Since 1978, the Dong (VND, đ) has been the Vietnamese Currency, coming in notes with multiple zeros. Getting a grip on all those digits can be a challenge for those who first visit Vietnam. However, with a little time and practice, buying and spending Vietnamese dong, you will find that currency exchange was a piece of cake.
A Traveler’s Guide to Vietnamese Currency
The Vietnamese dong
For a long time ago, Vietnamese have stopped using the coins. That’s why we will go straight to the guide with VND notes, included paper and polymer.
There are 11 Vietnamese Dong notes in total nowadays: 200 VND, 500 VND, 1.000 VND, 2.000 VND, 5.000 VND coming in paper notes and 10.000 VND, 20.000 VND, 50.000 VND, 100.000 VND, 200.000 VND, 500.000 VND coming in polymerized notes.
However, 200 VND and 500 VND are rarely used. Hence, at most supermarkets in the center, you will be given candies as the change instead of 200 VND note or 500 VND note.
The 10,000 VND and 200,000 VND notes look the same so that sometimes foreigners are confused to use them. This situation is also the same with 20,000 and 500,000 notes. So be careful at relying on the number of the notes, not the color.
Can US Dollars be used in Vietnam?
Yes, but it is rare (and sometimes illegal). Using Vietnamese dong day-by-day gives you better value than using in US dollars. So you should exchange your money at banks or other authorized currency exchange centers.
Changing money in Vietnam
Getting your money exchanged makes the most sense, especially it will enhance your local experience, such as trying street-side food or shopping in the local market.
Understanding the exchange rate is an important thing if you want to understand the Vietnamese currency. The easiest way to bear in your mind is that 1 USD ~ 23,000 VND (01.2020).
Beside withdraw from ATMs, you can exchange currency at banks, hotels, kiosks, and freelance ‘black market’ money changers. There are many obvious risks when exchanging money on the street, so it is highly recommended to exchange money at proper banks or reputable hotels, but you should always check the rate. Moreover, never accept torn or damaged banknotes!
Tipping Culture in Vietnam
Money tips may be popular in the world, but it is still in its infancy in Vietnam. Tipping is not compulsory in this country, sometimes, it only happens at high-end venues.
Giving tips depends on many elements. Most of hotels or restaurants in Vietnam add a 5% to 10% service charge to bills. In other places, small tips will be greatly appreciated.
Nowadays, in some tourist cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi or Da Nang, tipping happens frequently.
With $100, you can go a long way in Vietnam. It costs around 35,000 VND to 50,000 VND to eat a “Phở” bowl. With 1,000,000 VND to 2,000,000 VND, you can enjoy a great dinner at some high-end restaurants. You can keep costs down by eating street food for every meal.
It is also a must-have experience that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Vietnam. Do you want to stay comfortably in good hotels? Just spend about 800,000 VND to 1,500,000 VND a day and you will be satisfied.
Getting to know Vietnamese currency or other currencies is just as fun as learning a new language. We hope this guide will be useful to you. Have fun being a Dong Millionaire in Vietnam!