Just a quick question. I'm planning a short trip to Laos, flying into Vientiane and working my way up back into China overland. I've been told that I can exchange RMB into Lao Kip near the border, but is this possible in Vientiane? That is, is it possible without being terribly ripped off by a less-than-reputable vendor? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
when i was in Vientiane recently, i found it less than straightforward to change yuan into kip, as the many exchange kiosks don't deal in yuan. i eventually found a Chinese-run guesthouse business that gave me an acceptable rate. one of the douchebags at Salvador's :P tells me the trick is to ask at the internet cafes, which are apparently all run by Chinese people.
in Luang Prabang, there's a Chinese-language sign on the main tourist strip that advertises money exchange. one problem that you might run into is people saying they've 'run out of kip'. on your way out of Laos, there's plenty of money changers on the Mohan side, should you need to offload any remaining kip.
one way to reduce your hassles might be to go buy USD at the Bank of China here. i hear that is now much easier, after many years of it being like getting blood from a stone.
I am planning a trip to Vientiane, visa run. You can buy $500USD per day at the Bank of China downtown on Dongfeng Xi Lu. No questions asked and it is simple. Bring your passport, RMB, and fill out a form, it has English labels for the stuff they want to know. Normal questions.
If you changed USD to RMB, like using your US ATM card in Kunming, and have the ATM receipts, you can buy USD up to the value of receipts. I got $2,400 in one trip a few months back.
Check the USD you get carefully. Give back any worn, wrinkled, old or defaced bills. Hard to unload them for kip, baht, dong or yuan.
Thank you guys, this is extremely useful.
I guess NO Kip you can get from the Bank, you can get USD/EUR/GBP/CHF/AUD/HKD...But no kips,yes,Geezer is very helpful.Check the money you get.
Above advice is fine, although I thought I saw Yuan on the noticeboards on the moneychangers in Vientiane (just check and if they don't accept them, find another moneychanger or guesthouse or internet cafe as above posters have suggested). I've changed numerous currencies in Vientiane before, but Yuan was never one of them since I'd never previously visited China before now.