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Hong Kong Money and Costs

Money

Cash/Currency - The basic unit of currency in the colony is the Hong Kong dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. Three local banks, the HongKong and Shanghai Banking Coropration, Bank of China and the Standard Chartered Bank, issue versions of their own notes in denominations of HK$10, HK$20, HK$50, HK$100, HK$500 and HK$1000.

As for coin, theyre minted in England in bronze for HK$0.10, HK$0.20, and HK$0.50 pieces and in silver for HK$1, HK$2, and HK$5. In 1995 new HK$10 coins were issued; they will gardually replace the HK$10 note.

Throughout Hong Kong youll see the dollar sign ("$"), which of course refers to Hong Kong Dollars, not U.S. dollars.

Credit Cards

MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted.

Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Traveler Checks

If you want to pay with cash rather than credit cards, your money is safest in travelers checks, which will be replaced if lost or stolen; travelers checks can be readily exchanged for Hong Kong dollars at banks, hotels, and currency-exchange offices (banks provide the most avorable rates).

Travelers checks also entails a slightly better exchange rate than cash. For one thing, shops, restaurants, and hotels are not as willing to accept travels checks for payment as they are in, say, the United states.

Secondly, you can use leftover travels checks in Hong Kong dollars much either be reconverted (which is not financially advantageous, because you lose money with each conversion) or saved for future trips to Hong Kong.

Tipping

Even though restaurants and bars will automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill, youre still expected to leave small change for the waiter.

A general rule of thumb is to leave 5%, but in most Chinese restaurants where meals are usually inexpensive its acceptable to leave change up to HK$5. In the finest restaurants you should leave 10%.

You also expected to tip taxi drivers, bellboys, barbers, and beauticians. For taxi drivers, simply round up your bill to the nearest HK$1 or add a HK$1 tip.

Tip people who cut your hair 5% or 10%, and give billboy HK$10 to HK$20, depending on the number of your bags.

If you use a public restroom with an attendant, you may be expected to leave a small gratuity-HK$2 should be enough. In addition, chambermaids and room attendants are usually given about 2% of the room charge.