Cambodia Everyday Life


The Cambodian currency is the Riel, the sub-unit Sen – 1 Riel equals 100 Sen – does not play a role in everyday life due to the depreciation of the currency in recent decades. Notes are in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500 and 100 riel in circulation. Cambodia’s economy is still extremely dollarized, around 84% of the foreign exchange traded is currently accounted for by the “Greenbuck”. Nevertheless, the Riel shows a very high stability to the American currency; the rule of thumb “4,000 riels is one US dollar” has been in place for many years. The riel is a means of payment in local trade, whereas the US dollar is mainly used in tourism. Riel should not be exchanged, as you usually get the local currency back as change.

Euros can now be changed in numerous banks in the cities. The Cambodian markets usually offer more favorable exchange rates. US dollars in small denominations are recommended, as it can quickly happen that large bills are no longer accepted even if they are only slightly damaged. You can also easily withdraw US dollars by debit or credit card from many ATMs found in most cities for a fee of up to US $ 5. As elsewhere, the ATMs are also accessible outside of the usual bank opening hours (Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.) – however, greater caution is required when using them after dark, especially in inanimate areas.

Credit cards are often only accepted as a means of payment in large hotels, international companies and better restaurants. Travelers checks are not redeemable everywhere, if at all they should be denominated in US dollars. The import and export of foreign currency is unrestricted, the obligation to declare exists from an amount equivalent to 10,000 US dollars.

Cambodia Money

Availability of lawyers

Regardless of the precarious rule of law, in the event of a legal dispute, those affected can fall back on almost 500 law firms with a good 1000 lawyers, which are currently (September 2017) in the national bar association are listed. According to the German Embassy, there are no regulations on the responsibilities of lawyers. According to, a Cambodian attorney can appear in both civil and criminal matters in any court in Cambodia and in any instance. In principle, there is no compulsory lawyer in court (exception only if minors are involved). There are no binding fee regulations for lawyers. A fee is agreed between the lawyer and the client; in civil cases, a so-called court fee is also due in order to even bring a case to court. Negotiations take place in Khmer and in most cases interpreters have to be paid for by those concerned.

The German Embassy has published a list of lawyers including contact details; Among them are two law firms that offer German as the language of correspondence.

The Capital

Especially the capital Phnom Penh offers expats Western provenance a thoroughly satisfactory infrastructure to meet daily needs, even if the city in the worldwide global liveability ranking in 2018 due to extensive corruption, inadequate health facilities and a generally inadequate infrastructure among 140 capitals is only ranked 125 and so that two places fall compared to the previous year.

Living in Phnom Penh

The range of apartments and houses to rent is comprehensive in all price categories – from a few hundred US dollars a month for older apartments to high four-digit rents for fully equipped villas. Phnom Penh is manageable in terms of area, but it is advisable not to choose a private place to stay too far from the workplace, as even short distances take longer driving times at peak times. The central districts of Chamkar Mon and Daunh Penh are among the most popular places to live among western foreigners.


The supply of electricity and water in the central districts of Phnom Penh is considered to be continuously secured. Nevertheless, power outages in the hottest season in April and May cannot be completely ruled out. Cooking is usually done with gas, which requires bottles. Several supermarkets sell western groceries and drugstore items, and some shopping malls also offer luxury items. Inexpensive products – especially textiles and simple everyday products – can be found in the capital’s traditional markets, among which the Central Market (Phsar Thmei) and the Russian Market (Phsar Toul Tom Pong) are among the most popular with foreigners. Cars can be rented, which can be expensive with some providers – a price comparison is therefore definitely worthwhile.

Leisure time

The capital offers numerous opportunities for active leisure activities as well as relaxation. On the one hand there are excursions into the surrounding area, on the other hand various memorials, museums and cultural institutions can be visited. Sport can be done individually, for example in some fitness clubs, or in community. In the evenings, there are numerous restaurants and bars, especially on the riverside. The culinary offers are varied and often of good quality. In contrast to most other cities in Cambodia, Phnom Penh also has a vibrant nightlife.

Kindergartens and schools

There are numerous kindergartens in Phnom Penh, not all of which are exclusively geared towards Western customers. Some private schools offer good courses, especially the International School of Phnom Penh, the Northbridge International School or – somewhat cheaper – the British International School.

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