Update: as of November 1st, 2023: the USD/VND rate is 24,567
Setting your feet on Vietnam, or any foreign country, you will need money to complete all the transactions. With all the initiatives to push for the broad application of cashless transactions, Vietnam is getting to the state where cards or mobile apps do most transactions. However, it is still far away. Vietnam is still definitely not a cashless country. So we sincerely advise aspiring travelers like you to always have some cash on you for the everyday transactions that you will have once you are here, especially if you’re interested in an authentic local experience. And these are some good money exchange spots in Ho Chi Minh City for you to consider.
Money Exchange Spots in Ho Chi Minh City
Exchange money at Airport and Banks in Ho Chi Minh
Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you can see the exchange place with a huge sign saying “Currency Exchange.” These spots are notorious for having a lousy exchange rate. You will usually get the lowest rate out there here. If it is necessary to have some Viet Nam Dong, paying for a taxi or bus, for example, you could get a small amount of money there, but no more than that.
Banks are everywhere and very competitive in offering Viet Nam Dong at the best rate. The famous big banks you should note are Vietinbank, Vietcombank, Agribank, BIDV, etc. Alongside them are the ATMs positioned all around Ho Chi Minh City. You should have no problem spotting one, especially around the downtown area in District 1, backpacker streets like Bui Vien or Pham Ngu Lao.
Tourist-centric places like Nguyen Hue Streets or Saigon Square will most likely have money exchange services
Exchange money at gold shops in Ho Chi Minh
Now, here is some street knowledge. Gold shops are one of the best ways to exchange money in Ho Chi Minh City; you can get the best exchange rate and get the bang for your buck. Here are some addresses for you to consider.
2 Nguyen An Ninh Street, District 1
Opening hours are from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM daily
The exchange rate as of August 1 is USD 1 = VND 23,430; EUR 1 = VND 27,280; GBP 1 = 30,600
Ha Tam Gold Shop
1A Nguyen An Ninh Street, District 1
Opening hours are from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, daily
The exchange rate as of August 1 is USD 1 = VND 23,430; EUR 1 = VND 27,320; GBP 1 = 30,500
Mai Van Gold Shop
We strongly recommend these two spots for their favorable exchange rate, and getting there is simple. It is at the beginning of Nguyen An Ninh Street, opposite the West Gate of Ben Thanh Market. The West Gate is on the left of the Le Thanh Ton Street.
Ben Thanh Market West Gate
176 Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1
Opening hours are from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM, daily
The exchange rate as of August 1 is: USD 1 = VND 23,000 but USD 100 = VND 2,330,000; EUR 100 = VND 2,750,000
This is one of the aforementioned spots that will give a better rate based on how much you are exchanging. The more you give them, the better the exchange rate you get.
Xuan Hung Gold Shop
Binh Thanh District
312 Bui Huu Nghia Street, District Binh Thanh
Opening hours are from 7 AM to 7 PM, daily
The exchange rate as of August 1 is: USD 1 = VND 23,000 but USD 100 = VND 2,341,000; EUR 100 = VND 2,724,000
This gold shop is in the Ba Chieu Market area, on the left-hand side. Bui Huu Nghia Street crosses with the Vu Tung Street.
Mi Hong Gold Shop
4 Phan Van Han, District Binh Thanh
Opening hours are from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, daily
The exchange rate as of August 1 is: USD 100 = VND 2,342,000; EUR 100 = VND 2,720,000
Crossing Thi Nghe Bridge down towards Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street, Phan Van Han Street is on the right side of the intersection. Also, if you don’t turn right and keep walking on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Street, you could spot a Vietinbank.
Kim Phat Thi Nghe Gold Shop
Binh Thanh is also a very bustling district. If you find yourself coming there, those are some exchange spots that you can look for. Binh Thanh is right next to District 1. Getting there from Le Thanh Ton Street takes approximately 1 hour of walking or less than 30 minutes on a motorcycle. The exact time applies to travel from the Tan Son Nhat Airport to Binh Thanh District. On one of the routes from District 1 to Binh Thanh District – Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, you can spot the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The entrance is just a hair away from Thi Nghe Bridge.
Tips and Procedures for Money Exchange in Ho Chi Minh
If you have patience and time, it’s best to inquire about each spot’s exchange rate thoroughly. There are many money exchange spots in Ho Chi Minh City, but of course, not all of them offer the same rate. You should collect information by inquiring about the exchange spots and their rates to get the best rate. Then, after you decide, you can start to exchange money.
In Vietnam, the currency we use is the Viet Nam Dong (VND). The notes are 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000 and 500,000. US Dollars are accepted in many establishments like restaurants and hotels. Still, it will be more expensive than paying in Dong as the exchange rate is calculated and rounded up by the vendors in their best interest, not yours.
In everyday exchange, Vietnamese usually omit the thousands. So 1,000 will be said as 1 (or 1K); 100,000 as 100 (or 100K), and so on. Keep that in mind so the next time you bargain or ask for the price of something, you won’t be confused by the responses.
One more thing: the 20,000 note and the 500,000 note look vaguely similar because of the blue shade. The differences are the numbers on the obverse, the print on the reverse, the shades of blue on each note, and most noticeably, the size of the note. Please pay special attention to this so you don’t make the mistake of paying the wrong note and getting taken advantage of by bad people out there.
VND 20,000 and VND 500,000 notes
How to avoid scams when exchanging money in Ho Chi Minh
It is also advisable to calculate the amount of VND you will receive with the calculator on your phone, count the money you receive before you leave the exchange spots, and get a receipt of the transactions if you find errors. Once you leave the place, it will be harder for you to make complaints.
Like in a safe investment, you wouldn’t want to put all of your assets into one place. Having too much cash on you might lead to some complications, like getting pickpocketed, perhaps (Although if you got pickpocketed, losing money might be the least of your concerns), or losing some money when exchanging Dong back to Dollars at the end of your trip. That means you don’t have to carry a big wad of cash. However, in many money exchange spots in Ho Chi Minh City, the more you exchange, the better rate you will get. So, it’s vital to plan ahead how much cash you need to hold in hand. The kind of notes you get is essential too.
Due to the strong US Dollars (or Euros and British Pounds), you will probably hold a hefty amount of Viet Nam Dong after an exchange. Holding too many smaller notes will lead to a wad of cash situation. After all, you are traveling, not going to the strip club. But having only big notes, like the 500,000 ones, may entice bad people out there to try to scam you. So try to find a balance, and if possible, ask the exchange spot to give you the notes you want. Or better, you can find a reliable native to help you during the transactions, like our professional tour guide, for example.
At the airport exchange places, it’s simple and convenient; you give them your currency, and you receive back what it is worth in Vietnam Dong. The bank will require your passport and airline ticket and also inquire about the purpose of your currency exchange. The amount of money you can exchange will vary depending on the purpose. Gold shops are also as simple and as fast as airport exchange places. They work on a ‘’cash in, cash out’’ basis. You give them money, and they exchange it for you immediately without needing documents, much like the airport exchange places.
You can use your debit or credit card at the ATM to withdraw your money. The dispensed money will be in Viet Nam Dong. However, this should be used as a last resort for various reasons like a high withdrawal fee (around 1 to 3 percent), and a low maximum withdrawal limit (VND 2,000,000 per day). Foreign banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered, and CitiBank have a higher maximum withdrawal limit but still have an accommodating high fee.
In Summary of Money Exchange Spots in Ho Chi Minh City
Money is vital when traveling. Money is no light business either. We hope this article will serve you well in your journey to Ho Chi Minh City. Feel free to ask us any questions in the comment section below. We will try our best to answer you. Check out our tours in Ho Chi Minh City for a safe travel plan that might alleviate your headache concerning money matters.