Vietnam Facts & Figures
- Capital: Hanoi - North Vietnam
- Other Major Cities: Hue, Danang & Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Currency: VND - Vietnamese Dong (approximately 23,000 VND to US$1)
- Language: Vietnamese
- Population: 95.54 million (2017)
- Area: 331,210 km²
- Electricity Voltage: 220 Volt at 50Hz.
- Electricity Sockets: Power plugs – Type A: 2 vertical pins, Type C: 2 round pins,
Type F (also known as Schuko plug): 2 round pins
You will find more and more hotels in Vietnam will offer power sockets in the wall for all major power types. We have come across quite a few places but I would still advise to bring an adapter just in case. Hanoi power plugs & all over Vietnam tend to be the two pin types.
Vietnam accept two currencies in general, the USD & the VND (Vietnamese Dong).
USD is generally accepted in Travel Agents, Hotels and in the airport. But for local shops and restaurants it's probably best to deal in VND.
They will accept on some occasions but then you will not get the best rate when they work out the exchange to VND.
Vietnam Dong comes in varying denominations from 200 VND to 500,000 VND.
You will need to take care when handling this money because a couple of notes are quite similar. Tourists past and present get caught unawares when dealing with it and lose out, so keep an eye out.
Below we will show each denomination so you can stay clear of any mistakes in Vietnam.
1K, 2K & 5K
These notes are more common in Vietnam and will be issued as change. These are handy to have in your wallet/purse as they can be used to buy lighters, sweets, Bia Hoi (7k VND) or even left in tips jars. The doughnuts you see being carried around by the ladies officially cost between 2k - 3k per doughnut, don't be conned into thinking they are worth more.
10K & 20K
10,000 VND can buy you a large bottle of water, small snacks or in some Bia Hois, two glasses of beer, although nowadays the price is usually 7k VND.
20,000 VND used to be generally termed $1 but with the exchange rate changing over the years, its slightly less, but a good way to determine how much you have or how much something costs in the shops.
Now be careful with this note, it is slightly similar to the 500,000 VND note which is worth around $21, so getting a $1 and $21 note mixed up can cause you a bit of a loss, especially if grouped together in one payment.
Also, be wary when receiving change from taxi drivers or street vendors, this can be a regular occurrence and many can fall foul of this trick.
This is no doubt one of the most distinguishable notes amongst any in the VND currency, being red in colour and unmistakable when dealing with vendors and getting the right change.
With a value of around $2, this will get you a meal at lunch time with change left over for a drink too. It will also get you a little merry with Bia Hois at 7k VND a glass.
Pho Ga (Chicken Soup) or Pho Bo (Beef soup) for example will cost you in the region of 35,000 - 40,000 VND.
The green note is the 100,000 and another visibly different note from the others. This is actually worth in the region of US$4.30 now, but stick to US$4 when mentally making conversions in your head and you will be fine.
What 100K VND can buy you in Vietnam is quite a lot when you think a lunchtime soup costs around 30k - 35k VND, thats 3 meals.
Do see our scams page (coming soon) before you think 100k VND is a decent price to pay for 6 tiny doughnuts in the old quarter of Hanoi for example, don't make that mistake.
A 200,000 VND note is worth in the region of US$9 and can be annoying to lose this note in change at a restaurant or bar.
This can usually buy you a couple of days of street food, or a dinner for two at a restaurant such as New Day on Ma May street in . the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Don't go and buy 12 doughnuts this time from that doughnut lady you saw yesterday!
Now it's last but not least by any means, this is the big boy of the Vietnamese notes, 500,000 VND, yes that's half a million and is worth around US$21.
Some dodgy taxi drivers will attempt to distract you to try and grab these notes out of your purse or wallet and swap with a 20,000 VND note, being that it's a similar colour and folded up, maybe none the wiser.
Keep an eye on these and keep them separated from your smaller bills.
Finally, there is fake money being used in Vietnam, but only for religious ceremonies and the remembrance of loved ones.
These notes can be in USD or VND and along with paper clothes etc will be burned for their loved ones anniversaries to help in the after life.
Please keep an eye out for these, here is one shown above which is quite obvious but the USD notes maybe not so.