TOKYO -- Visitors to the Royal Palace Park in Phnom Penh don't need to worry if they forget to bring wads of Cambodian riel with them -- all of the owners of the nearby food and drink stalls tell their customers to pay in U.S. dollars anyway. It is the same all over the country: Bank loans, hotel visits and checkups at medical clinics are all paid in dollars. And, despite pleading from the government for banks to use the riel, there is little sign of Cambodia giving up the greenback anytime soon.
Huot Pisey Pichny, 25, owner of the Pasteur Cafe, says she lists her menu items in dollars because it is more convenient for her customers, who don't like to carry large quantities of riel with them all the time. She pays her staff in dollars, too.