Cash in LP, Hanoi + HK

Oct 1st, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Cash in LP, Hanoi + HK

I know there's probably a million posts about this across the board, but I'm lazy Joking--I actually just wanted to get the quick lowdown on the cash situations for each of the destinations on our trip in a few weeks:

Luang Prabang: is it better to just have USD or should we have both Baht and USD? Also, ATM doesn't sound very possible here, so should we just bring a bunch of cash with us (that kinda makes me nervous)?

Hanoi: sounds like a combination of both USD and VND (with an emphasis on having more VND than USD.) Sounds like there's an abundance of ATMs here, so should we just get our money that way?

Hong Kong: only need HKD...and ATMs everywhere, right?

Thanks in advance, all--really appreciate it!
filmwill is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Hi filmwill-

As I recall from my trip last year, just $$ in LP was fine. I also don't like travelling with a lot of cash, but you really just need $ for small shopping and restaurants. If you shop at some of the more boutiquey stores, or book tours thru one of the larger agencies, you can use credit cards. I was even able to use a cc when I shopped at a tiny, dinky antique store.

Hanoi- yup, plenty of ATMs. As I recall the bank ATMs were HSBC and an Australian bank.

Have a great trip!
cruisinred is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Both Hong Kong and Hanoi have plenty of ATMs.

When I was in LP, the occasional person asked for US$, but all the other purchases I made were in kip. Don't try to change more than US$20 at a time - you get such a stack of bills, it filled my whole waistpack!
Kathie is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for the answers so far, everyone.

In LP, where is the best place to exchange your dollars to kip? We're staying at Phou Vao, so I'm guessing we could do this here? Or are there better rates elsewhere in LP?

I'm thrilled as I just found out our account at WaMu changed their foreign fee structure--foreign transactions AND ATM withdrawals are only 1% of the transaction or the withdrawal amount--no ATM bank fee, no surcharge...

Unless the lady I was speaking with was sniffing glue (this is LA, so don't rule it out), I think we'll mostly be going that route...
filmwill is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 11:25 PM
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I was in LP earlier this year and there are plenty of exchange booths all over town. They all seemed to offer pretty comparable rates for $, £, € and Thai baht. The hotels,generally are not the best place to exchange money their rates are often substantial (c10%)worse. Thai baht and dollars are pretty much interchangeable and it pays to take both as the Lao banks take a week or two to catch up with exchange rates and this can sometimes work to your advantage as you can exchange whichever currency is strongest at the time.
crellston is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:40 AM
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WOW - I'm amazed that WaMu has that new policy! Given their recent reputation for nickel and diming people to death with fees, I'd call back and talk with another agent just to make sure!

In LP, we changed money at... a post office, I think it was, in the middle of town. There were no banks in LP when we were there, but I understand there is one now. There are signs for exchange places, and the rates were pretty standard. I have to admit I don't know about changing money at the Phou Vao. I'm so accustomed to never changing money at hotels that I never checked their rates.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:55 AM
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we also used the post is on the left just before you enter the main part of the i remember the pansea bus drops you off just across the street....

i can't remember but i think we used us dollars there and also kip....

in HK, its HK $$'s only...plenty of ATM's all around and banks too...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Kathie, just wanted to let you know that I checked with 2 different agents and an in-branch manager. WaMu has changed their policies (at least on free checking accounts) to incur only a 1% foreign transaction fee/ATM withdrawal fee.

It's unbelievable--to think I was almost so frustrated with their poor rates/fee structure for our trip last year, that I almost moved my account. Glad they finally woke up and changed their tune.
filmwill is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:55 PM
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I'm impressed, too, Bill. That's good news!
Kathie is offline  
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