I'm currently in Vietnam and will be travelling into Laos by land next week from Sapa - Dien Bien Phu - Maung Khua - Luang Prabang. From what I have read I don't think I will find any ATMs in Laos before Luang Prabang. Is that correct? What currency should I take into Laos and where can I exchange it after crossing the border? I've been told that you can't get US dollars in Vietnam, is that correct?
#1 laydeesian has been a member since 28/1/2013. Posts: 2
Use the links from your CIA gold bracelet at the gold exchange in the market Muang Khua. Failing that use those $100 bills stashed in the lining of your underwear for emergencies. What? Don't have either?
I've never been to DBP, or any place in Vietnam, but I've met a couple of Vietnamese, and I'd bet you can change just about any currency into any other in any city in the country, with less effort than you could in say,,, America. If banks won't do it try the market. Count your change.
From our Muang Khua section (writer was there a month or so ago)
"There is only one ATM in town and it doesn't as yet accept Visa or Mastercard, so those requiring Lao money need to visit the Agricultural Development Bank on the main road and ask the staff inside if they will allow you to withdraw money from it using your credit card. This usually works, but if it doesn't, you will need some foreign currency to convert to kip in order to pay for your onward travel and your hotel bill."
Hope that helps.
#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,798
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Yep, every traveller coming through Muang Khua seemed to have the same issue when I was there recently. No one had cash on them, the ATM didn't accept their cards and they needed money to pay for their hotels. Needless to say there was great relief when the guy at the bank figured out how to use his card swiping machine inside the bank branch.
Best bet -- bring some USD.