How do you Carry Currency when Travelling to Vietnam?

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Vietnam, a land steeped in ancient history and adorned with breathtaking natural beauty, beckons travellers from across the globe to embark on an unforgettable adventure. From the emerald rice paddies of the north to the sun-kissed south beaches, Vietnam offers a captivating tapestry of experiences that will forever etch themselves in your memory.

As you plan your dream vacation to Vietnam, it’s essential to consider the practicalities of currency and expenses to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your Vietnamese adventure:

VND Currencies

The Vietnamese đồng (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam.

Coins and Banknotes

Coins are rarely used in Vietnam; banknotes come in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000 VND.

The most common banknotes are the 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 dong notes. The 100,000 dong note is less common, and the 200,000 and 500,000 dong notes are rarely seen.

What is the best currency to use in Vietnam as a tourist?

As a tourist, the best currency to use in Vietnam is the Vietnamese đồng (VND). It is the country’s official currency and is widely accepted internationally. While significant currencies like USD and EUR are also accepted in some tourist areas, exchanging your currency for VND before or upon arrival is generally advisable. It ensures that you get the best exchange rate possible.

Carrying Money To Vietnam From India

1. Avoid buying Vietnamese Dong in India

  • Buying Vietnamese Dong (VND) in India is not advisable.
  • Converting INR to VND in India often involves a 15-20% markup, significantly reducing travel funds.
  • For initial expenses like airport taxis or street food, convert a small amount, such as Rs 5,000, and avoid converting your entire travel budget to VND in India.


  • Exchanging Rs 1 lakh for VND in India could cost between Rs 1,15,000 and Rs 1,20,000 due to exchange rate margins.


  • Don’t be daunted by the large numbers on VND banknotes. Due to its devaluation, locals often omit the last three zeros. For instance, 500,000 VND is commonly called 500, and 1,000,000 VND is frequently called 1,000.

When reading price lists:

  • A price tag of 89 means 89,000 VND.

2. Buy USD instead

  • The most economical way to carry money to Vietnam is by converting INR to US Dollars (USD).
  • USD is globally accepted and readily available for exchange.
  • Converting INR to USD in India incurs a minimal exchange rate margin of around 1%.
  • While USD cannot be directly used in Vietnam, converting it to VND upon arrival is cost-effective.
  • USD to VND conversion typically charges a mere 0.3% margin.
  • This two-step conversion method is the cheapest, as evident from research and traveller experiences.


  • Mr. X exchanged Rs 1 lakh for USD in India.
  • Considering the exchange rate (05 Oct 2023), Rs 1 lakh equals approximately 1,200 USD.
  • An additional 1% conversion fee in India would cost Rs 1,000.
  • Upon reaching Vietnam, converting USD to VND would incur a 0.3% fee of 3.6 USD or Rs 300.
  • The total conversion loss would be Rs 1,300, significantly lower than directly converting INR to VND.


  • Avoid currency exchange at Vietnam’s airport. Instead, opt for local markets for better rates.
  • Allocate 70% of your travel budget to USD currency notes.

3. Carry a Unimoni Forex Card/Travel Card

Always use a preloaded travel card, such as Unimoni’s One Currency Card, to manage your expenses during your Vietnam trip. Load USD onto the card and convert it to VND or any other local currency as needed. It will help you avoid the high fees associated with international debit, credit cards and ATM withdrawals.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use your Unimoni forex/travel card to manage your currency needs during your trip to Vietnam:

Before your trip:

 1. Load your Unimoni Forex/Travel Card with USD: You can load your card with USD at any Unimoni branch or through their online portal. USD is a widely accepted currency, so that you can use it for most transactions in Vietnam.

Upon arrival in Vietnam:

 1. Withdraw VND from ATMs: You can withdraw VND from ATMs using your Unimoni Forex/Travel card. The ATM will automatically convert the USD on your card to VND at the current exchange rate.

 2. Make payments using your Unimoni Forex/travel card: You can pay at POS terminals in shops, restaurants, and other establishments. The transaction will be processed in VND, and the conversion will be done automatically.

 3. Monitor your card balance and transactions: You can track your card balance and transactions online or through the Unimoni mobile app.

4. Swiping & ATM Withdrawal

When using international debit or credit cards in Vietnam, a foreign currency conversion fee of around 3.5% is applied. This fee is charged for converting your INR balance to VND and may not be immediately visible but will appear on your card statement later. Withdrawing cash from ATMs in Vietnam is more expensive than using credit cards due to the various charges involved:

 1. Foreign currency conversion fee: A 3.5% charge is applied to the withdrawn amount for converting it from INR to VND.

 2. Card usage abroad fees typically range from Rs 100 to Rs 300, depending on your card provider. Additionally, 18% GST is levied on this fee, amounting to Rs 18 to Rs 54.

 3. Foreign ATM fee: The bank operating the ATM charges a fee for its usage, usually between 55,000 and 60,000 VND, which translates to approximately INR 200.

Where to Change Currency in Vietnam?

While significant currencies like USD and EUR are accepted in some tourist areas, exchanging your currency for VND upon arrival/as necessary in small denominations is advisable. Banks, currency exchange booths, and some hotels offer currency exchange services.


Banks are the most reliable places to exchange money in Vietnam. They offer competitive exchange rates and are widely available in major cities and tourist destinations.

Currency exchange booths

Currency exchange booths are another convenient option for exchanging money. They are often located in airports, tourist areas, and shopping centres. However, comparing exchange rates before exchanging money at a currency exchange booth is essential.

Jewellery stores

Jewellery stores are a good option for exchanging money in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh Market area. They often offer competitive exchange rates and are less crowded than banks or currency exchange booths.


Many hotels offer currency exchange services, but their rates may not be as competitive as banks or currency exchange booths. It is always a good idea to compare rates before exchanging money at your hotel.

Tips for changing and using money in Vietnam

Here are some tips for changing and using money in Vietnam:

  • Use banks or reputable currency exchange booths. Banks are the safest place to exchange money, but currency exchange booths are also widely available and offer competitive rates. Avoid exchanging money on the street or from unauthorized vendors.
  • Carry a mix of small and large denominations. The Vietnamese đồng (VND) comes in denominations from 1,000 to 500,000 VND. Combining small and large denominations is good to avoid breaking large bills.
  • Be aware of scammers. When travelling in Vietnam, be cautious of scammers who may offer to help you exchange money or make unsolicited offers.
  • Know the exchange rate. The exchange rate fluctuates, so knowing the current rate before you travel is a good idea. This will help you make informed decisions when exchanging money and spending money.

By following these tips, you can ensure financial safety in Vietnam.


When embarking on a journey from India to Vietnam, managing your finances wisely is crucial for ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience. We have seen so many tips in this article. By following these tips and making informed decisions, you can effectively manage your finances and make the most of your Vietnamese adventure. Remember, thoughtful financial planning is integral to a fulfilling and enjoyable travel experience.

If you’re looking for a reliable Forex/Travel Card on your trip to Vietnam, Unimoni’s card is the optimal choice. While your Unimoni Forex/Travel Card should be sufficient for most transactions, carrying some cash as a backup is always a good idea.

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