The Cambodian Riel is the official currency of Cambodia. However, the US dollar is also widely circulated in the country and is more commonly used. As US Cent coins are not available, the Cambodian Riel is often used for denominations less than one Dollar. Coins come in 50, 100, 200 and 500 Riels and banknotes are in 100, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 and 50000 Riels.
The name "Riel" means "small fish" in Khmer and some believe that the currency was named after the Mekong river fish. There is also the theory that the name was taken from the Mexican Real that was used in Cambodia during the 19th Century.
The first Cambodian Riel was introduced in 1953. The currency was set at par with the Piastre and so early banknotes issued were of dual currency. Initially the Riel was made up of 100 Centimes but in 1959 the subunit was changed to 100 Sen. In 1975, all money was banned from use in Cambodia under power of the Khmer Rouge. This remained so until 1st April 1980 when the new Cambodian Riel was brought back after the Vietnamese invasion. The government even gave away new money to try and rebuild the country’s economy and encourage use of the currency. However, this new currency has not been well adopted and the US Dollar is more widely used today.
- kak (10)
- sen (100)
- National Bank of Cambodia