Hong Kong Dollar - HKD
Those living in Hong Kong use the Hong Kong dollar as their known currency. The currency is pegged to the US dollar and is one of the most commonly traded currencies in the world, appearing in the top ten in this sense.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are seven coins for the Hong Kong dollar. In common with other dollar currencies they are in dollars and cents. There are three valued in cents – the 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. A further four coins are of dollar value – the one, two, five and ten dollar coins. The twenty cent coin and the two dollar coin both have a wavy edge, whereas all the others appear as perfectly round coins.
As far as the banknotes are concerned, you will find five in general circulation. These are the $10, $20, $50, $100 and $150 notes. There are a further two that have been released as commemorative issues, which are the $500 and the $1,000 notes.
The interesting thing to note about the Hong Kong dollar currency is that it is not issued by a central bank as is the case for most other countries. In Hong Kong three banks have the go ahead to issue the currency. Ironically enough the UK also has this setup – a fact few people in the UK are aware of.
From past to present – the history of the Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar is some 150 years old now, having been originally issued in the 1860s. Before this a number of different currencies were used to trade with. These included many currencies that were used by those who came to the port of Hong Kong to trade their wares.
While the Hong Kong mint was responsible for issuing the currency initially, this arrangement did not last long. In fact it only lasted until 1868, because this was the year that the Hong Kong mint went out of business with a six figure loss to its name.
This was not the end of the currency though. It went through a number of rocky years where other currencies were used once again, although some people were still looking to bring in the Hong Kong dollar in a more official capacity. This did not occur until 1935, when finally the Hong Kong dollar became the only officially recognised currency in use here. It had taken a long time, but it had finally come to pass.
How to get hold of Hong Kong dollars
Today it is rather easier to get your hands on Hong Kong dollars than it was prior to 1935! As one of the most frequently traded currencies around today, you can easily order it through your chosen bureau de change. You can do this at the airport before boarding your flight but it is usually better to order it and collect it in advance of travel. You can also order it online and have it delivered to your home, or collect it from a pre-agreed bureau de change at the airport if this service is offered.
You can also get your dollars quite easily when you get to Hong Kong itself. This is an advanced part of the world so cash points are easy to find, particularly in major areas. Credit cards are also readily accepted, although some stores and outlets do not accept American Express. Always check before attempting to pay.
When getting cash out of an ATM you will notice the notes you are given tend to be of the highest denominations. This can be inconvenient when it comes to paying for goods, so get change for the notes as soon as you can. Traveller’s cheques are also welcomed in Hong Kong, which means you may not have to take as much cash with you. They are generally safer to carry around too. You can simply cash them in whenever you need more money.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Hong Kong dollar
This is easy to do – simply go online and check the latest rates. Remember though that a simple comparison using a currency converter won’t include any fees you would pay for exchanging the actual banknotes to take on holiday. This means you can only get a realistic exchange rate from a bureau de change or website that actually sells the currency to you in exchange for your own.
It’s worth remembering also that a 0% commission offer will hide the commission in the exchange rate itself. As such you should always compare the rates to see which ones really do pan out to be the best.
Those wanting to learn more about Hong Kong should visit the Chinese Embassy website at http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk.
Travelling safely with Hong Kong dollars
The best news about Hong Kong is that it is a relatively safe place to visit. There is always the outside chance of having your pockets picked or falling for a scam, but by and large the people are lovely and you should be fine. As is the case in many other parts of the world, those looking to pick pockets will go for the easy targets. Make sure you don’t offer them one.
Where to spend your dollars in Hong Kong – and what to spend them on
When it comes to spending money in Hong Kong you will find the process very easy indeed. In fact you could end up spending more than you bargained for – it is a very tempting place to be! It is particularly well known for great electrical goods of all kinds, and they are a lot cheaper than you would buy them at home. There is a wide range of differently priced goods here as well, so whether you want the best quality stereo or simply an entry level model, you will always find exactly what you are looking for.
One thing to be aware of however is the challenge of taking home everything you buy. This is a problem that can occur on any holiday to any part of the world. However because Hong Kong prices are so cheap for the most part, many people take full advantage of it. It can backfire on you if you have to buy more suitcases and pay extra fees to get everything back home though, so keep this in mind.
While there are major stores all round Hong Kong you will also see lots of street markets. These are amazing and well worth browsing when you have the time. Some of the market traders will offer discounts on their goods so if you are willing to ask for one it is worth a try. You won’t always get the desired result but the traders will not take it personally if you ask as they are used to it. You will notice most people are very polite and courteous and you should be the same, regardless of whether you get the discount or not!
When you visit Hong Kong you will notice it is a vibrant and intense place to be. Indeed, some people who visit end up feeling like they need another holiday when they return home. It is a very ‘full on’ kind of place – the type that will wear out some people more than others. However if you are keen on enjoying vibrant places with lots to offer in the way of sights, sounds and things to see and do, this is definitely the place for you.
One of the best parts about visiting Hong Kong is the food. While some destinations provide expensive food or little choice, you won’t experience any of these problems in Hong Kong. The one thing you might struggle with is choosing what on earth you will eat. There is so much choice here you will never eat the same thing twice unless you want to. From expensive high end restaurants to the cheapest street traders, tasty and mouth watering food awaits you wherever you go.
The early days of the currency may have been rocky, to say the least. However the currency is now exchanged daily by the hundreds of thousands of people who use it. Travellers enjoy spending it on food and goods for sale in Hong Kong, and when you visit for yourself you will see it is no wonder it changes hands so readily.
While you shouldn’t carry too much cash around on your person, you should be prepared to part with it readily. There is simply too much to tempt you into spending money here! Whatever your reason might be for visiting Hong Kong you will find it hard not to spend on some of the amazing bargains and tasty dishes that are set out on every street corner to tempt you. This is how it seems, and you will love this experience for sure. This is one part of the world that is ready to show you how amazing it really is.