China Travel Money Guide

Everything about Chinese currency

China is a vibrant country, full of amazing food, distinct architecture and sites rich in cultural and historical significance. Attracting over 140 million tourists each year, China is truly a destination hotspot.

Among one of the most open markets in the world and one of the largest trading nations; money plays an integral part in how Chinese society operates. In China, the currency used is the Yuan (CNY), which has been the term used since China was a monarchy. The Yuan is a division of the official Chinese currency, which is called the Renminbi (RMB).

Although the Yuan and Renminbi are interchangeable terms, generally speaking the Chinese RMB is used for domestic transactions within China, whereas the CNY is used for international transactions.

  • Currency: yuan and renminbi
  • Currency code: CNY and RMB
  • Central Bank: The People's Bank of China (PBOC)
  • Currency symbol: ¥ (yuan)
  • Currency sub unit: 角 (jiao)
  • Bank notes: ¥0.1, ¥0.2, ¥0.5, ¥1, ¥2, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50 and ¥100
  • Coins: ¥0.01, ¥0.02, ¥0.05, ¥0.1, ¥0.5 and ¥1

The official currency of China is often represented as CNY and interchangeable with RMB.

The most frequently used notes are the 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 CNY. Whereas the 2 yuan note and the jiao notes are rarely used.

Denominations in China

Having a rough idea of the currency appearances and value separations can come in handy when traveling through various parts of China. CNY is available in both banknotes and coins.

Chinese bank notes

¥ 1 - these are yellow

¥ 5 - these are purple

¥ 10 - these are blue

¥ 20 - these are brown

¥ 50 - these are green (distinct from the 1¥ as this note features an image of Tibet's Potala Palace on the reverse)

¥ 100 - these are red

1 - these are brown

2 - these are green

5 - these are purple

Chinese Coins

The available coins are: 1¥, 1角 and 5角

Chinese Coins and Notes

In China, banknotes are used more frequently than coins because of convenience. However, the frequency of usage of coins varies between different parts of the country. Typically, coins are more popular in urban areas where vending machines are used, whereas small notes are used more frequently in rural areas.

Although Chinese residents are leaning towards card and online payment methods, as a tourist, ensure you have CNY prior to your holiday or are planning to exchange your AUD cash for CNY upon arrival. This will ensure that you can have the best trip and experience all the country has to offer with ease.

Whether your Chinese holiday is filled with shopping, eating or exploring you'll need to have some cash on hand.

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sign with an airplane symbol and the words welcome to China

A round trip from Australia to China can be purchased from upwards of $500, depending on peak travel times. Comparing different airlines and seasons of travel is the best method when trying to find the best price. Try to also book your Chinese holiday in advance so you can add on even more savings.

How much does it cost to travel in China?

Below, we cover the average costs of food, transport, and entertainment activities in China.

chinese noodle dish
China food costs

Food in China varies in price depending on the dish and in which area of China you purchase the meal. Below are the average prices for some of the most popular dishes enjoyed in China.

Foods in ChinaAverage Cost in CNY
Peking roast duck120 to 300 yuan
Meat and rice dish15 to 20 yuan
Baijiu (the Chinese national drink)20 to 2500 yuan
Milk tea18 yuan

China transport costs

Both private and public transport costs in China will vary. Below is the price range you can expect for standard transport options.

Transport in ChinaAverage Cost in Yuan
Bus2 to 3 yuan per trip
Metro (single ticket)5 to 15 yuan
Bullet train350 to 1,400 yuan
Taxi (first 3 km)8 to 13 yuan
chinese bullet train quay

chinese forbidden city
Activity prices in China

China is a great place to see many historical and cultural sites, they also have their fair share of fun family activities; some of which include:

Entertainment Activities in ChinaAverage Cost in yuan
The Great Wall (one day tour)500 to 1,000 yuan
The Forbidden City40 to 60 yuan
Disneyland Shanghai500 to 900 yuan

China visa costs

For a single-entry visa, it costs $109.50 AUD (including GST) per passport holder. This visa allows individuals to stay for a duration of 30 days from the date of entrance into China, and it is then possible to extend this stay if a travel plan has been approved.

sign in chinese sayingforeign curency exchange

If you opt to exchange money upon arrival in China, the first thing you'll need to do is make sure you have Australian dollars in cash. Also remember to bring along your passport so you can identify yourself and exchange your cash as smoothly as possible.

When exchanging your cash ensure you find an institution with the sign shown on the image.
This will ensure that your money exchange is safe and secure.

The full list of Chinese Travelex retailers can be found here. View Store List