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Vietnam forum

Vietnam currency

Posted by dazm26 on 13/10/2007 at 22:35

Hi guys,

Please can you advise me as to how the best way to take money to vietnam is. I understand the currency is USD, is this right and will i need any dong to take also, or will USD be sufficient?
Should i take travellers cheques, cash and a ATM card?

thankyou guys

#1 dazm26 has been a member since 28/9/2007. Posts: 19

Posted by Tuliptiramisu on 14/10/2007 at 20:49

Hi,

Currency used are in USD for most hotel and shopping area. However, if you are on the road, some amount of dong will do, road side stall etc. You can always change it using the USD from most hotel.

Thank you.

#2 Tuliptiramisu has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 5


Posted by Tuliptiramisu on 14/10/2007 at 20:50

Hi,

Currency used are in USD for most hotel and shopping area. However, if you are on the road, some amount of dong will do, road side stall etc. You can always change it using the USD from most hotel.

Thank you.

#3 Tuliptiramisu has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by rakhee2108 on 15/10/2007 at 00:32

I would take mainly USD and a little dong. Basically everywhere takes USD (guesthouses, restaurants etc). However, dong is useful for small purchases. ATMs give out money in dong and all guesthouses exchange USD to dong (1USD = 16,000 dong)

#4 rakhee2108 has been a member since 8/3/2007. Posts: 55

Posted by Husko on 15/10/2007 at 16:48

Hi,

I was in Vietnam in 2004 and used mainly Dong. You can pay for everything in Dong.(I even paid for a tour to Sapa - about 4 million Dong) I ended changing all my USD early in the trip (1 month away) because we didn't need it. They talk in USD sometimes but pay in Dong. It must be even easier now - but I could be wrong?

ATM's everywhere in larger towns or over the counter visa advance in banks.

Take a few USD to change if travelling in remote areas or just in case, but I was getting an equivalent rate for Aussie $. Most major currencies were able to be changed everywhere.

Credit card cash advance is the go and most hotels take Visa etc.(stayed at $10 to $20 USD places)

Husko

#5 Husko has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 34

Posted by dazm26 on 18/10/2007 at 22:15

HI folkes,

So reading your replies it seems that its best to take USD with me then and change into dong if i need to? Or should i take some dong as well?

Thankyou so much for your help guys!

Daz

#6 dazm26 has been a member since 28/9/2007. Posts: 19

Posted by Tuliptiramisu on 19/10/2007 at 09:45

Hi,

Just a note of cautious if u change (Dong) at your hometown, do change at a proper Bank counter. My previous trip (Ho Chinh Minh), some of the notes (dong) were not able to use in restaurant and hotel, it was an old $ notes given by a Money Changer.

Next month I will be in Hanoi, and I will only bring USD there, and perhaps change at the Airport.

Thanks

#7 Tuliptiramisu has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by sine on 19/10/2007 at 17:27

Posted from within Vietnam.

just take the US if you want - is easy to exchange it to dong... and it's almost there first currency with tourists! everything you can get in dollars and get change back in dong

wish we brought more US with us because you can only get about $150AUS out at one time at the ATMS (That's prob about $120-130 US)

#8 sine has been a member since 2/10/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by sine on 19/10/2007 at 17:31

Posted from within Vietnam.

just take the US if you want - is easy to exchange it to dong... and it's almost there first currency with tourists! everything you can get in dollars and get change back in dong

wish we brought more US with us because you can only get about $150AUS out at one time at the ATMS (That's prob about $120-130 US)

#9 sine has been a member since 2/10/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by kkny3 on 19/10/2007 at 21:40

I was just in Hanoi for a few months and I never used USD. I was using an ATM to get Dong.

#10 kkny3 has been a member since 17/1/2007. Posts: 1

Posted by lifeboatal on 20/10/2007 at 23:42

Hi guys been reading the money thing i would take dollars with you and change them for dong once you get there i went this year february 2007 and found every thing was so cheap it was a short trip only ten days but took about $600 and still brought back $75 with me tip if you get dong when you get change its easier to work out if you hand over dollars you stand a good chance of being ripped off doesnt happen often but.... and the taxi ride from the airport should be about $6.00 not $15.00 i know i got caught ..

#11 lifeboatal has been a member since 20/10/2007. Posts: 1

Posted by travelife on 21/10/2007 at 13:08

anyone can advise whether HKD can be readily changed into dong in HCMC / mekong delta?

#12 travelife has been a member since 21/10/2007. Posts: 1

Posted by Tuliptiramisu on 22/10/2007 at 09:24

Hi,

Other than USD, u may be able to change only at Hotel or Airport. It is advisable to change at your hometown for better rates.

#13 Tuliptiramisu has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by kptn82 on 23/10/2007 at 11:24

Hi

As a vietnamese who regularly go back for holiday, i recommend you exchange your USD in large amount and keep it somewhere. Say if you were bringing $1000 back, change about $500 into dong and the rest keep in USD. And do not change money at the airport, hotels. Banks sometimes give you low rates, however change them at jewllery, they will give you the best rates.

Try get smaller notes in both currency as there are people who always try to rip off

ie, catching a motobike to a certain location might cost $30,000dong, but the driver say he has no change etc...

USD are to buy souvenirs in proper shop, pay for your hotel rooms, always ask how much they charge in USD, because if they tell you in VND, they will eventually convert them into USD at a lower rate.

hope this help

#14 kptn82 has been a member since 24/9/2007. Posts: 22
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Posted by dazm26 on 24/10/2007 at 18:19

hiya guys, why is it im still confused!! lol
So its best to take USD and either change it into dong out there or take dong with me?
Also what about taking USD travellers cheques too, can these be changed?

Thankyou

#15 dazm26 has been a member since 28/9/2007. Posts: 19

Posted by Unknownsu on 26/10/2007 at 04:03

Changing money in Vietnam is simple and I prefered the dong over anything. I brought Canadian dollars with me and exchanged to dong whenever I needed. Haggling in dong is more precise and is recommended.

The Vn dong is rendered useless outside Vietnam so make sure you get rid of all of it before you leave.

#16 Unknownsu has been a member since 20/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by Dano on 31/10/2007 at 08:40

Can Canadian dollars be easily exchanged throughout the Delta area of Vietnam?

#17 Dano has been a member since 31/10/2007. Posts: 1

Posted by somtam2000 on 31/10/2007 at 10:03 admin

In Can Tho you should be ok, but in smaller cities I'm not sure how you'd go with Canadian currency.

#18 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,434
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Posted by CatBa2 on 6/11/2007 at 17:37

The USD used to be favourite but with it now lower than the Canadian dollar things are changing.

As a long term resident I recommend you use DONG (pronounced dom) as you will end up paying less for the goods and services.

And keep a generous supply of VND5000 notes (blue, paper - don't confuse with blue, plastic VND20,000) as this will help you beat the taxi divers "no change" racket.

Coins are also in use with values from VND100 through VND5000.

People who change more than USD$20 at the airport are less than smart as the exchange counter has the WORST exchange rate to be found in VietNam (the crooks at Travelex should be avoided world wide as they gouge you three dollars service charge in addition to a terrible exchange rate).

Vietnamese law requires people be billed, and allowed to pay in, Vietnamese Dong except, of course, when buying anything from the government such as a visa!

When landing at Ha Noi airport tell NO ONE which hotel you are staying at - until your driver has crossed the Red River bridge. Just say Hoan Kiem Lake and after the bridge tell to take you to YOUR HOTEL ONLY! Accept no 'full' claims unless you get it from the front desk/

Ha Noi taxi drivers are notorious for meter scams - only VN, DeLuxe and Mai Linh are to be trusted.

Also know that the Lucky Eden, Ha Noi Blue Sky, FortuAN (not Fortune) and Ha Noi Riverside are pure dumps regardless of what any web site claims. Jaspers, Nam Hai and Ga Noi Palace are good properties, along with Democracy and Gold Hotels.

(I have checked every one of the 700 hotels in Ha Noi personally so I think I know a thing or two).

The best areas to stay are the Ba Dinh and south and west oh Hoan Kiem Lake - a couple of extra bucks makes substantial improvements in quality.

The noisiest, dirtiest area is the Old Quarter.

#19 CatBa2 has been a member since 6/11/2007. Posts: 53

Posted by Tuliptiramisu on 13/11/2007 at 11:31

Just returned the trip from Hanoi, if you intend to change currency from US to Dong, do so at a good hotel, walk around you will definitely get some good rates.

Taking a taxi, buying stuff from small shop along the street, ensure that you do have small notes, otherwise they will say they have no change and persuade you to get more items etc.

The most popular, I would still recommend staying around "Old Quarter" although it is nosy but you get to see diffent type of lifestyle, enjoy the walking along the different street. The hotel rates are pretty resonable from US 15 - US 17 - standard room with bf. (assuming you are not looking for swimming pool, more facilities in the hotel). There are only 2 major shopping centre, the biggest is Vicom Tower, you may have to take a taxi, cost around Dong 30,000 to 40,000 by metter from Old Quarter. The other which is near to Hoan Kiem Lake.

#20 Tuliptiramisu has been a member since 13/10/2007. Posts: 5

Posted by soccertaxi on 14/11/2007 at 05:26

Hi there,

Trying to make sense of the currency thing. Do I even need to bring Canadian or US dollars or is it easy enough to find and use ATM's (and dong)everywhere?

Thanks for your help.

#21 soccertaxi has been a member since 26/10/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by KazAussie on 25/4/2010 at 05:53

No need to take any US or other currency to Vietnam. ATM's are plentiful. You can expect to pay less than the equivalent of $2US per withdrawal. Just be careful about what your bank charges for overseas withdrawals. On a recent trip one of my travel partners was being charged more than $8.00 per withdrawal by their bank, as I was not being charged by my bank I just took the cash out for him and we did internet transfers for him to pay me back.

#22 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by Babalugats on 6/5/2010 at 15:20

This thread is helpful. I'll be in Vietnam 5 weeks from now. I'll arrive in Ho Chi Minh and then take a plane to Da Nang ; I plan to visit Hoi An and Hue before going to Nha Trang and HCM.

Based from what I read, it's not advisable to exchange my US dollars at the HCM International Airport. Right? So a hotel or a jewelry shop in Da Nang or Hoi An will do better (I plan to take a bus from Da Nang to Hoi An).

Let me know if I'm wrong. Thanks.

#23 Babalugats has been a member since 21/3/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 73
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Posted by rawjer on 7/5/2010 at 13:12

Posted from within Vietnam.

This thread was only recently revived by a spammer putting a URL on here, but since there is a new real question I'll give it a shot...

I wouldn't exchange money at all. I'd bring some USDs as kind of a backup, and then take money out of ATMs while you are here. They are very easy to find in all the tourist areas and the service charges aren't likely to be any more than what you lose at an exchange place. That also keeps you from having to carry around a huge amount of money for your whole trip all the time.

It's worth keeping in mind that most ATMs, with the exception of some in Saigon and Hanoi, limit you to 2 million dong per day, which is about US$100. Fortunately that amount of money goes a long way here so it works out okay.

In my 3+ months here I've discovered that all the hotels will take USDs and in some cases they've actually given me an exchange rate that is above the official interbank rate for the day. In other words, the "official" exchange rate has usually been just under 19,000 dong/1 USD, and most hotels (at least the cheap ones) credit you with 19,000 or even 20,000/1 USD. I've never seen that phenomenon in other countries, or at least ones with hard currency.

#24 rawjer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 104
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Posted by sojourner on 12/5/2010 at 23:20

FWIW, the place to change USD in Saigon is at the jeweller's shop outside Ben Thanh Market, along Le Thanh Ton Street. Just look out for it, you can't miss it, there are a couple of shops there.

If you are flying in to Tan Son Nhat airport and going to Saigon city, change enough for your taxi & expenditure the evening. Then change your USD at Le Thanh Ton.

#25 sojourner has been a member since 5/4/2010. Location: Global Village. Posts: 5

Posted by supabrudda on 18/5/2010 at 16:13

Has anyone got any tips for banks in VN which don't charge an ATM withdrawal fee? Or which has the lowest withdrawal fee? (I mean the VN bank adding on a fee as part of the withdrawal, not my bank/visa adding their fee). Maybe Citibank, HSBC or the Agribank?

#26 supabrudda has been a member since 14/5/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by travellingsarah on 18/5/2010 at 19:53 TF writer

Posted from within Vietnam.

I've not found any less than 20,000 VND - which is the norm (apart from ANZ which tends to be 40,000 VND). The trick is to find the ones that will give you more than 2million, then your fee is a lower percentage. If you don't mind carrying more than 2million around! I think HSBC and BIDV give out more - not sure on the others, maybe Agribank.

#27 travellingsarah has been a member since 23/3/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 679
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Posted by Indoluso on 18/5/2010 at 22:37

Hi,

How many cm is a pack of 2 million dong in half "high" notes and half "low" notes? Does it fit in a wallet?

Cheers!

#28 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by svendj on 20/5/2010 at 22:45

If you take 2 million out you sometimes get it in 50 000 notes, sometimes in 100 000 notes, just depends on the atm you're using. so that's about 40 or 20 papers for your wallet, fits perfectly, I remember putting in about 7 million cause I needed to pay my hotel for 1.5 month.

#29 svendj has been a member since 30/4/2010. Location: Belgium. Posts: 196
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Posted by Indoluso on 21/5/2010 at 01:38

Oh ok, thanks!

#30 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by rawjer on 21/5/2010 at 08:43

Posted from within Vietnam.

The notes the ATMs spit out can be an issue for sure. In the past 4 months I've used multiple ATMs in all the main tourist cities, taking out 2 million each time (except once in Hanoi at ANZ when I got 6 million). I've gotten nearly every imaginable combination of 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000 notes, but never a 50,000.

Just two days ago here in Saigon I got four 500,000 notes, and those can be a big problem to break at anyplace other than a hotel or a larger restaurant where you spend at least 100,000 or so. Almost 100% of the time they'll imply they can't break it and ask if you have anything smaller.

I've been in countries (Indonesia) where I've had a huge stack of small bills, but here the problem is usually the opposite.

#31 rawjer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 104
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Posted by supabrudda on 21/5/2010 at 17:08

Thanks guys! with the $au fast collapsing, I'm keen to keep $'s in my pocket, not the banks

#32 supabrudda has been a member since 14/5/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by supabrudda on 14/6/2010 at 15:20

Posted from within Vietnam.

Just a quick update.

The Technobank seems to be the best value.
you can get out up to 3,500,000 for a 20,000 dong fee

HSBC charges 1% with a 4,800,000 limit (which would be 48,000 dong fee)

#33 supabrudda has been a member since 14/5/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by AmericanVietnamese on 25/6/2010 at 08:46

Posted from within Vietnam.

Regarding the original post, I think travelers cheques are not easy to use here as many places do not change them. ATMs are abundant here but I would read the fine print very carefully from both your bank and the bank whose ATM you are using. Also, be careful when using credit cards may have high fees added when used here (plus, many places don't take them). I do not have experience using USD for purchases here. However, I know the larger hotels will take them. Still you are better off using VND here because USD are certainly not taken everywhere. In Vietnam, cash is king. If you feel comfortable traveling with cash, I would recommend bringing as much as you plan on spending and changing it as necessary.

#34 AmericanVietnamese has been a member since 25/6/2010. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 13
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Posted by Lawoat on 25/6/2010 at 13:50

and make sure you spend all your VND in Vietnam...Impossible to change in Cambodia and in Bangkok the exchange rates are just ridiculous (we only found 1 bank that accepted them tough)

#35 Lawoat has been a member since 29/6/2009. Posts: 59

Posted by supabrudda on 1/7/2010 at 07:59

You can change your Dong to $us easily & with good exchanges rate in HCMC in the business district (there's a few down side streets off Nguyen Hue Street in district 1). They were even happy to change 700,000 dong with no commission & about 300 dong higher the xe.com rate.

Speaking of Nguyen Hue Street, taking to an expat who said he found an ATM down there that didnt charge fees. He said is was 1/2 a block from the river on the LHS (when walking towards the river) opposite a bank (who has an ATM inside which did charge). he couldn't remember what the bank was.

#36 supabrudda has been a member since 14/5/2007. Posts: 9

Posted by 69bertie on 4/7/2010 at 00:34

Posted from within Vietnam.

supabrudda
Speaking of Nguyen Hue Street, taking to an expat who said he found an ATM down there that didnt charge fees. He said is was 1/2 a block from the river on the LHS (when walking towards the river) opposite a bank (who has an ATM inside which did charge). he couldn't remember what the bank was.


If he's an expat, he was probably using his own bank! I've an account with HSBC here in Vietnam and can use HSBC and Techombank ATM's with no fees applied. Most charge 20000d per 2m VND taken out. Take out 4million and the fee will usually increase to 40000d.

If you have any Vnd and are going to the markets in PP in Cambodia, they will quite happily take them off you when you buy things (they take nigh on any currency that is presented)....surprisingly, the exchange rate wasn't too bad.

Also be careful with moneychangers, especially if changing anything that isn't USD. I found in some when changing GBP for instance, that they convert GBP to USD then to VND, rather than a straight GBP to VND. You get hit twice.

I've been here 7 months now and use Dongs for everything. Cheapest way of buying things here. Once the locals see the dollar, you'll find the price goes up. And so far, I haven't had any problems changing 500k VND notes. Quite obviously the street vendor isn't going to be happy but shops etc, no hassle at all.

#37 69bertie has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 90

Posted by malawi on 9/1/2011 at 19:52

Ho Chi Minh airport to downtown. How much to pay taxi? Normal to add tip? Recommendations? Our hostal charge $18 which seems a lot.

#38 malawi has been a member since 9/1/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by kptn82 on 17/1/2011 at 09:30

@malawi - at most $100,000dong, no more than that.

@69bertie - we're going to SR and as you mentioned, you can change dong to Cambodian money, are there anywhere else you can do this in VN? We have family in Vn so i sent a bit back to VN while the $ is high, so i lcok in my rate. but we're also going to SR so just wanna know if we can swap the Dong to Cambodian Riel or $USD is ok?

#39 kptn82 has been a member since 24/9/2007. Posts: 22
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Posted by violets on 18/1/2011 at 04:42

Last year I found many hotels wouldn't take US$, though I stay in small family hotels.

I found the Agribank the most reliable to get more than 2 million dong (since my home bank charges $4 for every transaction this makes a big diffference). Since they are everywhere, including some reasonably remote places, like Cao Bang, this is helpful. They charge 20,000 (about a dollar) whatever amount you get out. HSBC is also good for larger amounts but they are only in big tourist cities and charge 1% per transaction. I was told by another traveller that DongBa bank would give you more and not charge but I never found one that would.

Vietcom bank are the most reliable and cheapest for changing travellers cheques but are no longer free. The fee is the same for $100 or $200. There are vietcombaks in most towns.

#40 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 151

Posted by jackdsilva12 on 18/1/2011 at 15:25

Thanks for sharing these useful information about Vietnam currency, it is very helpful for me.

#41 jackdsilva12 has been a member since 18/1/2011. Posts: 31

Posted by Randy on 4/2/2011 at 05:34

Here is my own experience about money exchange in vn. I'm from Canada and within 11 trips for the past 15years to vn...To me, the best rate you could get (BETTER THAN ALL THE VN BANKS) is at...EVERY JEWELRY STORE IN VIETNAMESE MARKET. They would exchange Canadian, Australian and US dollars to vn Dong. For my own safety, I did exchange no more than 300Can at a time. That's it. Keep in your possession a valid visa in case of emergency, go to any bank in any city to withdraw money (high charge, though). To get cheaper rate on food, shelter....stay away from tourist areas, only a few blocks away you could get better deal with the same thing. That's all....

#42 Randy has been a member since 3/2/2011. Posts: 28

Posted by ivy on 20/9/2011 at 09:55

Hi! My 1st time going to Hanoi . Been reading extensively on Hanoi about food, lodging, rides, places, etc. This post has been extremely helpful. I've leftover Indonesian Rupiah from my Bali trip. Is it easy for me to change IDR to VND in any jewellery store in Hanoi?

Where's the nearest jewellery store from Luong Ngoc Quyen street (5min from Hoan Kiem Lake)? I'll be flying this Friday. Yippie!

#43 ivy has been a member since 20/9/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by awarenessforex on 22/11/2012 at 21:37

Do not take dong into the country. You either withdraw from the ATM, or you can exchange at the border, as the buses will usually make a rest stop and there will be an exchanger on board. It's about 1 USD = 20,000 dong (now 21,000 to 1 or so). In HCMC in district 1 (backpacker)

HCMC Airport taxi to the backpacker district should be no more than $10 usd. $6-8 and you did well. I forgot the name of the road, as the taxi driver may not know what 'backpacker' means. But if you see another foreigner, you can ask them what to tell the driver. You might be able to split a taxi.

#44 awarenessforex has been a member since 27/8/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by kuma_wandering on 29/11/2012 at 23:31

Hi,

Many times that i tried to use USD abroad, the outcome is that i always lost some benefits.

I suggest to change the money into the VN Dong before leaving, they accept the credit card in just some area and some shops so if you are planing to spend a lot of money, i strongly recommend to bring some cash, just scared that it is not that easy to find the ATM machine.

Anyways, the accommodation in VN is quiet good, compare with the price maybe because they have a very high competition in Hotels there. You can also book online as the lastminute reservation.

Hope it helps.

#45 kuma_wandering has been a member since 29/11/2012. Posts: 4


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