Seeking out locations on banknotes

Seeking out locations on banknotes

August 29, 2017 1 By Biggsy

Do you have a wad of foreign currency that you keep in a drawer just on the off-chance you:

  1. ever go back there?
  2. have a friend who’s going there?
  3. or are going to remember to take it to the airport on your next trip to donate it into one of those plastic-domed charity bins?

Well I have a handful left over from 12 different countries now and some of the Indian ones have probably been replaced since my 2015 visit anyway?

However it was when I looked at the Chinese 20 Yuan note and the Vietnamese 20,000 Dong note I remembered I’d actually been to these locations and stood in the exact same place, holding up the note in front of me to see the exact same scene.


The China 20 yuan banknote view

The China 20 yuan banknote view

The Chinese 20 Yuan note captures the view of Guilin’s Li River looking out towards the limestone casts with a fisherman in the foreground plying his trade with his cormorant. We couldn’t wait for a passing fisherman but we got close enough to replicating the scene.

The Vietnamese 20,000 Dong note has a sketch of the Japansese Covered Bridge in Hội An and is where many people go to have custom made suits made up a lá the guys on ‘Top Gear’ when Jeremy Clarkson decided to get a nice purple number made up in Yaly Couture, the same place I had my grey suit made … although the trousers no longer fit so well 7 years on! This time it looks like I didn’t take a photo with the no the held out in front of me but I do remember being amused at the time that I’d visited the actual location depicted on the banknote.

The Vietnam 20000 Dong banknote and Japanese Covered Bridge

The Vietnam 20000 Dong banknote and Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hội An

Looking in my change at lunchtime I saw a £5 note and the picture of ex Prime Minister Winston Churchill with the Houses of Parliament in the background. This view is from a raised up angle 40-50m west of the ‘London Eye’ big wheel so it’s difficult to replicate exactly, but not impossible. You get the general idea 🙂

The British £5 note and London's Houses of Parliament

The British £5 note and London’s Houses of Parliament

Thinking of the UK Pound I then wondered about the many denominations of the Euro banknotes. But did you know that all the buildings and bridges appearing on them are actually fictitious? The illustrations show generic examples of architectural styles such as baroque and renaissance rather than real bridges from a particular member state, as that could have caused some envy if not every country was included. More information at and Rotterdam’s great idea of actually building them!

So have you tried taking the same type of photos on y0our travels? Holding the note up in the air as you capture where you are?

Guilin's Li river in deepest China

Guilin’s Li river in deepest China