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

Money exchange; also China from Hong Kong

Money exchange; also China from Hong Kong

Old Mar 16th, 2024, 04:16 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Money exchange; also China from Hong Kong

Hi everyone,
We are going for a tour of China in May, starting in Hong Kong and then taking the train to Guilin.
Most costs are included in the tour, but we will need money for drinks, tips, laundry, etc.
So a few questions:
- can we exchange pounds directly to Yuan in Hong Kong, or do we have to do this in China?
- If we cannot get Yuan in Hong Kong, can we get Yuan at the railway station after passport control - even if only enough for snacks and drinks on the train?
- are credit cards any use in China?
- how much should we tip guides and drivers per day?
Thanks for your help.
arthurmoore9630 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2024, 12:09 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by arthurmoore9630
Hi everyone,
We are going for a tour of China in May, starting in Hong Kong and then taking the train to Guilin.
Most costs are included in the tour, but we will need money for drinks, tips, laundry, etc.
So a few questions:
- can we exchange pounds directly to Yuan in Hong Kong, or do we have to do this in China?
Definitly yes, you can exchange China Yuan in Hong Kong
- If we cannot get Yuan in Hong Kong, can we get Yuan at the railway station after passport control - even if only enough for snacks and drinks on the train?
Yes, there are also currency exchange in each Port of Entry in Shenzhen
- are credit cards any use in China?
Yes, master/VISA card are commonly used
- how much should we tip guides and drivers per day?
You mean tip besides the fee? Tip is not common in China, you don't need to prepare for it at all.
Thanks for your help.
Futher more, I strongly suggest you to install a wechat app and bind your credit card to it. It would be very convenient during the trip.
haoyuan1717 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2024, 01:14 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2024
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Haoyuan,
Useful information - particularly WeChat which I will definitely put on my phone.
Isn't it odd the information you get on tipping. I think from your user name you are probably Chinese, so you will know the true picture.
But we are going on a cruise on the Yangtse river. They have a mandatory tip for the boat crew included in the cost, and they also tell you should tip coach guides and drivers on any excursions, as they are not part of the boat crew.
Do you think that is American influence, because they seem to tip for everything and always give a lot of money, whereas in England most people do not give tips, or only small amounts - like leaving the small change in a taxi. In England people are now all on at least a wage of £11.44 per hour, whereas people in America seem to live on their tips, so perhaps they do not get a proper wage?
Arthur
arthurmoore9630 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2024, 06:57 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you already agree on a tip for the guide, I think it should be decided before the trip.

Otherwise if you find the private guide yourself, AFAK, the whole payment for the guide should between 300~500 yuan per day for a team no more than 10 person.
The tip for driver should be no more than 300 per day, maybe 200 yuan is enough.
haoyuan1717 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2024, 06:24 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 318
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is no tipping in China. however tour groups are the exception as Americans have ruined it to the point where guides and drivers often get no salary and totally depend on tips (makes you wonder why you pay the tour company).
I disagree with the above poster. It is well known that credit cards do not work in most places in China. They will be accepted in hotels and fancier restaurants. In other places you need electronic payments like Wechat or cash.
You will get the best exchange rate by withdrawing RMB from ATMs rather than exchanging. There are some ATMs in HK that will give you RMB.
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2024, 05:32 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
  1. You can exchange pounds to Yuan in Hong Kong, but the rates might be less favorable.
  2. You can exchange Yuan at the railway station in Guilin after passport control.
  3. Credit cards are accepted in some places in China, but it's good to have cash for smaller vendors.
  4. Tipping guides around 50-100 Yuan per day and drivers 20-50 Yuan per day is common.
lokeshchandrapatel38 is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2024, 10:08 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,710
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your tour company should be able to advise you regarding who should be tipped and when tipping is not necessary. They should also be able to furnish you with suggested amounts. For example, some companies pre-pay drivers adequately and some do not.
KTtravel is online now  
Old Apr 21st, 2024, 12:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 419
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is no tipping in China except that which tour companies foist upon gullible foreign tourists in their own interest. They are the very last people who should be consulted on this matter. In addition to pay drivers receive plentiful kick-backs from shopping 'opportunities', either as a cash sum for choosing one shop over another, or as a percentage of the guide's substantial kick-back. Even if tipping were a custom in China, it would not be appropriate in these cases.
temppeternh is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2024, 01:25 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 419
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by arthurmoore9630
- can we exchange pounds directly to Yuan in Hong Kong, or do we have to do this in China?
Yuan can be purchased in Hong Kong, and the best rates are available from small backstreet money exchanges to the east of Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, where you can walk from one to another checking their rates. Having said that I didn't notice any of these when I was there a few weeks ago, but then I wasn't looking.

However, this is not the best way to go.

ATMs (bank machine) that accept foreign bank cards are legion, and these will give you the best rate from your own currency. Rules vary, but you may be limited to ¥3000 per withdrawal, yet able to make multiple withdrawals (although it takes a long time to get through ¥3000 in China). Although for many banks it is unnecessary these days, as a precaution you should notify yours of your intention to use your card for this purpose in China.

But note that cash is less popular than electronic payments, and you'll need to use the large ¥100 notes you receive at larger institutions (e.g. hotels) in order to obtain smaller notes. Some places do so few cash transactions that they have little change, and in a few cases operations are electronic only, and will only take your cash if you have exactly the right money.

It is worthwhile downloading the Alipay App (note there is a different version for use in Hong Kong, but which expects you to provide a local number, so is of less use—and cash is still plentiful there anyway) and linking it to your credit card (it doesn't seem to like debit cards). But again you should notify your card issuer, as some baulk at China payments and will require verification via text or call every time you attempt to use the app. I found this rendered the app usable (and I'm about to have words with my card issuer about that). But it is possible to survive on cash alone if you hoard smaller bills.

Originally Posted by arthurmoore9630
- If we cannot get Yuan in Hong Kong, can we get Yuan at the railway station after passport control - even if only enough for snacks and drinks on the train?
At any conventional railway station you are bound to find plenty of nearby banks. The new high-speed railway stations are often in new-built suburbs and banks/bank machines not so guaranteed, although there will usually be something. Nanning East, for instance (also in Guangxi Province) is entirely bank-free. Luckily the staff of my hotel (not many of those, either) got the GM to drive me ten minutes away so I could use one. If you can make Alipay function (quiz your credit card provider) then the possibility of an immediate shortage of cash goes away, however. Subway systems, buses, taxis, even people selling fruit at the side of the road all use electronic payments. Google Maps isn't remotely as useful in China as its locally produced equivalents, but using it to look up the station and then scanning the area for 'ATMs' can be helpful. Card issuers also have websites of the locations of compatible machines, although these are rarely up-to-date.

Originally Posted by arthurmoore9630
- are credit cards any use in China?
Yes, but not as often as the signs indicating their acceptance appear. Often only domestic versions will work. But in general society has moved on to direct debit via phone app. If you're in a souvenir shop and they take foreign cards you can be quite certain you're being taken to the cleaners, and shouldn't shop there at all.

There's also a problem with DCC, or direct currency conversion. This is where the card machine offers you the choice of paying in ¥RMB or in your own currency. Wherever you are in the world you should always choose to pay in the local currency, and let the credit card do the conversion, unless you want to pay around 7% more than necessary. The problem in China is that that option may not be offered, and the local DCC rate foisted upon you, or that rate is used regardless of your selection. Some caution is necessary. Some people resort to writing on receipts '¥RMB only' in order to smooth arguments with the credit card company when inappropriate charges appear.

Originally Posted by arthurmoore9630
- how much should we tip guides and drivers per day?
Nothing whatsoever. There is no tradition of tipping in China. You negotiate a price, and that's the price you pay, and not a penny more. Anyone who tries to hint or persuade otherwise (and it's always someone with an interest in the outcome) is simply cheating you. And that's on top of the kick-backs they receive from hotels, all but the most major sights, and all the shopping you do in their presence (when you'll pay many multiples too much for anything you buy--not two or three times, but as much as 15 or 20 times). The corruption of the Chinese travel industry is so vast it can be seen from space, and even if China were a culture that practised tipping it would not be appropriate in this case.
temppeternh is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2024, 03:29 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,151
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nice to see you posting again, PNH!
kja is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -