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Cash - ATMs etc

London England
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Cash - ATMs etc

I am going to Syria next month, on a tour, so mainly prepaid, but the Footprint guide, admittedly 6 years old, says you can't get cash out on an ATM, only use credit cards for purchases in upmarket places. Is this still so? Obvously you can change cash at a bank (queues and hullaballoo) or I guess at hotels (poor exchange rate?). Travellers cheques? If so which company is best? I like to have some cash in my pocket, and always try to collect small denominations for the needed tips - I've been several times to Egypt etc.....Should I take lots of $US 1 & 5 bills, which I find readily acceptable everywhere?

Any "tips" from travellers gratefully received.

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Africa
Pretoria, South...
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1. Re: Cash - ATMs etc

Hi Ross,

Things have changed considerably regarding banking in Syria since your Footprint guide was published.

ATM's are readily available in Damascus and other big cities, not so in the smaller villages. Money can also be changed at hotels, and credit cards are accepted in some shops.

I suggest that you convert Dollars to Syrian Pound for your daily needs, US$100 is about SYP5000 and you can do quite a bit with that.

Have a great time in Damascus, come with an empty suitcase to fill up on the way home!

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loch lomond...
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2. Re: Cash - ATMs etc

Hi Ross,

I went to Syria last year at the same time as you and had a brilliant holiday! You should have no problem getting cash out of a.t.m. machines in all the major places. Only once we were left with no cash and that was because the town we were staying in (Sweida) only had two machines which were both broken. We were staying with my friend and just had to raid her coin stash for the day ! I would advise you to lift enough for a few days at a time as broken machines are fairly common. Our bank card (nationwide) had a visa logo on it which I think you may need. Don't worry about carrying cash , it is very safe. U.S.dollars will be handy too, many people are happy to take them, if they are used to tourists. Locals wont want them though! If you want to ask anything else, then no problem. We spent 2 weeks there last April / May and spent 1 week with my pal who lived there for over a year and another travelling around on buses by ourselves. We had some cold weather as well as sunny at the end of April !

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Bandirma, Turkey
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3. Re: Cash - ATMs etc

I am a cash person myself when traveling ...

It is better to have some money changed at the airport before the passport control. I have no idea about the ATMs but exchange rate is less in favor of you all the time. I never fall for this. I have only seen credit cards are accepted at the hotel and the shops in airport.

There is very good bank called Audi Bank (like the car brand) very nice even to sit inside in an air conditioned environment with very good service and regular exchange rate as everywhere else.

!!!! When you first receive the banknotes look at the back of them to see the Latin Numeric for it. Or go with the colors:

Brown: SYP 50 about $1

Blue: SYP 100 about $2

Burgundy/Red: SYP 200 about $4

Light Grayish/ Brown: SYP 500 about $10

Light Greenish/Yellow: SYP1000 about $20

for the pictures to study check for

banquecentrale.gov.sy/currency/currency-eg.h…

It is going to be very difficult for you to determine coins, you end up with pocket full of coins at night in your room.

If you have extra Syrian pounds left before you leave, try to spend them before coming to the airport or before the passport control the latest.

4. Re: Cash - ATMs etc

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