The official currency is Dong. American dollars are however widely accepted in most big shops, high end restaurants and supermarkets.
Bank notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000d and 500,000 dong. Coins are not popular throughout Vietnam. The exchange rate is 21,000.00 dong to one U.S. dollar (as of May 2013).
You can exchange currency and cheques, preferably in U.S. funds, at banks, hotels and authorized money exchangers. Ask for bills in small denominations.Credit cards are generally accepted only in major hotels, and some up-market shops and restaurants in major cities.
There are several international banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with 24 hour cash withdrawal facilities, including ANZ Bank in Hanoi and HSBC in Ho Chi Minh City. You can use Visa and Master cards and debit cards (e.g. Cirrus). Please note that the Vietnamese Dong is non-convertible outside Vietnam, so change it or spend it before you leave!
Visa and MasterCard are becoming more accepted in many of the bigger hotels and restaurants, especially in the larger cities. ATM’s are widely available throughout the country, as well as a number of international banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
How much should you prepare for your spending in Vietnam? Allow $7 to $15 per meal for additional lunches or dinners not included in the trip price. You may also want to have some money put aside to try some local foods at the markets and street vendors.
Tipping is a personal matter, and passengers are encouraged to tip an amount they find appropriate. For your convenience we have included a tipping guide below; please however note that these amounts are suggestions. We encourage our passengers to reward guides based on their performance:
- Meal (restaurants): In smart restaurants you may find that the tip is already included, in other restaurants and local ones a tip is not expected but you may wish to leave loose change on the table
- Bellboy: average amount is $1
- Chambermaid: average amount is $1 per day
- Tips for guides are completely at your discretion, but here are some guidelines: $5-$10 per day for guides (depending on group size), $2-$5 per day per person for drivers.