Cambodian currency has been in a unique position compared with other ASEAN States and for the last 20+ years has been operating under a dual-currency status.
This is due to the influence of UNTAC period when large amounts of United States Dollars were pumped into the country as well as from foreign investors, NGO's and charities.
The general consensus is that Khmer Riel is used as change for smaller purchases and for anything over USD$10-20 upwards the payment will be made in US Dollars 90% of the time.
|Set of Khmer Riel bank notes|
In the provinces and outside of urban areas the KHR is used more frequently while in the big cities USD reigns supreme.
|$100 US Dollars as Dual Currency in Cambodia|
However if a person is trying to build their savings it is common for them to collect up enough Khmer Riel to change into US Dollars and then as they continue to save they will highly likely convert their USD into 22 or 23k gold jewellery to diversify their savings.
Considering past history it is understandable why more trust is found in strong foreign currency and then gold as the ultimate store of wealth.
|Khmer Gold - the ultimate store of wealth|
The National Bank of Cambodia is gently pushing towards longer term single currency using the Khmer Riel but Dollars and gold jewellry will surely retain their premium cache for some time to come.
The NBC has worked hard to create stability with the Riel by linking to the US Dollar with which it hovers at around 4,000 KHR for 1 USD and rarely changes more than a few percent.