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A Question Of Money


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Hi all

Silly question I know. Should I be taking Chinese currency or American dollars to Beijing? Will Just chinese currency serve me okay?

Also - anybody know what th electricty plugs look like in Beijing?!

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Hi all

Silly question I know. Should I be taking Chinese currency or American dollars to Beijing? Will Just chinese currency serve me okay?

Also - anybody know what th electricty plugs look like in Beijing?!

1) Since I presume you are from the UK, why don't you just take British pounds? Any hard currency is exchangeable at banks with forex windows--no need to change into US dollars first. Chinese currency is controlled, even if you can find a place to buy a bit of it in the UK before you leave, the rate will be highly unfavorable. Just wait until you arrive, and either change a bit of cash at the airport, or hit the ATM machines in the arrival hall after exiting customs. It is easy to find ATM machines throughout Beijing that will take foreign cashpoint cards. Before you leave, check with your bank on transaction limits, fees, and notifying them you will be in China so they (hopefully) don't freeze the card.

2) There is a mongrel assortment in use depending on how new the building is where you are staying. The most common plug will have a top outlet that fits US-style 2 prong plugs and the bottom the "Chinese" 3-prong plug with a straight prong over 2 angled ones. Sometimes you see others in use, or semi-universal type. You can bring one of those little pouches with different plug/prong combos, or an all-purpose one. These are also inexpensively purchased everywhere in Beijing, should you need to pick one up on the fly. Electricity is 220-240v.

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Just to clarify: in China, you will be using Chinese RMB ("yuan") for your cash transactions. Anybody who offers you the "convenience" of paying in a foreign currency is not out to do you any favors. Exchange rates at banks are highly standardized across the country as they are set by the government against each foreign currency. Try to avoid changing money at a hotel unless an extreme emergency--as the hotel will exact a hefty fee either directly or by a poor rate. Major branches of banks in Beijing and other large cities are usually open on Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays, and particularly in tourist areas and major shopping areas. Keep all exchange slips for non-ATM transactions, as if you need to change your RMB back to other currency before you leave, you will need these slips.

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Another general question for thos going to the games. Whats the best way to get from Beijing Airport to the city? Taxi train bus?

Me, I will take the new subway line.

Seems to be the best way to avoid traffic, and probably also the cheapest solution.

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Another general question for thos going to the games. Whats the best way to get from Beijing Airport to the city? Taxi train bus?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on time you arrive, how tired you are likely to be, how much luggage you have, and your exact destination.

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