Setting your feet onto Vietnam, or any foreign country of all, you are going to need money to complete all the transactions. With all the initiatives to push for the wide application of cashless transactions, Vietnam is getting to the state where most transactions are done by cards or mobile apps. 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 authentic local experience. And these are some good money exchange spots in Ho Chi Minh City for you to consider.
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 bad exchange rate. You will usually get the lowest rate out there here. If it is absolutely necessary to have some Viet Nam Dong, paying for a taxi or bus for example, then you could get a small amount of money there, but no more than that.
A money exchange kiosk and an ATM at Tan Son Nhat Airport
Banks are everywhere and they are very competitive in offering Viet Nam Dong at the best rate. The popular big banks that you should note are Vietinbank, Vietcombank, Agribank, BIDV, etc. Alongside with them are the ATM 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
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 which is opposite from 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 exchange rate you get.
Xuan Hung Gold Shop
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, 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 found yourself coming there, those are some exchange spots that you can look for. Binh Thanh is right next to District 1. To get there from Le Thanh Ton Street, it takes approximately 1 hour of walking or just less than 30 minutes on a motorcycle. Roughly the same amount of 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.
If you got patience and time, it’s best to thoroughly inquire about the exchange rate of each spot. There are many money exchange spots in Ho Chi Minh City, but of course, not all of them offer the same rate. To get the best rate, you should collect information by inquiring about the exchange spots about their exchange rate. Then after you have made your decision, 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, but it will be more expensive than to pay 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 will be said 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 get taken advantage of by bad people out there.
VND 20,000 and VND 500,000 notes
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 in case 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 concern), 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 with you. 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 important too.
Due to the nature of the strong US Dollars (or Euros and British Pounds), after an exchange, you will probably hold a hefty amount of Viet Nam Dong. Holding too many smaller notes will lead to the 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 and scam you. So try to find a balance, 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.
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
At the airport exchange places, it’s simple and convenient, you give them your currency and you receive back what it worth in Vietnam Dong. The bank will require your passport, airline ticket, and also inquire about your purpose of currency exchange. Depend on the purpose, the amount of money you can exchange will vary. 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 any needs of documents, much like the airport exchange places.
At the ATM, you can use your debit or credit card 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 high withdrawal fee (around 1 to 3 percent), low maximum withdrawal limit (VND 2,000,000 per day). Foreign banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered, CitiBank have a higher maximum withdrawal limit but still with the accommodating high fee.
Money is extremely necessary 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 regarding this matter in the comment section below, we will try our best to answer you. And check out our tours in Ho Chi Minh City for a safe travel plan that might alleviate your headache concerning money matters.
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Is there a limit on how much currency a gold shop can exchange? For example, would they be able to exchange $4000 Australian dollars for VND in the one transaction?
It depends on the currency and the gold shops (whether they have enough money for the exchange). But if the amount is too large, the safest option is the local banks
Hoang Pham from i Tour Vietnam
Thanks for your interest in our blog. Most gold shops have money exchange services, but they cannot do so for a large sum of money.
We have a blog on Money Exchange Places in Hanoi that you can have a look for more information.
Nice discussion. Nowadays im using mobile apps to exchange money. I can negotiate the rate before i walk thousands of steps. need to be more global but i believe it will be soon. Donnow if there are some others. Never use airport offices. they are all cheaters, unfair rates or high commission rates. Just wanted to share my experience.
I will take your advice.
One question if I may. My flight does not arrive in HCMC until 1AM. Will there be a currency exchange counter open at that time so I could exchange a small amount to cover my taxi fare?
Shops are closed at that time. We suggest exchanging at the reception when you get to your hotel or at the airport where you'll be departing from. Most taxi will take credit cards but don't rely on it.
Here are more guides you might find useful:
While most restaurant and shops in the city accept credit card, we recommend cash. You can save on credit card transaction/conversion fees. Hope this helps.
Hi I live at Vo Thi Sau want to get on the bus to the Airport, where can I join the airport bus from my street? Thanks Patrick