Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can I use US dollars in Hong Kong?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 23 October 2012
Q. I am planning to spend three days in Hong Kong as part of a longer trip. Can I use US dollars or must I get Hong Kong dollars?
A. The US dollar remains the leading global currency. In many locations - such as parts of Latin America or Africa - you could get on just fine with American dollars. But the Hong Kong dollar is up there with the Swiss franc and the Norwegian krone as a strong and independent currency - and just as it would be unusual and problematic to try to use US dollars in Zurich or Oslo, so too you would have difficulties spending US$ in Hong Kong.
Happily, changing sterling for Hong Kong dollars is very straightforward, with reasonable rates at the airport and healthy competition among moneychangers at street level. The rate you should aim for is HK$12 for each pound.
You should find that Hong Kong is excellent value. Any spare HK$ should be changed before you leave the former colony, because you will get better rates there than in Britain.
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