Going to China on Holiday, how much cash should I take?

Discussion in 'Travel' started by Norfolknchance, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Anyone here got any ideas about how much cash me and the present Mrs Chance should take for a 2 week stay in China? It's all-inclusive so very little to be spent on food and drink. We're in Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and another couple of places.

    Any advice if you've done such a holiday recently, we're going in 10 weeks or so.
  2. Not much, AFAIK. Most places have ATMs/banks so you can draw what you need as you go. Also on credit card network. Some folks swear by pre paid cards, no experience myself. Call your bank for charges availability etc.

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  3. Schaden

    Schaden LE Book Reviewer

    Atm's work just like anywhere else in the world - take about $300 in readies for taxies and tips and change $100 at a time.
  4. I can only comment on Beijing which I have visited three times over recent years.

    Irrespective of how much money you take, be assured that every Street Vendor and Market Trader will be trying (very hard) to relief you of as much of it as they can.

    For shopping, the Panjiayuan Flea Market (weekends only) and the Silk Market are wonders to behold. Barter hard at both locations because the Traders have no shame when it comes to Tourists (good humour and feigned horror help). I would recommend you start at 10% of what they initially ask for ... and if you actually pay more than 40% you've probably been had over. Bear in mind that every 'designer label' item at both (most) locations will be a knockoff and could be confiscated by customs on your return home. A real Dior' bag costs the same in Beijing as it does in London.

    Remember every old pot will be a Ming Vase, and the quality of every product will be shamelessly exaggerated. Don't buy souvenirs at the Tourist attractions you'll find exactly the same for a fraction of the price elsewhere.

    If you are concerned about excess baggage you could parcel some of your purchases home, China Post is very reasonably priced ... while your hotel will charge a small fortune to arrange postage on your behalf. In the Silk Market the traders are quite happy to parcel stuff up for you and the Post Office is in the basement.

    Be wary of unlicensed Taxis (you will be approached by touts at regular Taxi Ranks), if you use one of these you really are taking your life in your own hands, and you'll probably pay as much as x10 the regular fare.

    In Beijing 'real men' spit ... and despite the Government trying to stop it ... they spit often and publicly. I would recommend you carry a small bottle of anti-bacterial hand wash, and if you need the loos while you're out and about find the nearest franchised hotel or restaurant.

    Don't rush about too much and stay indoors when possible ... fresh air isn't supposed to be dirty brown in colour.

  5. 20 quid a day each if you want to see attractions, and have some coffees. Food is for nothing out there and is often excellent.

    Don't tip anyone as it is not expected. If befriended on the street and offered a genuine tea ceremony you will be taken somewhere and forcibly encouraged to pay well over the odds. Legal taxis only as the chappie above said.
  6. Many thanks for the advice given above. I'm planning on taking around £500 in yuan for the whole shebang (which should keep the missus happy in G&Ts!)
  7. Maybe it would be wise to pack yer nbc kit.
  8. You could try just taking tins of baby milk according to the radio today. A way to double your money but you might need a big wallet until you 'exchange' them.
  9. And warn your bank of your travel dates, otherwise they may well block your ATM card, they did that to me in India, they assumed it had been cloned and auto-blocked it, had to ring them and confirm ID to get it unblocked
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Beijing is as expensive as London if not more in many ways. Mrs R has just returned from her home town and was shocked at the prices. She goes each year to see her parents so it's not like she's been away for a long time. Out in the rural it's much cheaper but you won't be going there.
  11. Beijing and Shanghai are outrageously expensive for most things. Street food is tasty and cheap, though, so both the roadside breakfast stalls and the Night Markets are a good bet for your meals. Xi'an's cheaper and when you get there I'd suggest heading to Huimin Street to try a Hui restaurant. They're renowned cooks and their meat dishes are pretty good unless you have ethical objections to Halal slaughter.

    If you've already booked your hotels and the £500 is just for day-to-day expense, you'll be fine unless you go crazy with the souvenirs.
  12. The Huimin types are definately well known for their good beef and lamb. No porky of course but definately a good suggestion from 'carrots.
  13. Be aware that the currency comprises yuan, jiao and fen. 1 yuan = 10 jiao = 100 fen.

    Banknotes are in yuan or jiao, coins are in jiao or fen. Until you become used to the notes, it's really easy to offer 5 yuan where you think you're offering 5 jiao. Similarly, if you're buying something off a stall that has a marked price, you might find that although the number is shown, the unit isn't - the locals know the value so it's not an issue for them but the tourists can be a factor of 10 out.

    When I went to Beijing - more than 10 years ago - the stall and shop traders were honest and would correct your error, happily searching through your wallet for the correct notes. As more tourists have visited, I imagine that the traders have adopted more western habits and welcome the opportunity for an enhanced profit.
  14. Again, don't know if it has changed, but when I went, you couldn't buy RMB outside of China - nor was it legal to bring RMB in. Not to worry, there were several exchange kiosks in the airport for an initial supply of readies. Once in town, ATMs provided the answer to cash - though, at that time, ATMs were few and far between.

    On leaving, though, I found all of the exchange kiosks in the airport were closed (I suspect deliberately), leaving me with a wad of notes that, once I left China, were essentially worthless.
  15. You can buy RMB in UK travel agents and Bureau de Change now.