Asia Hong Kong International Travel Thoughts

Hong Kong Money is So Unnecessarily Complicated

We made it!
We made it!

I’ve realized that dealing with a toddler, especially a jet lagged one, renders my “live” trip report near impossible. Even when I find the time, I’m too tired to go through all that effort.

BUT – I still can post some random thoughts quickly. We’ve made it safely to Hong Kong, though not without a bit of excitement. It’s been about six hours and I can honestly say it’s good to be back. For those who’ve never been, it’s kind of like New York on steroids with tons of more people and a lot more Chinese characters (both the language and the humans).

Cash is ordered from big to small - literally. I mean, I guess that's useful?
Cash is ordered from big to small – literally. I mean, I guess that’s useful?

What I’d forgotten about Hong Kong money (cash tender) is how unnecessarily complicated it can be. I was distributing cash between myself and Jess (as I do in every new city) and I was just blown away by the number, sizes, and shapes of the bills. I always forget it’s like this here.

So the money is made in all sorts of shapes and sizes, issued by different banks, plus coins, plus coins with frills, plus the old money, plus newly issued money, plus oh my gosh my wallet looks like it threw up on itself and it’s only been a few hours.

Case in point: here are three different twenty dollar bills.

Three different twenty dollar bills - why!?
Three different twenty dollar bills – why!?

Like – why? These bills represent two different bills issued by HSBC and one by Standard Chartered. And it’s not just the twenties – every single bill has multiple issues. It’s crazy. The color scheme is pretty standard, and I guess the different sizes help, but why!?

I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the bigger bills don’t even fit in Jess’ wallet.

Then there’s stuff like the 2 dollar coins, which are cool looking despite their unnecessary looking fringe. And then there are the < 1 dollar cent pieces! It’s enough to drive me crazy.

2 dollar coin
2 dollar coin

Of course, you’re probably asking why I’m using cash at all. Mostly because we were just tired and I was feeling lazy and because I had some. But I’m thinking of just loading the majority of my cash onto my Octopus card and calling it a day.

The Octopus card is so easy I might (gasp) rely on it more than my CC here
The Octopus card is so easy I might (gasp) rely on it more than my CC here

Actually, maybe the government doesn’t want us to use cash. If that’s the case, then I guess their funny money makes more sense. It’s just so weird to me, Hong Kong has one of the most developed economies in the world but the most badly designed (to me) cash system. Or maybe I’m just too dumb to get it.

Joe
Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less
http://www.asthejoeflies@gmail.com

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