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cyan

Managing Money in Vietnam

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cyan

What is the best way to manage funds while in Vietnam? I will spend my first few days in Saigon District 1, where I assume there are plenty of ATMs and that credit cards are accepted at some hotels, so no problems there. But what about further out from the HCM city center? My itinerary is still unplanned, but I am considering to passing thru one or more of Can Tho, Vung Tau, Mui Ne, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, maybe even up to Hue. My ideal trip would be to spend at least a week on a motorbike traveling through nowhere land with a nice Viet GFE companion, but I know that is unlikely to happen, so I will probably being doing some bus hopping with motorbike renting in between up the coastline.

 

In short, is it safe to rely on ATMs while traveling through vietnam outside the big city centers? If not what is the alternative? Travelers checks work great in Thailand, but I suspect not so well in Vietnam? If I bring in US dollars, is it better to convert them all to VND, or will I get better exchange rate if I keep some bills (say $20) in US currency? TIA.

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chucky67

Hi

 

You should have no problems at all with ATM,S as they are never far away.

 

Vietcom Bank accepts Mastercard / Visa etc either buy using ATM or cash advance from inside the branch.

 

Cheers

Chuck

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chucky67

Hi

 

You should have no problems at all with ATM,S as they are never far away.

 

Vietcom Bank accepts Mastercard / Visa etc either buy using ATM or cash advance from inside the branch.

 

Cheers

Chuck

 

Sorry,

And to answer your second question better to keep your money in US$ as you will end up with a pocket full of Dong.

 

The best place to change money is at the Gold Shops and these to are everywhere and offer by far the best exchange rate.

 

Try and pay for everything in Dong as you go as exchange rates at hotels / banks etc can be a big difference

 

Chuck

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Kangarooted

Im not an expert but i had a shocker with the whole US Dollar/Dong/ATM/TC conundrums and I can tell you this:

 

Didnt find a TC changer in the whole of Saigon.

 

Withdrew too many Dongs from the ATM after not checking the exchange rate - left over millions of them and the Money changers back at BKK dont accept them - dont ask me why? If anyone knows I can get rid of them at a changer in Patts let me know please.

 

I would also advise bringing a bunch of US dollars, and, since it seems you atre from there - no worries there then !

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chucky67

Im not an expert but i had a shocker with the whole US Dollar/Dong/ATM/TC conundrums and I can tell you this:

 

Didnt find a TC changer in the whole of Saigon.

 

Withdrew too many Dongs from the ATM after not checking the exchange rate - left over millions of them and the Money changers back at BKK dont accept them - dont ask me why? If anyone knows I can get rid of them at a changer in Patts let me know please.

 

I would also advise bringing a bunch of US dollars, and, since it seems you atre from there - no worries there then !

 

Yes agree better to carry USD with you and change as you go but if you need an ATM shouldnt have any problem finding one.

 

Atm's usually spit out 100000Dong or worse 50000Dong so $200 worth takes up alot of space.

 

I see now can change Dong at Changi airport so maybe at BBK can now as well ?

 

Just beware if carrying lots of cash especially in HCM that the pick pockets there are Furkin good

 

Chuck

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Edge

What is the best way to manage funds while in Vietnam? I will spend my first few days in Saigon District 1, where I assume there are plenty of ATMs and that credit cards are accepted at some hotels, so no problems there. But what about further out from the HCM city center? My itinerary is still unplanned, but I am considering to passing thru one or more of Can Tho, Vung Tau, Mui Ne, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, maybe even up to Hue. ......................................

 

Couple of us flew into Hanoi with nothing but plastic, bought motorbikes and travelled out to HaLong Bay then down to Saigon/HCMC through the places you mention.

 

No problem finding ATMs on the beaten track.

 

Trip Report HERE.

 

Have fun.

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cyan

Appreciate all the feedback from folks who have traveled there.

 

I picked up a book from the library and a couple of things of note that may help others:

  • You cannot bring Dong into the country. Which could go unstated because...
  • You cannot take Dong out of the country. It is illegal and the cash cannot be converted overseas. (Leaving you to find a friend who is about to come to Vietnam.)
  • By law shops can only accept Dong, but this is rarely enforced and US dollars are widely accepted.
  • Usually get more value out of your money if you pay for things in Dong, especially further away from big city.
  • Lots of ATMs in Saigon and Hanoi. Can be found (lesser numbers??) in major visitor centers. Some places of note like Sapa do not have an ATM.
  • Clean $100 bills get the best exchange rate. Small bills slightly lower.
  • Travelers Checks can only be cashed at banks in the major cities.
  • Upmarket hotels and restaurants take credit cards but expect 2.5% surcharge for Visa/MC, more for other cards.

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wackyjacky

Im not an expert but i had a shocker with the whole US Dollar/Dong/ATM/TC conundrums and I can tell you this:

 

Didnt find a TC changer in the whole of Saigon.

 

Withdrew too many Dongs from the ATM after not checking the exchange rate - left over millions of them and the Money changers back at BKK dont accept them - dont ask me why? If anyone knows I can get rid of them at a changer in Patts let me know please.

 

I would also advise bringing a bunch of US dollars, and, since it seems you atre from there - no worries there then !

Went to 6 banks & each one sent me to another who cashed TCs - NOT ! I'm Starwood Plat so I thought they'd take care of it at the Sheraton - NOT ! Gold Shop across the Street did with about an 8% bite though. A stack of 1s & 5s for moto's & taxis help in VN & Cambo too. wj

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dudebrah

Appreciate all the feedback from folks who have traveled there.

 

I picked up a book from the library and a couple of things of note that may help others:

  • You cannot bring Dong into the country. Which could go unstated because...
  • You cannot take Dong out of the country. It is illegal and the cash cannot be converted overseas. (Leaving you to find a friend who is about to come to Vietnam.)
  • By law shops can only accept Dong, but this is rarely enforced and US dollars are widely accepted.
  • Usually get more value out of your money if you pay for things in Dong, especially further away from big city.
  • Lots of ATMs in Saigon and Hanoi. Can be found (lesser numbers??) in major visitor centers. Some places of note like Sapa do not have an ATM.
  • Clean $100 bills get the best exchange rate. Small bills slightly lower.
  • Travelers Checks can only be cashed at banks in the major cities.
  • Upmarket hotels and restaurants take credit cards but expect 2.5% surcharge for Visa/MC, more for other cards.

 

Best to take USD cash and Change it in the gold shops , hunt around a little for the best rate . CAD is about 18000 VND / 1 CAD so USD should br around 19 000 . The banks and atms will give you at least 10% less not to mention service charges

 

That book is either old or incorrect beacause many places Openly accept USD including goverment offices , but they will almost certainly make a % on the exchange rates , especially hotels/restaurants

 

there are ATM.s absolutely everywhere

 

also theres not much point taking dong home or to thailand as i havent seen a place that will change them

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philkrenshaw

I was in Hanoi and Saigon last month. Many places, including my hotel, quoted their prices in US$, possibly because inflation in Vietnam is 9 or 10%. My hotel preferred to be paid in US$ over any other method. I changed $100 for Dong at the airport and still had some left 8 days later when I left. I spent that amount in an overpriced airport gift shop.

 

It is my understanding that you can cash your Dong back in at the airport, but you MUST show them receipts from when you got the Dong in the first place.

 

I think you get a little better price in Dong, so change some and have some small US bills in case the Dong run out.

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Doodie

You can buy and sell USD and/or Dong at the gold shops. As stated, the clean crisp $100's get the most when exchanging. Best to always use Dongs where ever you go. Atm's are everywhere. When are you going to Vung Tau? I'm itching to make the boat ride back there...

 

I was at the BKK airport in March and they did not accept Dong.

Edited by Doodie

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chucky67

You can buy and sell USD and/or Dong at the gold shops. As stated, the clean crisp $100's get the most when exchanging. Atm's are everywhere. When are you going to Vung Tau? I'm itching to make the boat ride back there...

 

Your a fan of Vung Tau Doodie ? been my home for 10yrs ... a nice spot

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Doodie

Your a fan of Vung Tau Doodie ? been my home for 10yrs ... a nice spot

 

I have only been there once, one day/night, got laid twice. Hell yeah I want to come back! :GoldenSmile1: I only scratched the surface, so much more I wanted to see and experience... Much more laid back than Saigon, if I can just figure out a way to get back down there... without the gf.

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chucky67

I have only been there once, one day/night, got laid twice. Hell yeah I want to come back! :GoldenSmile1: I only scratched the surface, so much more I wanted to see and experience... Much more laid back than Saigon, if I can just figure out a way to get back down there... without the gf.

 

yes a good laid back spot with some good bars etc etc .... hope to see you there sometime .

 

Vietnam girls can be real good fun as you no doubt already know.

 

And nothing is a hassle in Vung Tau ..anything possible

 

Chuck

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cyan

Vung Tau looks like a must stop. I will be arrive in Saigon within a couple of weeks, want to stay in the city long enough to understand how much time I should budget to stay at the end of my trip, before my departure out of the country. After SGN sounds like I must head first to Vung Tau before heading up thru Mui Ne or Nha Trang. Too many potential places to visit...but at least they all should have an ATM. :-)

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chucky67

Vung Tau looks like a must stop. I will be arrive in Saigon within a couple of weeks, want to stay in the city long enough to understand how much time I should budget to stay at the end of my trip, before my departure out of the country. After SGN sounds like I must head first to Vung Tau before heading up thru Mui Ne or Nha Trang. Too many potential places to visit...but at least they all should have an ATM. :-)

 

Vung Tau is 1 1/2 hour trip on a hydrofoil ferry from the center of HCM about $10 one way .... a good place to stay a few days ..and probably the best place in Vietnam to play up. many expat friendly bars (but nothing like Pattaya) ..

 

Red Parrot

Offshore Bar

Summer Wine

 

And quite easy to find a cheap girl friendly hotel.

Song Hong hotel

Offshore bar ( has good clean rooms out the back)

 

Dont know how your planning on traveling but the trains not a bad option and can get off where you want

Mui Ne

Nha Trang

Da Nang

Hue

etc etc all the way to Ha Noi.

 

Chuck

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Doodie

Cyan, when ya coming to Saigon? Shoot me a PM if you need a mini wing man, want to grab a bite to eat or just drink some beers. How long are you staying and all that good stuff? Have you got a room yet? I know a few GF hotels $20 and up. I'm no Vietnam expert but I'll help you out as much as I can. Maybe I can hit Vung Tau with you... :GoldenSmile1:

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cyan

Vung Tau is 1 1/2 hour trip on a hydrofoil ferry from the center of HCM about $10 one way .... a good place to stay a few days ..and probably the best place in Vietnam to play up. many expat friendly bars (but nothing like Pattaya) ..

 

........

 

Dont know how your planning on traveling but the trains not a bad option and can get off where you want

Mui Ne

Nha Trang

Da Nang

Hue

etc etc all the way to Ha Noi.

 

Chuck

Good info. I have not researched trains yet, but I imagine they will be more comfortable for long/overnight journeys. I will start in Saigon, but would like to make it at least as far north as Nha Trang. I would also like to make a detour into the interior of the country, whether that is Da Lat or some remote village. Hoi An/Hue also look quite inviting, so if I don't get stuck somewhere I would like to visit there as well. Ha Long bay looks like a place everyone should see once at least once in a lifetime, so I may get the itch to visit there, but I am also thinking of saving that one for some future trip back, since it will require a couple of days and/or additional plane ride.

 

Have you ever taken the "sleeping bus"? I was looking on the Sinhcafe Travel website last night and saw these sleeping buses and when I searched online to see photos and peoples comments they did not appear to be very comfortable. I am 6'+ tall, so the short seats/recliners do not look comfortable. It would save time to do some overnight travel overnight, but it appears there will be little sleep. I imagine the train is be better, but does it run less frequently?

 

Doodie, I will shoot you a PM.

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Gator001

You can also sell your dong back for USD in anumber of currency exchange shops around in Dong Khoi in saigon

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chickenlou

Hi Cyan,

Sleeping buses are good value and excellent way of getting about

although if you're bigger than 6ft it might be a bit cramped.

The sleeping bunks on the trains (not sure about livitrains) are pretty small

and hard as well but still a good way to get around and, as you say, save cash on hotels.

Check out www.seat61.com for info.

I'd definitely hit Nha Trang and Hue but found Mui Ne a bit boring.

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cyan

Thanks the Seat61.com website has a lot of good info about Bus travel in Vietnam.

 

A couple of other notes for future travelers:

  • If you are looking to book hotels in Vietnam online, this site looks like it has good potential, though it is surely incomplete and you may do better directly
  • This travelfish website looks to have potential, but I have not dug into it yet.
  • This Saigon Bars website looked a little commercial, but provides some info.

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cyan

Question about renting a motorbike. Will most hotels outside of Saigon/Hanoi have motorbikes or someway to get them for rental? Places like Nha Trang or Hoi An? If so, what is the average charge, is it $5/day or more/less. I ask because I read that the hotel will take your passport and that motorcycle rental place will also ask for your passport, creating a dilemma. When I casually looked on that hotels-in-vietnam websiste I see that a lot of them offer motorbike rental, but don't mention the price or restrictions.

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chickenlou

Don't know about riding bikes,

guess I wasn't brave enough

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cyan

Since this thread has expanded a little beyond money matters, and includes some things of general interest for getting around, I thought would post this Lonely Planet link from their Thorn Tree travel forum - Vietnam. I have only spent a little time reading so far, but if you are planning a trip to Vietnam to do some sight seeing I would recommend checking it out as there is a lot of good information.

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kgbagent

Since this thread has expanded a little beyond money matters, and includes some things of general interest for getting around, I thought would post this Lonely Planet link from their Thorn Tree travel forum - Vietnam. I have only spent a little time reading so far, but if you are planning a trip to Vietnam to do some sight seeing I would recommend checking it out as there is a lot of good information.

 

Take that LP FAQ with a grain of salt as some of that info is well out of date (i know as some stuff I posted in 2005 is still there) but it can be a good forum once u wade thru the same repetitious shite. Surely a site that needs vigorous moderation :CatDance1:

 

Cheers

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