I am going to South East Asia soon. I have been to Thailand before and just took my ATM bank card to obtain money. This is fine in Thailand, but I have heard that this can be difficult in Cambodia and Loas.
I am thinking of changing some money in Cambodian Reil and Loas Kip, but have read that I'm probabley better changing it to US dollars.
What do you think I should do?
I only ever came across 1 ATM in Laos, in Vietienne when I was there Dec 06. Apparently, a few more have popped up since then, but.... Take travellers cheques - you can change these at most travel agents and there are banks open during the day.
Cambodia is ok for cash points, but they are still fewer in comparison to Thailand, particularly in rural areas. Siam Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville all have ATMs (but you may have to jump on a bike to get to them!). I managed in Cambodia with cash cards only.
Thanks for that Clair. Think I may risk it in Cambodia then as I'll only be going to Shinoukville, Siam Reap and Phnom Penn anyhow.
You will be fine in Cambodia for ATMs. Versus even just 2 year ago there is now good access to ATMs in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. They dispense US$ (which is what you want for the areas you are going to travel) though I would not overly rely on them to always work when you most need them.
Any other Qs regarding Cambodia please feel free to msg me.
Thanks for that AJB.
I have got another question achually after reading up on Cambodia last night, I'm not sure I want to go to Phnom Penn it sounds dangerous! Is there an easier way to get to Shinoukville. Don't really care about price just want to get there quickly!
Phnom Penh may have a bit of a bad reputation but i think its safe enough if u exercise due caution and common sense. Travelled in PP alone, and for the time i spent there i encountered no problems at all, even wandering down the odd alley and all.
If u really feel worried about the security situation, u could try to stay along the tourist stretch beside the river, along Preah Ekereach Quay where the boulevards are broad and brighlty lit, with bars and restaurants opening late into the night. Boeng Kak, the traditional backpackers ghetto is a bit more dodgy, but its still a virtual encalve in itself, a more cluttered and mazy versoin of Khao San Rd actually.
So dont worry too much, its actually pretty safe id say. Relatively comfortable buses go from Psaa Thmei (one of many places) to Sville, cost is around 4 dollars if i remember correct.
There are definitely ATM's in Cambodia and in Laos. There are at least 2 locations in Vientiane (went to both) and there is at least one in Luang Prabang. There may be one in Vang Vieng, but I didn't stay there long enough to get money. This was in March 2006, over a year ago.
I think the worst idea would be travellers checks, unless you are at a western hotel, i can't imagine anyone taking them. plus, laos is not very expensive, so you won't need to hit up the atm very often. The ATM's in Laos dispense kip, so you will need a safe place to store all the bills. plus, make sure you don't get out too much because no one else will exchange kip, i heard that thailand won't exchange them for baht, but i didn't even try since i only had a couple bils left. US dollars are always accepted, if not preferred, in both countries, so if you can get your hands on some before you go, that is good to have as a backup.
i will be there is a few weeks and looking forward to it!
Phomn Penh is ok safety wise I found. Just use your common sense, keep your belongings close to you and don't walk deserted streets or any streets at night alone. I stayed in the backpacker area close to the river and palace.
There is one ATM in Savannakhet, but it only takes Mastercard. I got kip using my visa card inside the bank.
When I was in Cambodia, the only ATM i could see was in Pnom Phen. Ive stayed in Sihanoukville for a long time and the only way to take out money there is to go to a bank and you can take out money on the old fashion way If you take out money in thailand, then take dollars. You can pay with dollars almost everywhere in cambodia. Maybe is a ATM in siem riap.