Zhongdian Draughting Holes 2006 Expedition Info for members
Info for members:Here are some pdf files for you to print out:
Expedition datesWe will meet in Kunming on February 3, 2006. We'll leave Kunming on February 25.
Chinese money is RMB (Renminbi: 'the people's money'). Very rough conversion rates are: US$1 = RMB 8; UK£1 = RMB 12.
1RMB is called a 'Yuan'. Smaller units are jiao ('mao' in spoken Chinese) and fen. 1 Yuan = 10 jiao = 100 fen.
You can buy Chinese currency using Visa or traveller's cheques when you cross the border/land in Kunming. Keep the exchange memo they give you (at least on one occasion), if you want to be able to change anything back. (Make sure you get quite a few small notes (1Y, 2Y, 5Y) when you change money - Kunming buses, for instance, don't give change, and even where change is in principle on offer, people probably won't have as much change as you'll otherwise be needing.)
Eventually, you'll need enough RMB to cover your in-country transport to and from Zhongdian (see 'travel'), living costs in Zhongdian and any souvenirs etc. There's a bank in Zhongdian that accepts both travellers' cheques (US$ or Sterling) and Visa (on the right days, at the right times, and when it feels like opening at all); it's worth having both cheques and plastic, for added flexibility. In Kunming, you can change travellers' cheques at the main branch of the Bank of China on Beijing Lu; several major banks accept Visa. I imagine you can change whatever you like at Kunming airport (but I've never tried).
Mandarin is spoken throughout Yunnan. Many of the locals in the Zhongdian area are bilingual in Mandarin and Tibetan.
Very few people speak English, but you can get by across the language barrier with a bit of patience and ingenuity.
If you're trying to communicate in Chinese and you have the phrase you're trying to say written in Chinese script, showing people the written characters will usually be much more effective than trying to pronounce the Chinese.