Thursday, April 28, 2016

Money in Mongolia

I haven't seen any coin money here in Mongolia at all. Even the smallest denominations are represented by paper money. There are about 2000 Mongolian Tugriks to the dollar, and I have seen bills for as low as 10 Tugriks, which would be about half a cent. Whenever anyone gives you change, they seem to want to get rid of as many small bills as they can (e.g., rather than give you a 1000 tugrik bill, you will get a stack of 10s, 20s, 50s and maybe 100s), so you can end up with a half-inch thick wad of currency that is worth very little. So I've been trying to pay with exact change whenever possible, and doing the same thing; that is, getting rid of the smallest bills possible. Otherwise I'll just end up with a pile of tiny bills. And I hear that once you are outside the country, nobody will want to touch Mongolian currency, so it will be hard to trade it for something else. But sometimes I can't pay with exact change, so I'll end up with another huge pile of small bills, and the cycle starts again.

Genghis Khan (or, as he is called here,  Chinggis Khaan) is on the 20000, 10000, 5000, 1000 and 500 tugrik bills. I have no idea who the other guy is who is on the 100, 50, 20 and 10 (OK, I just looked it up, it is Damdiny Sühbaatar. You can look up who he is). Apparently there are even smaller notes, corresponding to 1 and 5, and even change for a one, but they are no longer in common usage, as they are pretty much worthless. I would bet they are not worth the paper they are printed on. It seems strange that there are no bills available bigger than 20000, as that is about ten bucks. In China, Mao was on all the paper money that I saw. 

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