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travellers' cheques or credit card in Cambodia and Laos?


Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: September 12th, 2005

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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2005
I'm debating whether to bring all my money in traveller's cheques or whether to rely on my credit card to get money out in Cambodia and Laos. I know that I can use both only in major banks and that I'll probably need to have cash on me for most of the time.
However, can anyone give me some advice of what works better? For traveller's cheques, do the banks usually charge a commission? I think the credit card campanies charge a 'conversion fee' of about 2.75% (well, my bank does).
Thanks for any tips!


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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Joined: October 18th, 2004

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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2005
I changed travellers checks in Vientienne (US Dollars - VISA checks) in February and there was no commission and I'm pretty sure the exchange rate was the same as cash.

Personally, I would only get a cash advance from my credit cards if I had no other option because of the ridiculous fees my cards charge and the fact that interest starts accruing immediately.


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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: August 2nd, 2005

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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2005
Start an account up with Nationwide, they don't charge any commission for using ATM's abroad. Also a good tip for Cambodia is take your dollars in as small amounts as possible, this really does help.


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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
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Joined: February 8th, 2005

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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2005

Some past discussion. ATM's are pretty non existent in Laos and Cam.
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Street Food Connoisseur
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Joined: November 21st, 2004

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  • Added on: September 26th, 2005
You'll have no problems with traveler's checks in Cambodia and Laos. Credit card cash advances can be done in Siem Reap at certain banks - I've seen it done. But you do get hit with a hefty surcharge. It's better to use traveller's checks.

In Laos, the ritziest hotels might be able to do credit card transactions, but I wouldn't bank on it. Travelers' checks were no problem at all in Laos banks.

If I were you, I'd go with travelers checks.
"Qian li zhi xing, shi yu zu xia." - Chinese proverb


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Mod Squad
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  • Added on: September 26th, 2005
ATMs are now in Cambodia, according to Tales Of Asia.


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Armchair Traveler
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Joined: December 15th, 2004

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  • Added on: September 28th, 2005
Just back from Siem Reap, had american express travellers cheques in US dollers, no trouble changing them, every small travel agent seemed to do them (and theres a lot of those in siem reap!), and only charged 1% commision. The bank had fairly short openong hours, but the agents were open late, some till 9.
And i agree with the advice to get money in as small change as possible, you'll start hoarding those $1 bills fairly quickly!

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