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  • Getting money...

    In the past, it used to be a nightmare of carrying AMEX traveler's cheques, and, finding a bank that was willing to cash them. Not only that, you had to get to that bank at the same time the one and only banking guy that did traveler's cheques was there.

    No more.

    Bank of China (and only Bank of China at this time) will accept international ATM cards at their ATM machines. All of them. Including the one Bank of China at the main intersection in Dengfeng. The limit in Dengfeng is 2000 Yuan a day; sometimes the ATM machine runs out of money, so you might have to wait a day. IN the Beijing airport, make sure you go upstairs to Departures, to find the ATM machine. You have a higher limit at that one. In Beijing, any BOC ATM will give you money if you have a valid ATM card, with the usual appendages, STAR, PLUS, MASTERCARD, etc.

    I find this to be an easier, and more reliable way of traveling China. I also usually carry a two to three thousand USD in cash with me, as a "security backup". I don't do traveler's cheques no more.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  • #2
    Traveler's cheques used to be the way to carry money safely. Now it depends where you go. A couple of years ago I could not find any place in a huge international city like Manila to cash a traveler's cheque! They were concerned about counterfeits. Out in the provinces I found a bank that after an immense amount of paper work would allow me to cash cheques. Carry cash strapped to your body somewhere!

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    • #3
      ATM clarification

      An important point.

      Only the Bank of China has ATM's that will work with overseas ATM cards

      Your ATM card should have the PLUS symbol on the back of it. If it does, it should work.

      The Bank of China ATM's also accept ATM cards that have the Mastercard, Visa, Star, and some other symbols that I cannot remember. However, this is no guarantee that they will work. I've heard reports from people who have had problems with these types of cards.

      So, make sure, if you're going to China, that you have an ATM card from a very large and respected bank in your country, and that it is part of the PLUS system. It should work.

      Do not expect to get money from credit card advances in the Bank of China Dengfeng branch. You won't.

      You can get credit card advances from Mastercard and Visa from the Bank of China, the branch that is in the embassy district. American Express is not an easy thing to get advances from in China.

      Do not expect to be able to pay for things with credit cards in Dengfeng. You won't. Period. Cash talks. Credit cards walk in Dengfeng.

      You can use your credit cards in the larger cities of China, like Zengzhou, or Beijing, in restaurants and hotels. But not in Dengfeng.

      You're in another world in Dengfeng. Prepare wisely.
      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

      (more comments in my User Profile)
      russbo.com


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      • #4
        U.S. $ & non-citizens

        Survived another trip to the Philippines. I don't know about the rest of Asia but in the Philippines my sister-in-law found out that any & all U.S. bills printed in 1996 were not accepted by ANY moneychanger or bank. No explanation given (of course).

        Also a note to any one living in the U.S.A. who is not a citizen and traveling. Again my sister-in-law, who has been a nurse in New York for 20 years but never bothered to get her citizenship and so is traveling on a Philippine passport. She arrived at the Manila airport to return home to the States and found she was unable. Post 9-11 she needs a 'Boarding Letter' from the U.S. Embassy which requires 3 pictures (don't remember the fee) and takes 10 days to process. Basically it is a background security check to make sure you're not a terrorist.
        Check with Consulates to make sure you have ALL the documents you will need when traveling!

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        • #5
          One bit of new news about Deng Feng and fees while traveling in the area. The cost of the buses to and from Zheng Zhou used to be anywhere from 8 yuan to 15 yuan depending on the season and weather and teh whim of the ticket seller...Mostly you paid about 10 yuan. The new freeway that opened is now a higher toll rate. The old toll rate was only 20 yuan for the busses and now is 50 yuan for the busses. The price of the new freeway construction was then passed on the the passengers ticket prices. The tickets to and from Zheng Zhou from Deng Feng will cost you about 19 to 20 yuan to go and about 18 to 20 yuan to return to Deng Feng. In addition they have reduced the amount of small motorcylce taxis on the streets in an effort to do away with them... They are still running but the police are watching them heavily now so they are less likely to want to bargin for a cheaper rate. They will charge a foreignor anywhere from 3 yuan to 5 yuan when it should be about 2 yuan. Just be prepared.

          WHen taking cash form the atm machine in Deng Feng you are limited on a credit card or debit card to only 2000 yuan a day and the bank will not increase that amount. You would need to go to Zheng Zhou to take more than the 2000 yuan a day and you can not make multiple transactions in one day. In addition if there are more then 3 people standing in line for teh atm machine dont use it. Wait until there are no people or only one person. The cameras that are in the atm machine are geared to watch for more than 3 or 4 people at a atm machine and in an effort for saftey the machine will eat your card and you will have to go inside the bank and ask for the card to be given back. Just be aware of this. It is in an effort to stop people from robbing you.

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          • #6
            Great update, thanks. Will most probably be over there soon. Glad that highway's done, that other road eventually became a nightmare.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)
            russbo.com


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            • #7
              Well the old road is still there and some of the smaller local buses still use it and it is still a nightmare but not for the longer distance traveler. Also the new road is not as dusty from all teh construction. IN the two years I have been here that old raod has been torn up and relaid twice. The new road is given to a very scenice route. It takes you through the mountain scenery rather than the stone quarrie and mining sites that most people would not expect to see on their way to Shaolin Temple. You have this long stretch of road where there are signs pointing to SHaolin Temple. The signs are english and chinese so that is great and they have been lanscaping it all along the way. The mountain like walls have outlines of pictures that will be painted on them. Big murals of Shaolin Temple Main gate and the pagoda forest and the 18 stances of lohan.

              Enjoy the trip and stop by if you liek while you are in Deng Feng...Just drop me an email to let me know you are in the area...A mi tou fou. xing rui

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              • #8
                is it safe to pull out that amount of money anywhre? 2000 yuan? and...what is the best way to learn the chinese money system. what it looks like and what equals what?

                I will have to carry a calculator wiht me..hehehehe

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                • #9
                  It's about eight Yuan to the dollar. Easy division. One hundred Yuan is twelve bucks. About the cost of a massage for an hour with an FLW.
                  Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                  "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                  (more comments in my User Profile)
                  russbo.com


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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=doc] I also usually carry a two to three thousand USD in cash with me, as a "security backup". QUOTE]

                    Are you CRAZY??!!! Oh that's right , you're just 7 + ft . For the rest of us mere mortals, this is a stoopid, stoopid idea!!! The whoile bag slit and steal in any of the numerous crowds you find yourself in in any town at all in China could leave a person seriously screwed!!! There are those very fashionabley uncool money belts though I guess and if you have a knapsack, you always have the option to wear it on your front.
                    Bank of China let me draw up to Y5000 a day ( including other eftpos transactions which if you find facility for, let us all know , because truly folks, you have no idea what a b*tch that is.......................)

                    If you get really stuck, at the long distance metro ( train station) there is an atm machine that accepts most western cards and has the best limit I've seen anywhere. The agriculture bank ( or the other one that sounds really really close to that name ( lol) , has the same facility.

                    Credit cards are hassel really IMo although accepted just a little more widey than your national bank debt card. An average conversion rate for one Rinimbi ( RMB / Yuan / Chinese dollar ) is about 8.6 US $ for 1 rmb ( or 8.6 rmb for 1 US$ ) and then around 5.6 most days for an Australian one . There are black markets you can trade your dollars on for better rates in the backs of supermarkets etc and some travel agents will do the same trick for you. Just make sure you remember who's hustling whom and you should be peachy . Keep your cash away from your main compartment ( and the underwear / boxer / judd stunt will do just fine )


                    Gotta run so cheers

                    Bl
                    "honestly girls dont seem to want anything other then whatever they want "atm" then that can always change:"
                    maestro's love genius.

                    first we work to live, then we live to work, ..& then when someone else can do it good enough without us - we can all run off and die.
                    Blooming tianshi lotus

                    "find something & thatd turn me on.." drahillionaire, warren buffet.

                    'if you keep going, eventually you get there' chuck norris

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                    • #11
                      I have a few other questions though and hope you could indulge a bit more if you have the leisure. would you recommend travelers checks or credit cards for hotels and cab fare or cash for everything (that's alot to carry) do you take all your stuff with you i.e. money passport when you leave the room?
                      The last time I used Travelers Cheques was about five years ago.

                      In Dengfeng, quite the nightmare. Yes, it's "safer", to a point, but, not really worth the headache in my opinion. And, if you lost the damn things, I really don't know where you would take care of that issue in the Shaolin area.

                      Years ago, you could only cash the Travelers Cheques at one bank (Bank of China), on a certain day, with a certain guy, who, always seemed to be at lunch or on vacation. Get the idea?

                      Around that time, the Bank of China's ATM machine started accepting international ATM cards. Now, using an ATM card from the Credit Union of Podunk Kansas might not work, but using an ATM card, with all the usual insignia's on the back (Cirrhus, Star, etc), from a large western bank will work. All the Bank of China's have ATM's, and they all accept generally accepted ATM cards. Don't bother with some of the other banks in China; they are, at least as of last year, not as sophisticated. This is the best way.

                      Also, as a backup, bring a Mastercard from a reputable bank, and make sure that you have a cash advance limit that you can draw from, as a backup.

                      Bringing cash is not really an issue. I've never felt threatened in China (then again, I never feel threatened anywhere I go); China is a very safe place to visit. But, there are poor people, and, though not related, bad people, and theft does occur. Don't be stupid with your money, wearing a waist wallet is not a bad idea. Also, keep a copy of your passport on you, and a copy at home, that can be faxed to you in case you lose your real one.

                      I keep my valuables (passport and money) locked in my non-assuming backpack, which, now that I've mentioned this to the world, I guess is not so non-assuming. Some hotels have safe's and safe deposit boxes.

                      Changing money is not really a problem. I can sometimes get much better change rates through friends on the street in Dengfeng than I can in local banks.

                      So, a good ATM card, a good Mastercard with cash advance set up (AMEX is not as accepted in China), some Traveler's Cheques to use solely as an emergency to get you home, and well protected and hidden cash.
                      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                      (more comments in my User Profile)
                      russbo.com


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                      • #12
                        is it safe anywhere else?

                        if you go loaded with cash - even after an atm withdrawal- where do you keep it while you're practicing? is your backpack safe in your room or do you have to take that everywhere too?

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                        • #13
                          Your backpack is not safe in your room. I keep mine padlocked, strictly as a deterrent (it won't keep anyone out if they really wanted to get into it, but it will keep curious maids from looking in it). You can carry your cash in a waist belt, or a necklace thingie. I keep my cash in my wallet, where I won't forget where I keep it. And when I train, which is usually out in the woods, I put it in my backpack which I bring with me, to carry water and small training weapons, etc. Hauling a little backpack around is not an issue; I actually prefer to do so, one with the little mesh pockets on the outside that you can put bottles of water in. I also have a bright yellow one, which is easily visible, and which I would notice if it "disappeared".

                          No reason to carry a lot of cash with you if you have ATM access. The ATM machines usually have money. There will be times when they'll be empty in Dengfeng, or out of service. But, remember, it doesn't cost much to live and eat there. No need to carry huge amounts with you.

                          BTW, the ATM's there, uh, obviously, disperse Yuan, not USD. Your bank back in the US will convert it, based upon the rate of that day, and will probably hit you with a service charge that might be considerably more than the few dollars that you get hit with here in the US (when using a non-branch ATM).
                          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                          (more comments in my User Profile)
                          russbo.com


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                          • #14
                            budget

                            what's a good round figure for a daily budget not necessarily including the cost for a school? are some of the schools cool with someone just checking them out for a day or are they real sensitive to that kind of evaluation? will they rent a room or only for attending students? I just want to check them out - looking at ~ twenty day stay. recommendations for lodging welcome - both on what to avoid and what to look for- thanks.

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                            • #15
                              A good round figure, provided that you've already paid the school for food, training, and lodging, and, provided that, you're keeping the nightly tributes to the ladies to a nil figure, would be a few dollars. For water.

                              I was always keen on getting massages and watermelon. Watermelon, to replenish myself, and massages, to, unreplenish myself. Figure, oh, ten bucks for a good two hour massage. And for watermelons, I never kept track of those. They're pretty cheap.

                              The nice thing about the ladies in Dengfeng, is that they tend to be ugly, which, makes you focus on your training. And, if you ever found one that was cute, which I did, since you can't talk to them, you don't take them out, and therefore, focus on your training. The end result of all of this, is that you don't spend money.

                              Simple.
                              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                              "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                              (more comments in my User Profile)
                              russbo.com


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