FX tips: ASEAN currencies, how they look like & where to change them

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a region of 10 countries, and 10 different currencies for travelers to handle. So how does one prepare for potential FX issues before heading off to explore the many treasures offered in ASEAN? Fret not, here are some tips before you buy that Airasia/Jetstar/Tiger airways ticket

Note: Tripeon Travels is based in Singapore, and this post is written assuming one starts his/her ASEAN journey in SG. Also, the 10 currencies will be grouped in 3 broad categories

1. Change using Singapore dollar (SGD, see top image) while in Singapore

Currencies involved: Malaysian Ringgit, Indonesian Rupiah, Thai Baht, Vietnamese Dong, Philippine Peso

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These currencies can be readily found in Singapore with good exchange rates. Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines are nearby countries with large volume of travelers heading in/out of Singapore for work or sightseeing purposes. Thailand and Vietnam are favourite destinations of many Singaporeans and thus the Baht & Dong can also be easily exchanged. It’s much easier to save some hassle and just deal with FX issues in SGD before arriving at these countries

2. Change at destination airport (Local currency required for daily expenses)

Currencies involved: Myanmar Kyat, Laotian Kip

2 currencies that are lesser known to Singaporeans, nevertheless Myanmar Kyat & Laotian Kip are needed for all daily expenses when in Myanmar/Laos. Although finding these currencies can be difficult in Singapore, FX issues can be solved easily as exchange rates at Yangon and Vientiane international airports are very reasonable. Travelers can be assured to just change all they need at the airports to save the trouble of looking for MoneyExchange on their own

Note: In both Myanmar & Laos, SGD/USD/Euros can be exchanged for the local currency easily. New, Large tenders ($100) tend to give better exchange rates so do stick to those when possible. For USD, bring only notes of the post Year2006 edition

3. No changing required, just bring SGD/USD along

Currencies involved: Brunei Dollar, Cambodian Riel

Singapore is one of Brunei’s major trading partners, and the Brunei dollar is managed and pegged together with SGD at a 1:1 ratio by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Hence bringing SGD alone is enough for one’s monetary needs in Brunei. On the other hand, Cambodian Riels are hardly required when traveling in Cambodia as the preferred currency in the country is undisputedly USD

This sums up all the currencies found in ASEAN, hope this article helps in the planning of your ASEAN adventure!

*All Travels in ASEAN occurred in 2016

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