Friday, 19 April 2013

Vietnamese Currency The Dong

Its always wise to get familiar with the money before you visit a county. At the time of writing (Apr 2013) 100,000 VND is just over £3 (or just under $5) So it is easy to work out that a Million Dong is 10 times that amount. 1 Million dong is just £30 ($47)
Update and in Jan 2015 while it has fluctuated slightly the above figures are now still correct.

The lowest value Note is 100 dong and it is virtually worthless it is .003p So if you tip someone 100 dong and they give you a funny look, that's the reason. While someone people might say well money is money at the end of the day, 003p!! Come on. 1000 dong is 3p (5c) and 10,000 dong is 30p (50c) If you walk around the markets you will see the locals trading in 1000 and 2000 dong notes quite frequently but really not much below that.

The Dong is a Closed Currency and the biggest effect that means to a traveller is that you cannot obtain Dong from any other Country in the World. You can only draw it on arrival in Vietnam. Update on this in UK at least you can now order Dong to take with you. After a few checks at present the exchange rate is better in Vietnam than it is in UK. So it is still better to use the cashpoint rather than take currency with you. That is always subject to change, and is of course personal choice, but at least now it is an option.

Obviously that does mean that the Cash Point machines at the Airports are in great demand. There are plenty of them and they are easy to find, but they are often empty. There is often a 2 to 8 Million limit on Cash Points and they do vary. Often in more rural areas the limit is lower than at the airport for instance. This can cause a problem if you have to pay cash for a hotel bill, you should plan in advance if you are aware that you need to pay cash. It is not the normal to pay cash, but it does happen in smaller hostels and hotels, so this advice is more useful to backpackers. Large hotels will usually be paid for before you arrive, or by debit/credit card when you leave.

What I normally do is to arrange for the Hotel to pick me up from the Airport and then find a cash point machine close to my hotel. It is certainly worth taking a back up debit/credit card just incase you encounter a problem, but that is advice general to travelling not particular to just Vietnam.

One other tip is that most places will not accept ripped or torn notes, you shouldn't accept any either, mostly the notes are in good condition and often brand new when obtained from a cash point.