quick question guys!! need some advice on the below-
When im in thailand/cambodia/vietnam is it better to use USD or local currency?
If i use USD could i potentially be charged more for things than if i was using local currency?
When using taxis etc will they only accept local currency or USD as well?
Thanks, all feedback appreciated!!
You can't use USD in Thailand.
In Cambodia you can use dollars for pretty much everything - angkor wat, restaurants, hotels, rickshaws etc etc but you can also use local currency and ideally would use local currency for purchasing small things from shops and street stalls. If you pay for something in dollar and the change is less than a dollar, you will get the change in local currency as they do not use coins here. I used a mix of riel and USD here.
In Vietnam, most purchases are labelled in local currency, but will usually take dollar if you ask. Hotel rates and private bus fares are usually listed and paid for in dollar (you CAN pay in local currency) but for most other things, it would be better to use local currency. ATMs issue local currency only and all ATMs in Vietnam charge a transaction fee per withdrawal. I used all local currency in Vietnams.
Sometimes you end up paying slightly more for things in dollar if the price is quoted in local currency as they will round the exchange figure up, but there really isn't much in it.
Change USD to Thai Bath. In Thailand, only Bath are acceptable as mode of exchange for goods & services while in Vietnam & Cambodia, USD are widely being accepted. Places like hotels, guesthouses, taxis, cyclos and tourist spots as well as some restaurants accept USD in Vietnam. In Cambodia, using USD as mode of exchange for goods & services is not a problem as majority, if not all goods & service providers, accept it. However, the best option is to use the currency of the country that you're in. You stand to gain more if you can get the best forex rates. My opinion is that change your USD into Thai Bath, Vietnamese Dong & Cambodian Riel which will enough to fund your trips in those countries and bring some extras dollars for emergency purposes.
You'd use both of Vietnam Dong and US $ in Vietnam: USD for hotel, restaurant, travel agency..., Vietnam Dong for taxi, shopping...
In Cambodia $US was the preferred currency for most things except maybe bottled water and other really small purchases. In Phnom Penh it even had a supermarket that had all prices listed in $US instead of local currency. I'd say about 80% $US and 20% Cambodian Riel would have been the percentage of currency use.
In Vietnam it was about 50% of $US and 50% of VND but most things aimed towards tourists was in $US but food was generally marked in VND.
Thailand only accepted Baht for purchases (or at least in the places I went). Changing the $US in to Baht was easy, but unless it has changed since last year the airport exchange rate was pretty bad so just change enough to get you by for the day and then change the rest later.
in cambodia and vietnam a lot of products and serives are quoted in US$ but you can pay with either local currency or dollars. do beware of people trying to charge you incorrect currency exchange rates when paying in dollars. personally, i prefer to use local curreny because it creates additional demand for the currency and will help to strengthen the local economy. however, i did carry some dollars as emergency and they were useful if i ran out of local currency and there were no atms or bureau de change nearby. have a great trip, pete