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Vietnam money

Vietnam’s currency issued by the Vietnam State Bank is the Dong (VND). Vietnamese use both coins and paper notes. But as Vietnam is currently changing its money system, there exists parallel two different money systems (old and new) which can cause confusion.


Vietnam’s currency issued by the Vietnam State Bank is the Dong (VND). Vietnamese use both coins and paper notes. But as Vietnam is currently changing its money system, there exists parallel two different money systems (old and new) which can cause confusion.

 Coins include VND 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500 and 200. These values have paper note equivalences.

 The following values: VND 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000. exist both in the new polymer form and the old normal paper notes.

 Cheques with value as Vietnamese dong include: VND 1,000,000 and 500,000.

Exchange rates

Exchange rate can be referred to at

In general, 1 USD is approximately 16000VND and 1 EUR approximates 20000VND

You can exchange your money at the airport before leaving, or at banks and official exchange centers in Vietnam. It is strongly recommended that you do not exchange money in the black market.

Method of payment

Direct payment of cash is most popular in Vietnam. Small shops, restaurants and markets usually do not accept any other payment.

Major credit cards (such as Visa, Master Charge and to some extent American Express) are increasingly being used, especially in big cities and tourist places, but only in restaurants, hotels or big shopping malls with a transactional fee (3%-5%).

Traveler’s cheques are an easy method of carrying money around, and can be cashed at major banks (but not small banks in small towns).

ATM machines

For those hesitant to carry a large amount of cash around, ATMs (automatic teller machines) have become increasingly popular in Vietnam (mostly in cities) and have attracted many foreign visitors.

Most banks offer this service and the registration for an account is simple and fast. All ATMs are locally interconnected. However, ATMs only give in VND.

Banking hours

The hours may differ from bank to bank. Generally banks open from Monday to Friday: 8:00 – 11:30 and 1:00 to 4:00. Some large banks also open through lunch or on Saturday mornings. Banks are closed on public holidays.

Two tier pricing system

In many places in Vietnam, foreigners and visitors still have to pay a much higher fee for entrance or services. However this system is slowly changing as prices are being standardized.

Vietnam is a friendly and safe place to travel. With a sprinkling of common sense, your trip should be smooth and trouble free. Tourists usually complain about over-aggressive street vendors, tour operators with a bad attitude and dangerous driving. However, with a cool head and sensible planning, one can avoid these problems.


  • Greetingsare no different to western countries, there are no culturalformalities that as a foreginer you would be expected to know orpractise.
  • Vietnamese dressconservatively. Despite the heat, it’s best not to show off too muchskin. If you do, especially girls, you’ll only draw stares from thelocals.
  • Dress well when visitingpagodas. No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts. Shoes are fine, and rarelywill you have to remove them. If unsure, just follow what the localsdo.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water,especially when walking around sightseeing. No need to carry hugebottles around with you, a vendor is never far away and no doubt theywill find you before you find them.
  • Keep your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place.
  • Travelwith recommend tour agencies. Even if you plan to buy tickets when incountry, research your journey a little first on the Internet. A goodresource is Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum, where fellow touristsdiscuss travel in Vietnam. This way you avoid unreliable tour agenciesand badly run hotels.


  • Weara lot of jewellery or take a bag with you. Violent crime is highlyunusual in Vietnam, but petty crime is more apparant. If you have abag, or tout a digital camera around your neck, you are a potentialtarget.
  • When taking a ride by motorbike taxi (xe om)make sure your bag, if any, is not on display or easy to grab. Bagsnatches, although still rare, are probably the most likely crime atourist would encounter, and it raises the probability immensely if youare tailing a camera or a laptop in the wind.
  • Don’t wear singlets, shorts, skirts or dresses, or revealing clothes to temples or pagodas.
  • Physicaldisplays of affection between lovers in public are frowned upon. That’swhy you may come across couples holding hands but not hugging orkissing.
  • Losing your temper in Vietnammeans a loss of face. Keep a cool head and remain polite, you’ll have agreater chance of getting what you want.
  • Remember, this is Vietnam,a devloping country, and things don’t quite work as you are maybe usedto. Don’t be paranoid about your safety, just be aware of yoursurroundings.

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