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using GBP in Vietnam ?

  • noakess

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2010
    Posts: 32

    Hi, leaving in 4 days .... flying to Hamoi and planning to spend 4 weeks in vietnam.

    DO I .....

    1. bring GBP in cash - change to Dong in Hanoi (is that possible or will it be converted to USD first?)
    2. use bank card and pay 2.75% fee they charge to withdraw money
    3. change GBP to USD in the UK - then change to Dong in Hanoi?

    thanks - was trying to find the answer in the money forum but no luck...

    #1 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 17:32

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  • goonistik

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2010
    Posts: 532

    Hi!

    Look at post no. 11 here
    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1945399

    And look at the foreign exchange section here:
    http://www.vietnamvacations.com.au/travel/travel.html

    #2 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 18:54

  • rawjer

    Joined Travelfish
    20th January, 2010
    Posts: 104
    Total reviews: 9

    It's probably not a huge difference, but nearly everyone, including me, seems to prefer to leave the money in your home bank and just withdraw it from ATMs once in the country. Yes, you do get dinged with a service charge from both banks in the transaction, but you at least get the official exchange rate, which is several percent better than you get from a money changer, and many of those also have service charges attached.

    One of the keys for ATMs in Vietnam is that almost all of them only allow a withdrawal of 2 million dong at a time, or in a day. That's only about US$100, so with $5 in service fees that adds up a bit. But, weirdly enough, at the branches of ANZ Bank, the ATMs let you take out up to 10 million at a time (or maybe more) as long as that's within your bank's daily limit. Their service fee is slightly higher, but obviously if you only need to pull out money so infrequently, as a percentage it ends up being very low. There are a few ANZ branches in Hanoi and also in Saigon, but not in most smaller cities.

    By the way, in case you are worried about being robbed while carrying around so much cash, it's not really a common problem in Vietnam. Especially in Hanoi people will often try to drastically overcharge you for some things, but pickpocketing or mugging seems to be extremely rare. Take the usual precautions though.

    #3 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 19:02

  • noakess

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2010
    Posts: 32

    thank you so much. will use ATMS and will bring some emergency GBP cash.
    really helpful advice. N

    #4 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 20:42

  • Indoluso

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 133

    Hi, just want to warn you that coins in general aren't welcome because apparently banks only exchange notes. We once met a person wanting to exchange euro coins because she said the bank didn't exchange them. It didn't seam a scheme as she was asking for a lower rate. (eventually we didn't change as we were low in cash)

    #5 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 21:14

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    So I can't bring the contents of my piggy-bank then

    ;-)

    #6 Posted: 18/11/2010 - 22:06

  • Indoluso

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 133

    Right! :-D

    #7 Posted: 19/11/2010 - 22:38

  • 69bertie

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 90

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    I think I should add that a fair number of ATM's WILL let you take out more than 2m dong at a time. Just select 'other amounts' 4m + is usually obtainable that way. ANZ supposedly go up to 16m. And nothing to stop you putting your card straight back in and getting more out. With my UK card 12m was my limit for the day which equated to the limit set by my bank. As mentioned you will get hit for a service charge...varies from 20k-30k per 2million dong.
    If you do bring GBP, change them in the gold shops for maximum amount. GBP is currently on a (very) high. This year it dipped below 25000 (in March/April), now 32500 is usually easily available. Don't change to USD just for the sake of changing GBP to them. And watch out with some money changers. They change GBP to USD then to Dong. You get hit twice that way. USD is on a high too but if you change in the banks 19500 is what you will get, not 20900 available at the gold shops. 

    #8 Posted: 20/11/2010 - 09:55

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