Money and Red Bean Buns

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Wednesday, May 21, 2003

A quick visit to the local money changer this morning confirmed my belief that it is always cheaper to convert your currency outside the UK. My advice would be to bring enough local currency from the UK for your first couple of days and then bring the rest of the money you were planning to convert as Sterling travellers cheques and/or cash. This can then be converted at a much better rate locally. I made a saving of about RM50 which isn't a lot by UK standards but worth five days rent here. So what did I do with all this local a bank account of course.

It's very easy to open cash card current accounts here, the only documentation I needed was my passport and there was no minimum opening balance. I did not need to supply a local address and the bank confirmed that they would not need to ever send me any mail. I got my ATM card and PIN within five minutes of making my first deposit and the whole process took less than twenty minutes - they even fill out the application forms for you!

I was upfront about the fact that I would only be using the account for a short time while travelling around Malaysia and they said it was fine, and when I wanted to close the account all I had to do was withdraw all the money and they would know that I wanted it closed. And the charge for this service? RM8 per year but in my case only RM1. [*UPDATE* RHB have debited RM8 from my account but it's understandable seeing as I have been using the account for more than one month which is what I originally told them]

Good value for money seeing as I can now withdraw daily amounts of cash without building up charges in my UK bank account.

On the way to this internet cafe this evening I tried my first Red Bean Bun. Imagine a small bun filled with a sweet red kidney bean paste. It sounds horrible but tastes fantastic!
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