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Currency in Vietnam: Mastering Money Exchange in Vietnam

Last updated:Apr 03, 2024
Vietnam is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture. If you're planning a trip to Vietnam, it's important to understand the local currency, the Vietnamese Dong (VND). In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about currency exchange in Vietnam. Get ready to unlock the secrets of currency exchange and ensure a smooth, budget-friendly journey through this captivating destination.

1. Introducing the Vietnamese Dong (VND) - The Currency of Vietnam

The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam since 3 May 1978, replacing the previous currency, the "dong" (a type of Vietnamese piastre).
Vietnamese banknotes feature various designs that often highlight aspects of the country's culture, history, and natural beauty. These designs may include images of famous landmarks, historical figures, and traditional Vietnamese art. The highest denomination bill, the 500,000 VND note, features a portrait of a woman weaving silk, a tribute to Vietnam's traditional craftsmanship.
An interesting fact about the Vietnamese Dong is that the denominations on each banknote are often quite high compared to many other currencies worldwide, and some banknotes have significant values. This can create an impression for those unfamiliar with it, especially foreign tourists.
Vietnamese currencyValue of each Vietnamese Dong (VND). Source: Kisstour.com
People often joke that if you have a substantial amount of Vietnamese Dong, you can appear to be a millionaire, although the actual value may not be equivalent to that impression when converted to other currencies.

2. How to calculate the exchange rate?

You may explore xe.com, a website that provides complimentary historical charts and rate tables while offering foreign exchange services. Among the valuable features of XE is its currency converter, which provides real-time currency and foreign exchange rates. Additionally, you have the option to download the XE Currency Converter & Money Transfer app on your smartphone, offering a range of excellent features.

3. Where to exchange money in Vietnam?

Banks

Vietnam boasts approximately 50 public banks, foreign banks, and joint-stock commercial banks. Finding a bank branch in the center of Hanoi or near tourist attractions is convenient.
If you're not exchanging a substantial amount of money, a simple approach is to enter "bank" in the search box on Google Maps, select the nearest bank branch, and visit it. Conversely, if the exchange rate is a crucial factor for you, it's advisable to compare the rates offered by different banks before making a decision.
The list of the bank branches in Hanoi:
exchange money in VietnamList of banks with branches in Hanoi.

Tip: To locate banks in the Hanoi Old Quarter, enter "Hanoi Old Quarter" in the search box on Google Maps and press enter. Similarly, you can find the locations of banks by typing "bank" in the search box on Google Maps and pressing enter.

The list of the bank branches in Ho Chi Minh City
currency exchange in VietnamList of banks with branches in Ho Chi Minh City.

Airports

At the airport, numerous money changers are available. While the exchange rates may be relatively low, it proves convenient for passengers to exchange currencies post-immigration. It is advisable to exchange a sufficient amount of money to cover expenses such as taxi fares, bus tickets, food, drinks, or tours after the flight. 

Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

  • Location: Money exchange counters are in both the arrivals and departures areas of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Look for signs indicating "Foreign Exchange" or "Currency Exchange".
  • Popular Banks: Counters of Vietcombank, VietinBank, BIDV, Agribank, and other major banks are usually available.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City)

  • Location: Exchange counters are located throughout the arrivals and departures areas.
  • Popular Banks: Similar to Noi Bai, you'll find counters from major Vietnamese banks.

Da Nang International Airport (Da Nang City)

  • Location: Money exchange counters can be found in the arrivals area.
  • Popular Banks: Look for counters from the major Vietnamese bank.

Additional Tips

  • ATMs: Consider using an ATM to withdraw VND directly. Check with your bank beforehand to understand their international fees.
  • Credit Cards: Major credit cards are widely accepted in Vietnam, especially in larger cities and tourist areas.
  • Tipping in USD: While USD might be accepted as tips in some touristy spots, it's generally more beneficial and respectful to use local currency (VND).

Jewelry stores and gold shops

Jewelry stores and gold shops in Ha Noi:
  • Quoc Trinh Gold Shop: 27 Ha Trung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. It is 2 minutes walking distance from the Vietnam National Tuong Theater.
  • Kim Linh Jewelry: 67 Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. It is 2 minutes walking distance from Hanoi Ancient House.
  • Tu Binh Jewelry: 54 Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. The jewelry shop is across Queen Hotel Hanoi.
  • Phu Van Jewelry: 25 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hang Buom Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. The jewelry shop is located across Vietnam Guest House.
  • Manh Hung Jewelry: 51 Ha Trung, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. It is 2 minutes walking distance from the Vietnam National Tuong Theater.
  • Hanoi Money Exchange: 19B Hang Be Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. The shop is 5 minutes on foot from Hoan Kiem Lake.
Jewelry stores and gold shops in Ho Chi Minh City:
  • Ha Tam Jewelry Shop (Ha Tam Money Changer), 2 Nguyen An Ninh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is located across the West entrance of Ben Thanh Market.
  • Ben Thanh Money Changer, 30-36 Phan Boi Chau, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is located about 9 meters away from the West entrance of Ben Thanh Market.
  • Hoang Thu, 178 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Thanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is located across the North entrance of Ben Thanh Market.
  • Ben Thanh Jewelry, 166 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Kim Mai Gold Shop, 84C Cong Quynh Street, Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is located in Saigon Backpacker Area so that it is a favorite place for backpackers to exchange currency.

4. Guidelines for Currency Exchange in Vietnam

  • Carry your passport if you exchange a large amount of currency.
  • Before exchanging money, compare exchange rates offered by different banks or currency exchange providers. This ensures you get the best value for your currency.
  • Be aware of any fees or commissions associated with the currency exchange. Some providers may charge additional fees that can impact the overall value of the exchange.
  • ATMs in Vietnam are widely available, and using them to withdraw local currency can be a convenient and cost-effective option. You can learn about how to use ATMs in Vietnam.
  • Retain receipts from your currency exchange transactions. They may be useful for record-keeping, and some establishments may require proof of currency exchange.
  • Exercise caution when considering street exchange services. While they may offer seemingly attractive rates, the risk of scams or receiving counterfeit currency is higher. 

5. How to use currency in Vietnam in the right way?

After exchanging your currency for Vietnamese Dong, there are some important considerations to keep in mind for using the Vietnam Dong appropriately during your journey:
  • Paper notes denote smaller denominations, while polymer notes represent larger denominations. Keep that in mind!
  • The 20,000 Dong and 500,000 Dong notes share the same color, leading to confusion for many foreigners. A helpful tip is to exercise caution when using these notes, and don't let your eyes deceive you. While honest individuals will return your money, others may not. Good and bad people exist in every country.
  • If you're wondering about the acceptability of US dollars in Vietnam, the answer is yes; they are widely accepted in most cities. However, for a more favorable conversion rate, it's advisable to use Vietnamese Dong instead.
By following these guidelines, tourists can navigate the currency exchange process in Vietnam more effectively and ensure a smooth financial transition during their visit. KissTours hopes you will have a perfect trip in Vietnam!
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