Currency


The currency of Vietnam is the Dong. There are banknotes of 200 Dong, 500 Dong, 1,000 Dong, 2,000 Dong, 5,000 Dong, 10,000 Dong, 20,000 Dong and 50,000 Dong.

Exchange

In the middle of 1995 the exchange rate for one US Dollar in Vietnam was roughly 11,000 Dong. The extraordinarily low value of the currency unit makes you a Dong millionaire with only US $ 100 in your pocket. (Just for the record: in Turkey where one US Dollar exchanges for some 32,500 Turkish Lira, 35 US Dollars are enough to become a Lira millionaire.)

Over the years, the Dong has lost enormously in value. At the beginning of 1991 the parity was 8,000 Dong per US Dollar, in 1989 it stood at 3,500 Dong per US Dollar.

When the Dong had more value, at least officially, there was a black market where Dongs were sold at a substantial discount. With the Dong devaluated, black market rates are only marginally better than those offered at banks.

You may exchange Traveller Cheques in Saigon, Hanoi and larger provincial cities at the branch offices of the Vietcombank and the Vietnamese overseas export company Cosevina. It's easiest to exchange Traveller Cheques issued in US Dollars.

Outside the cities and tourist centres you will have almost no chance to exchange Traveller Cheques. You may find somebody willing to buy US Dollar banknotes but the exchange rate will be worse than in the cities.

Contrary to what is the case in Cambodia, it is not necessary to carry US Dollars in small denominations as alternative currency for day-to-day transactions. Even though you will first have to get used to the high figures, it is always best to pay bills in Dong.

Credit cards are by far not as well introduced as for instance in Thailand. Visa is the most widely accepted card; at some places in Saigon, you may charge to your Mastercard.

Banks are usually open from Monday through Friday (except on holidays) from 8 am to 11.30 am and from 1 pm to 4 pm, as well as on Saturdays from 8 am to 11.30 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Currency Regulations

Foreign visitors can bring any amount of foreign currencies into the country. Amounts of foreign currencies, which have been declared on customs form upon entry to the country, may also be taken out of the country. The import and export of Dong is not allowed.

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