The dollar in Chennai

#1 Jul 16th, 2009, 18:43
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#1
Dear All,

Just a quick currency question.

Can you buy things in dollars in Chennai? Most countries I have lived in you could use the local currency or dollars for more expensive items. If you can, do you get a fair exchange rate in shops. If not, can you exchange dollars easily and do you get a good rate of exchange?

Thanks

GG
#2 Jul 16th, 2009, 19:53
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#2
In most places in Chennai, the dollar will be useless.

Some exceptions may be areas like Burma Bazaar etc, but there is no premium on the dollar any more- at one time it was twenty percent or more (long ago.)

Money changers or banks that change money are not as ubiquitous as in South East or East Asia. It is advisable to change a fair amount for use each time, unless, of course, a moneychanger is conveniently located close to where you are/pass daily.
#3 Jul 16th, 2009, 20:42
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#3
I'd say that the poorest exchange rate you will get for any other currency is from shops. Change your money (or draw from an ATM) and spend rupees!
#4 Jul 16th, 2009, 21:16
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#4
Best place for exchange I have found is Camera Citi on Cathedral Road... http://www.cameraciti.com/index.html don't be fooled, they sell cameras AND have 3 tellers for money exchange, good rates...

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#5 Jul 16th, 2009, 21:27
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I agree with ArjunaWeeping...great place for exchange.
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#6 Jul 16th, 2009, 21:28
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#6
Thanks a lot to everyone who answered. I think I'll just change what dollars I have before I get to Chennai.
#7 Jul 20th, 2009, 04:48
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#7
I would recommend you convert your currency either from the place you are coming from or at the airport while landing. And there are plenty of Currency Exchange places dotted around the city. Places that accept foreign currency are very few and rare, with the exception of hotels and there's a good chance that you'd be cheated if you do try to pay in dollars

Ram Kumar
#8 Jul 20th, 2009, 05:03
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#8
Seldom a good idea to buy rupees outside of India.

It is actually illegal for non-residents to take them in and out of the country. You won't be braking the law by buying them, but you will by bringing them in. Will anyone care about a small amount? I doubt it, but I also doubt that you will have got a good deal on them!
#9 Jul 20th, 2009, 05:07
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#9
(sheepishly grins) Er, yes. Forgot about that little clause in the law. So, I'd recommend exchanging it here at the airport when you land
#10 Jul 20th, 2009, 05:09
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#10
Do you know if they give decent rates?

Being a resident, I have no idea.

Generally, though, one needs to get at least the cost of the taxi ride when one gets here.
#11 Jul 20th, 2009, 05:19
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#11
To extrapolate on what Nick said, most of the things in Chennai that you may find need/use for are things whose prices are pre-arranged. By that, I mean, accommodation, food, consumer goods etc have a price tag attached to them and buying/using them needs no prior information.
However, transportation will remain your biggest hassle especially when it comes to auto rickshaws, which I'd earnestly encourage you to avoid. Stick to pre-paid taxis if you arent familiar with the lay of the land or the language
#12 Jul 20th, 2009, 07:24
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#12
Are we talking American Dollars?.
A really bad exchange rate.
In hotels, it's about twenty five rupees to the dollar. Atm is the way to go.

I just bought some rupees in Australia from my bank. It's through American Express foreign exchange. They give a good exchange rate. It was just so I didn't have to hassle for an ATM when arriving at midnight.
The trouble is that I had to buy at least $500 worth.
Which is a bit.
About 20,000 rupees.

They told me it's okay as long as they put the paper work in to say I've bought them.

I doubt twenty thousand is seen as a huge amount.!!
#13 Jul 20th, 2009, 14:05
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#13
Quote:
They told me it's okay as long as they put the paper work in to say I've bought them.
Rubbish! Whilst a small place might not be expected to know the FE laws of every country in the world, better might be expected of American Express. They are badly misleading their customers.

Indian residents may carry up to 5,000, so 20,000 is four times the legal limit. Yes, it is quite a big amount

Anyway... don't worry about it!
#14 Jul 20th, 2009, 15:25
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post Indian residents may carry up to 5,000, so 20,000 is four times the legal limit. Yes, it is quite a big amount

Anyway... don't worry about it!
Ummm Indian residents may carry up to 5000 of which currency and under what circumstances? cause he bought only US$500 worth of indian money.

Actually last i remembered reading the rules allowed Indians to use up to US$100000 for any permissible uses in a calander year, dunno if this was amended seeing our dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
#15 Jul 20th, 2009, 16:01
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#15
Quote:
Ummm Indian residents may carry up to 5000 of which currency and under what circumstances?
Rupees --- which is the currency we were talking about.

We are not talking about foreign currency, but for travellers, I think the limit for undeclared foreign currency is $10,000. You can bring in more if you declare it.

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