These challenges affected the country’s economic stability and currency value. As a result, the United States Dollar (USD) emerged as a more stable and widely used currency, and it continues to play a significant role in Cambodia’s economy alongside the Cambodian Riel.

Denominations and Design:

The Cambodian Riel is available in various denominations of banknotes and coins, each featuring unique designs that reflect aspects of Cambodia’s history, culture, and natural beauty.


Cambodian Riel banknotes were available in the following denominations:

  1. 100 Riels
  2. 500 Riels
  3. 1,000 Riels
  4. 2,000 Riels
  5. 5,000 Riels
  6. 10,000 Riels
  7. 20,000 Riels
  8. 50,000 Riels
  9. 100,000 Riels

The design of these banknotes often features prominent Cambodian landmarks, historical figures, and scenes that represent the nation’s development and cultural heritage. For example, the 100 Riels note may display an image of a prominent temple, while the 10,000 Riels note could feature a portrait of King Norodom Sihanouk, a revered figure in Cambodia’s history.


Cambodian Riel coins are issued in several denominations, including:

  1. 50 Riels
  2. 100 Riels
  3. 200 Riels
  4. 500 Riels
  5. 1,000 Riels

The designs of these coins typically reflect Cambodia’s cultural and historical symbols, including depictions of animals, temples, and traditional motifs.

Please note that currency designs and denominations can change over time, so it is advisable to consult the latest information from the National Bank of Cambodia or other official sources for the most up-to-date details regarding Cambodian Riel banknotes and coins.

Usage and Exchange Rate:

The Cambodian Riel is used for all financial transactions within the country, and it is the official currency of Cambodia. The United States Dollar (USD) is also widely accepted and used, particularly for larger transactions, and is often the preferred currency for activities such as tourism and international trade.

The exchange rate between the Cambodian Riel and the United States Dollar can vary due to factors such as supply and demand, inflation, and economic conditions. It’s important to note that businesses and individuals in Cambodia often quote prices in both Cambodian Riel and USD, allowing for flexibility in transactions.

Currency Exchange and Availability:

Currency exchange services are readily available in Cambodia, particularly in major cities, tourist areas, and commercial districts. Banks and licensed exchange offices are common sources for obtaining Cambodian Riels. Many establishments, including hotels, restaurants, and stores, accept both Cambodian Riel and USD, making it convenient for both residents and tourists.

Banking and Financial Services:

Cambodia has a growing and developing banking sector that provides a range of financial services. Commercial banks, microfinance institutions, and specialized financial institutions offer services such as savings and checking accounts, loans, money transfers, and electronic banking options. Cambodia’s financial sector has expanded in recent years, with a focus on enhancing financial inclusion and economic growth.

The National Bank of Cambodia, as the central bank, plays a vital role in regulating and supervising the country’s financial institutions and the overall stability of the financial system.

Challenges and Economic Developments:

Cambodia’s economy has experienced notable growth and development in recent years, driven by sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and agriculture. The country has become a regional manufacturing hub, attracting foreign investment and expanding its export capabilities.

Tourism also plays a significant role in Cambodia’s economy, with the nation’s historical and cultural attractions drawing visitors from around the world. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the tourism sector, leading to challenges and economic adjustments.

Despite its economic growth, Cambodia still faces challenges related to income inequality, access to quality education and healthcare, and infrastructure development. The government has implemented various economic and social policies to address these challenges and promote inclusive growth.


The Cambodian Riel, with its rich history and diverse denominations, is an essential part of Cambodia’s financial and economic landscape. It reflects the nation’s cultural heritage and economic development and serves as the official currency for its residents and international visitors. As Cambodia continues to evolve and expand its economy, the Cambodian Riel remains a symbol of the country’s progress and its unique blend of traditional and modern elements in its financial system.