What currency is best to have for exchange
US$ is widely used throughout the country so no need to go to a money changer if you have US$ otherwise you can easily change £ or € at moneychangers.
Just bring £'s to change
make sure you get rid of Riel you get a long the way as you get it as is worthless. Only for change under a dollar at any rate.
One thing I wish I knew before going was you need as many $1 notes as you can get. Problem with atm withdrawal is you get $100 notes and it can be pain. Coming from the states bring 50-100 $1 notes with you if possible.
I only brought a few 10's and 20's $ notes. I paid my accommodation with $100 notes and got small change. Money changers are happy to break your $100 bills in to smaller denominations at no charge. During my two weeks in Cambodia this year i paid everything in $ and received small change in kyat which i used for buying water or giving tips. Even the supermarket items are marked in $ and cents.
Why would you bring lots of 1 dollar notes Chris, especially if you are a Brit ? Small notes can be convenient but only if in good shape, a note with a small tear is a problem here, people dont want it. Bring 50 or 100$ notes and maybe a few smaller ones if you have access to them. For us europeans it is not a smart thing to try and get smaller denominations in US dollars.
I used many many one dollar notes. Tuk Tuk into town $2. Tuk tuk back $2. tips and stuff from markets and street food. Found the ones so valuable. I will say I arrived with $2K in hundreds and fifties. Tuk Tuk drivers can have a hard time changing a $50. Having said that you do pick up a lot of small notes a long the way but I know next time I will have smaller notes when I arrive. More than once stood around at the night market while the people in the stall got change for a large note.
I'm Aussie and I have never received a torn note from a currency exchange in Australia. Also never got one from a Cambodian currency exchange but I was checking. Not sure risk of torn $1 note is any different to torn $20.
Either way it was something I found I was stockpiling. Maybe I just picked Tuk Tuk drivers who didn't carry $48 (or $18 for that matter) in change by pure chance. Next time I'll just arrive with some.
Out of curiosity (genuine as well) why is not a smart thing for you Europeans to get small denomination US currency?
In Australia you can easily and at no greater cost from Post office or bank (pre order) or to a certain degree currency exchange.
We are going to Cambodia in January and was just planning on changing Aust. Dollars to Cambodian Riel on arrival at the airport. Is this something we can do, is it worth it or should we just change to USA dollars? TIA.