Anyone know of someplace in Kunming where I can exchange RMB/USD for Vietnamese Dong? I checked the Bank of China on Beijing Lu/Renmin Lu which was where everyone told me I could do it, but they said their bank didn't carry Vietnamese currency. Any help is appreciated.
(i know you asked about places in Kunming, but) if you're going to Vietnam through Hekou, there's a chap who hangs out at the bus station (i think his name is Li) who'll sort you out. pretty sure he speaks some English, should that be necessary.
You can use a Chinese bank card in Vietnam: Hanoi, Nha Trang, Dalat, Saigon or else go to the Bank of China in Kunming and change your RMB for dollars if you don't like taking the 2% on ATM fees in Vietnam. Since the Chinese is importing so many dollars from their trade surplus, they no longer care about surrendering RMB for dollars.
@hedgepig, yep, I've met that guy at the bus station in Hekou, which is only about a minutes' walk from Chinese immigration before the bridge. That guy speaks very good English, but his exchange rates are a bit on the low side; only exchange small amounts with him since you can easily exchange Yuan in most cities in Vietnam. If you are travelling overland from Kunming, just exchange your Yuan to Dong in Lao Cai - you won't need to pay for anything before you reach a currency exchange facility anyway, and even if you do (for example to pay for a taxi, either pay in Yuan or ask the driver to wait for you to exchange money somewhere near the Lao Cai train station). The exchange rates in Lao Cai are better than across the border in Hekou, China anyway, although the Bank of China branch in Hekou might also be able to help you out with purchasing Dong - in any case, I normally only exchange Yuan to Dong or vice versa within Vietnam itself; there is simply no need to do it any other way.
Bank of China Hekou branch. Heard they handle dong :)
Really Dan? When I went to Bank of China in Hekou, they emphatically said they do not handle dong. They said dong are not legally exchangeable in China. I remember quite clearly as I got into an argument about the illogic of not changing the currency of the country that town shares a border with. Go figure
There are plenty of ATMs in Lao Cai. And plenty of moneychangers on either side of the border. In my experience, the moneychangers on the Chinese side offer better rates.