Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Cash and credit cards in Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, and Sri Lanka

Cash and credit cards in Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, and Sri Lanka

Old Jul 20th, 2005, 06:52 AM
  #1  
ccc
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cash and credit cards in Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, and Sri Lanka

Do we need to take a pile of dollars with us when we visit Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, and Sri Lanka? I'm assuming that major hotels will take credit cards, but what about restaurants, stores, entrance fees at Angkor, departure taxes, visa fees, etc.? Also, are there ATM's in any of these places? I'd prefer not to take alot of cash but want to be prepared. Thanks very much.
ccc is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 08:31 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
generally you need to take US or in some cases Thai cash for LP and Siem Reap....i do not believe there are ATM's in either places...

i took 1's, 5's, 10' and 20's, plus a couple of 50's for guides..

major hotel and the major shops take credit cards, but i would not plan on using them in shops...

it is a pain but that is how it works...

don't know about sri lanka...

best to go prepared....

markets and street vendors only take cash of course...

your hotel will perhaps help you but i would go prepared
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 06:25 PM
  #3  
ccc
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tks
ccc is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 06:36 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 333
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I used a combination of dollars, local currency, and credit cards in Cambodia. You won't be using dollars in Sri Lanka - local currency and sometimes credit cards. Generally, I used local currency most all of the time there. I think Laos is the same situation as Cambodia.
Mealea is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 06:59 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You will use mostly US currency in Siem Reap - it's the preferred currency there. You can use credit cards at hotels and occasional shops. You will get small change in riel, but spend or give away all of your riel before leaving the country as it is worthless outside the country. There are no ATMs in Siem Reap.

In Laos, we found that people did want the local currency (with only a few exceptions), so take US dollars to exchange. I wouldn't exchange more than US$20 at a time - it makes quite a pile of kip. Hotels take credit cards as well as restaurants. Kip are also worthless outside of Laos. There are no ATMs in LP.

I have seen reports from other travelers of using Thai baht in LP, but no where we went wanted Thai baht, and the exchange rate wasn't as good as for US dollars.

Sorry, I haven't been to Sri Lanka yet.
Kathie is online now  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 07:05 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 87
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In SR, we paid in cash mostly. Exceptions: hotel & the shops of Artisans d'Angkor.
institcher is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 08:23 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
kathie is right....we found all taxi people wanted local currency, but quoted the price in us dollars...usually one dollar or 2...each by the way....two of you take a taxi for $1 each not $2 for the taxi...???

shops generally wanted dollars where we were and the same at the silk co-op...although i suspect they would also take local currency...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2005, 09:44 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,753
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As enough answers re SR and Laos I will supplement Mealea's Sri Lanka posting. IN Colombo you will be fine with credit cards in most shops/restaurants tho for taking rickshaws and tipping you should have some Sri Lankan rupees. Outside Colombo you will definitely need Sri Lankan rupees as credit cards are not widely accepted except in hotels. Ditto re ATMs i.e. prevalent in Colombo, not so much elsewhere. I would withdraw local currenmcy at the start of your trip from a Colombo ATM then use it and if you have loads left at the end start paying for meals & shopping with currency instead of cards. That's what we do when we travel and turns out all right for the most.
hobbes is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2005, 09:15 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,082
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm trying to remember all the little details for our trip in early October (mostly to SR and LP with just 2 days in BKK). So to summarize: hotels, restaurants and some shops take credit cards, otherwise bring dollars in small denominations. So two questions: how are the departure taxes paid and approximately how much is it wise to bring (for guides, taxis, tuk-tuks, some shopping and what else am I missing on the list)?
FromDC is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2005, 11:18 AM
  #10  
ccc
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With the exception of SR, where I think you can pay your departure taxes with a credit card, everything else is in cash. Unless you've arranged them ahead of time, make certain to allow as well for visa fees on arrival in both LP and SR (I think $20 each). As far as how much to take I think that's pretty much a function of how long you are staying, how much you plan to shop, etc. but things are relatively inexpensive, especially in Laos.
ccc is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2005, 12:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
At least when I was there, you couldn't pay your departure tax with a credit card, but that may have changed. I'd say, figure out how much you think you'll need and double it. Why? Because you won't have an easy source of cash in either LP or SR. You'll likely find things to buy that you didn't figure on, and you'll find a great little place to eat that doesn't take credit cards. Always better to have more money than you need rather than less...
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 21st, 2005, 01:21 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 14,656
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie gives excellent advice. The last thing you want is to be short of cash with no way of getting more. I was in London and Paris a few years ago for a couple of weeks and my ATM card stopped working--at the very beginning of the trip! I didn't have that much cash or travellers checks with me, figuring I would just withdraw from my account with the ATM and use credit cards. I ended up having to be very careful, something you don't want to deal with while on vacation. Like Kathie says, bring double the amount. You can always redeposit what you didn't spend when you get home.
laurieco is online now  
Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 06:16 AM
  #13  
ccc
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You also want to make certain you have passport pictures available for visas and your Angkor pass.
ccc is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2005, 06:59 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,082
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for reminding me about these details!
FromDC is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2007, 05:16 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 80
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My wife and I visited Luang Prabang in 9/07. I brought both USD and Thai Baht, but exclusively used USD, which was happily accepted by taxi and tuk tuk drivers, store merchants, night market vendors, and even the vendors at the Hmong villages. I paid for the Pak Ou Cave boat tour and the waterfall car tour with a credit card, and tipped our guide and drivers in USD (I usually try to tip in the local currency, but I was led to believe that the USDs were perfectly acceptable and readily negotiable).
jrruff is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2007, 05:46 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the update. Things change, especially with the increased flow of travelers. I was in Siem Reap in 2001 and in LP in 2002, and this thread is from 2005, so that was a while ago.
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 7th, 2007, 11:51 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No problem with credit cards and ATM s in Sri Lanka. Cards are accepted in most of the places and ATM s are available every where. Have an small amount to begin with and decide.
ajith is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2007, 04:07 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 705
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ajith is right, credit cards especially VISA and Mastercard and to lesser extent Amex is widely accepted in Sri Lanka at almost all hotels, restaurants and most larger shops/supermarkets etc. Many petrol stations also will accept credit cards for a small I think 1% surcharge. Lots of ATM's also. However I don't think many governmnet run sites like national parks, and some of the cultural triangle sites etc will accept credit cards for payment. As for card safety and fraud, it is generally very good too but one must take the usual precautions and not let ones card out of ones sight and obviously don't go to ATM's in dark places late at night etc.

Mohammed is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2007, 05:43 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mohammed and ajith, will we find ATMs in Kandy and the ancient cities area? I assume there are ATMs at the airport in Columbo.
Kathie is online now  
Old Aug 8th, 2007, 06:01 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 705
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Kathie,

Yes there are ATM's at the airport in the hall just as you exit customs.

If I remember right, you are staying at Kandalama? In this case you should be passing through Dambulla town enroute to the ancient sites so will find ATM's there. Some of the better known banks are Commercial bank of Ceylon and HNB. Almost all larger towns including Anuradhapura, and Pollonaruwa will have a bank and an ATM today. Kandy is not a town - it is more a small city and will have a lot of banks.
Mohammed is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information