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Vietnam Money and Currency: All Things You Need to Know

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As an international tourist traveling to Vietnam, aside from a Vietnam visa, another essential is Vietnam money. This article will be your helpful guide on everything you need to know about Vietnam money while preparing your trip. Learn about the local currency.

1. What is the Currency in Vietnam?

The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong VND and the symbol is ₫. Vietnam money is one of the lowest value currencies in the world so the denominations of the currency are very large.

Vietnamese banknotes have so many denominations but the most common ones you should know are: VND 1,000, VND 2,000, VND 5,000, VND 10,000, VND 20,000, and VND 50,0000. As for the Vietnamese coins, they come in VND 200, VND 500, VND 1000, VND 2,000 and VND5,000.

Vietnam Money
Vietnam Banknotes

2. Can the US Dollar or Other Currencies Be Used in Vietnam?

If you are visiting Vietnam, paying with Vietnam money Dong in most cases is beyond all doubt. However, sometimes the US dollar, the Euro, and even the Chinese yuan can also be used.

In fact, the US dollar is a freely convertible currency in Vietnam, so it can be used directly in large cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to pay for hotels, restaurants, and tours. The Euro’s range of applications could be smaller than the US dollar. As for the CNY, it can only be used directly in some northern cities near the border between Vietnam and China.

In general, it is still mostly recommended to use Vietnam money Dong on your Vietnam tour as other currencies may make you pay more due to a lower exchange rate and they are not so convenient to use in smaller cities.

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3. Where to Exchange Currency in Vietnam

Like in most countries, it is easy to exchange major currencies in Vietnam. US dollars, Euros, AUD, and UK money can all be exchanged in banks. The US dollars may also be changed in airports, hotels, and jewelry shops.

Generally, 1 USD to Vietnam money (VND) is about 22,500 – 23,500. 1 Euro is around VND 27,200-27,700. Please check the real-time rate before exchanging.

Airports: Some currency exchange stalls can be found at the airports of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Though the exchange rate is not so favorable at airports, it is the fastest way to change your money when you arrive in Vietnam.

Banks: Banks are surely the safest places to change money and they cover most kinds of foreign currencies. Major trusted banks in Vietnam include Agribank, Vietcombank, Thechcombank, Sacomebank, and Vietinbank, and the commission rate is generally between 0.5% to 2%.

Hotels: Large hotels in large cities like Hanoi and HCMC can offer favorable money exchange services from USD to Vietnam money, as well as other currencies.

Gold and Jewelry shops: The gold and jewelry stores, mostly in red and gold colors, offer a better exchange rate than other exchange places with no fees. Nevertheless, well-known gold shops are often packed with customers. You may spend your time waiting in a long line.

4. Can Cards Be Used in Vietnam?

The answer is YES! You can use credit cards like MasterCard and Visa to check in hotels and go shopping in large malls. However, small shops and roadside stalls may not be available. The commission fee is about 3% – 4%. It’s also easy to send money to Vietnam from other countries like the US. Simply transfer from a visa or Mastercard debit card to an account.

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5. Withdraw Cash at ATMs in Vietnam

ATMs are widely available in Vietnamese major cities, but chip-and-pin ATMs are not. Only Vietnam money (VND) can be withdrawn from ATMs. If your money is foreign currency, then based on the current bank exchange rate, it will be automatically changed to Vietnam money.

Generally, the maximum amount of ATMs is from VND 2,000,000 to 5,000,000. The global banks may have a higher limit between VND 8,000,000 and 10,000,000. Charging fees cost each time from VND 40,000 to 100,000 ($ 2-5).

6. Local Prices and Travel Costs for a Vietnam Tour

For the preparation of your trip to Vietnam, here’s what to expect in terms of local prices and travel costs.

Accommodation Costs

There are many accommodation options in Vietnam depending on your budget. Many hostels and budget hotels cost as little as $5 to $15 per night, especially in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a great option for solo travelers.

With more facilities, mid-range hotels cost from $25 to $50 per night. These hotels are a budget-friendly option for couples and those traveling in Vietnam for business.

High-end hotels and resorts cost between $80 to $300 per night, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc. They are still relatively cheap compared to the prices in the US, perfect for family or honeymoon vacations.

Food and Drink

Vietnamese cuisine is famous all over the world. It is delicious and affordable at the same time. Street food is a quintessential part of Vietnamese food and is incredibly cheap. Popular orders like pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls typically cost between $1 to $3.

Restaurants are also affordable, ranging from $5 to $10 per meal. Western styled or upscale restaurants cost more, usually between $15 to $30 per person. Drinks are cheap as well. Famous Vietnamese coffee is only around $1 to $2 in local cafes, and a bottle of beer is about $1 to $3.

Transportation

Getting around Vietnam is also very budget friendly. Local buses and trains are cheapest options. Short trips are usually less than $1, and longer journeys, getting from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City by train cost around $30 to $70.

Taxis and services like Grab are available across Vietnam. Short rides cost about $2 to $5, depending on the distance. As for domestic flights, one-way tickets between major cities with budget airlines can be as low as $20 to $50.

Sightseeing and Activities

Entrance fees for attractions in Vietnam are generally pretty reasonable. Historical sites and museums charge between $1 to $5. For example, entry to the Imperial City in Hue costs $7, and the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is $2. Day trips, like a cruise in Ha Long Bay or a visit to Cu Chi Tunnels, typically range from $30 to $100, depending on the duration and what the package includes.

Other Expenses

Other expenses to take into consideration include shopping, personal care, tips. You might want to shop for the wide range of souvenirs and handicrafts Vietnam has. Prices vary depending on what you get. Personal care services like spa treatments are quite affordable, often less than $10. Tipping is not expected but appreciated, typically around 5-10%.

Budget Summary

In general, for a budget traveler, daily expenses can be as low as $20 to $30. A mid-range budget has room for more comfort and activities, ranges from $50 to $100 per day. For a more luxury experience, a daily budget of $150 to $300 will be enough.

7. How to Tip & Bargain in Vietnam

Vietnam is not a country where tipping is expected, however, it is appreciated to tip if you have received good services. Tips in Vietnam are usually in the service industry like hotels, restaurants, and tours, no fixed amount and just tip as you like. For example, the tips for cleaning staff and porters in hotels generally take about VND 10,000.

However, bargaining is more common in Vietnam. As foreign tourists are usually overcharged in local markets, it is suggested to enjoy the bargain fun with locals and sometimes a discount of 50% is possible, all depending on your skills.

8. More Tips about Vietnam Money

  • According to Vietnamese law, if you carry money over VND 15,000,000 or USD 5,000, or equivalent in other currencies, the declaration is a must.
  • Be careful about changing money on the black market as it may be the lead-up to a scam.
  • Don’t change your money too much at one time.
  • The damaged notes may be hard to pay.
  • Some Vietnamese notes might look similar in color, so double-check the denominations when using cash.
  • Cash is the most common method of payment in Vietnam, especially in rural areas and small stores. So make sure you always have some cash with you.
  • Notify your bank before traveling to Vietnam to avoid any inconvenience.

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