How To Exchange Money In Vietnam

how to exchange money in vietnam


Money exchanges are a vital part of traveling abroad. A clear understanding of the process can protect your budget from unnecessary expenses, reduce hassle, and allow you to make the most out of your hard-earned money. When travelling to a country like Vietnam, known for its distinct culture and vibrant economy, it's crucial to understand the nuances of its financial infrastructure. Here’s a guide to help you navigate through the process of exchanging money in Vietnam.

Understanding Vietnamese Currency

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It's essential to familiarize yourself with the notes. Frequently used denominations are 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000, 100000, and 500000 dongs. Acquaint yourself with the look and feel of these to avoid scams that take advantage of currency confusion.

Exchanging Money Before You Travel

Before you embark on your trip, consider converting a small amount of money to VND. This small safety net will cover costs such as taxi fares or snacks before you find a suitable exchange rate. However, beware that rates in your home country are likely to be less favourable than those in Vietnam.

Exchanging Money at Airports

Upon arrival, one of the easiest places to exchange money is at the airport. There are several exchange booths with signs clearly stating the rates. However, convenience comes at a cost. Exchange rates at the airports are generally quite poor compared to other options. This option is recommendable only if you need a small amount of local currency at short notice.

Exchanging Money at Banks

Banks in Vietnam provide reliable money exchange services. Take your passport with you as identification is typically required. Vietcombank, Sacombank, and VietinBank are among the trustworthy banks with good rates. The transaction fees vary between banks but are generally low. Remember, exchanging or withdrawing large amounts might require notifying the bank in advance.

Exchanging Money at Gold Shops

Gold shops in Vietnam are an unconventional yet popular place to exchange money. They often offer competitive rates and speedy services. Look for gold shops along busy streets or inside big markets like Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Be cautious and check the amount received thoroughly before leaving as miscalculations can occur.

Exchanging Money through Credit and Debit Cards

ATMs are widely available in Vietnam's cities and many tourists choose to withdraw cash directly. Inform your bank about your travel plans to ensure your cards work abroad. Be aware that foreign card transactions typically have a fee and not all Vietnamese ATMs accept foreign cards. To reduce costs, consider withdrawing larger amounts less frequently.

Using Mobile Apps for Money Exchange

Modern technology has introduced new ways of exchanging money, like using mobile apps. Money transfer and exchange apps like Transferwise are convenient and offer competitive rates. However, ensure your app tops up from your home currency to VND and that you can withdraw the money easily in Vietnam.


Cash is king in Vietnam, but the realm of money exchange extends well beyond the typical 'cash for cash' transaction. It's a dance of numbers, a lively play of values, and a test of nerves. But with a basic understanding, you can navigate the marketplace, find the best rates and protect your budget from unnecessary costs. Remember always, to haggle politely for goods, double-check your change, and be alert for scams. With these tips, you'll be well-prepared for a hassle-free Vietnamese money exchange experience. Safe travels!