When you need currency here in Vietnam you will need Vietnamese Dong (VND) and at todays exchange rate its 27822.4 VND to the pound.
Now the nought’s get confusing. There are so many and becoming a millionaire over night does go to your head.
I just haven’t got my head round the currency and we’ve been here ages.
I keep confusing 1000 VND with 10,000 VND and even 100,000 VND which is how Ive ended up giving people such big Tips.
The notes are all of a similar colour and when they are dirty (which they often are) its hard to tell the difference. Add to that a few beers, a dark bar and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The guide book say US Dollars are also welcome but in our humble experience, most people prefer the Dong and when it comes to buying small things, say a carton of milk at 10,000 VND it’s a no brainer.
However, you cant (as far as we know) get VND outside of Vietnam so you are hostage to their rates. Your first encounter with VND will probably be an ATM at the airport and here you are the target for Scam’s so be warned. Unscrupulous people will know you are a tourist (or Foreigner as they so unkindly call us) and may offer to help.
Just say NO thank you.
The other thing we found was that Banks don’t/wont/cant give you money, at least not easily. If you want cash from a bank theres a lot of confusion behind the tills and then an awful lot of paperwork. At the end it’s not worth it as they still charge you a fee for the service.
Why not use an ATM you may ask?
Well, most ATM’s charge a Fee over and above the bank charges you will incur at home. Some were charging 13% fee’s for withdraws.
However, look for Agribank ATM’s there is no fee.
There may be other banks that don’t charge but we haven’t found them.
Finally, there is a Maximum which we think is 5 Million VND ( £178 just about) that you can withdraw from an ATM at one time and this, trust me, doesn’t go very far. We did try to take a second amount out of another ATM and it let us have 2 Million but said we had then reached our limit.
So, If you’re using an ATM that charges each time you will be paying some hefty fee’s.
Another issue, if you are booking Hotel accommodation in advance and on line is to get the prices in VND rather than say Pounds or Dollars. Why, because the price quoted in British Pounds on say Bookings.com is an estimate of the charge in Dong. When you come to pay the Hotel will charge you in VND and you don’t know what exchange rate they are using and how accurate it is.
If you get the rental in Dong on line, you can do a quick calculation and work out the English or US equivalent but the actual price is displayed on the screen.
If you screen shot that there should be no surprises.
Also, here is the typical plug socket we have encountered in Vietnam, but be warned they are some times difficult to use as they are stiff and you have to force the adaptor into the holes.