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Old Jan 25th 2017, 6:03 am   #1
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Default Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

We're going on a week's break from here in the Phils to Vietnam in around 5 weeks time for my better half's birthday (changing planes in Bangkok via GenSan and Manila).

I've sussed the ideal way to transfer currency from the UK to the Phils (especially since we got a joint PHP account with BDO) but I really don't know what to do for the best as regards the Vietnam trip, or come to that, the few hours each way stopover that we'll have in Bangkok airport.

Here in Koronadal it's difficult to change sterling into PHP, only USD seems to be universally accepted by the banks. One of the pensions which will fund the day to day stuff of the trip is sitting in my UK bank account. What's best? Transferring the UK funds into my Peso account and then converting/taking US Dollars over to Vietnam or taking Pesos across to Thailand/Vietnam? Do I change funds at the airport in Hanoi?

I know that with multiple currency conversions I'm going to get screwed but I don't want that to be too painful - ease of transaction is the prime objective and reasonable conversion rate a secondary one. Just wondering if anyone has any experience of this financial route.

I'm also cross posting this into the Philippine sub-forum to get some input on that end of things.

Thanks

Alan
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Old Aug 13th 2017, 8:09 am   #2
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

Good idea to ask about this one. We recently visited Vietnam from Malaysia. I naively took Malaysian Ringgits to exchange at the airport. When we landed we were told the money changers there would not exchange Ringgits and we would have to visit a bank in town. Needless to say the bank exchange rate was a right royal rip off.

A better bet would be to use a debit card in one of the ATMs in Vietnam. There will of course be exchange rate penalties and a small charge from the local bank but much better than changing cash. Stronger currencies attract the most competitive rates so if you still have a debit card associated with the bank holding the funds to pay for your trip this is by far the best solution.
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Old Aug 13th 2017, 12:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

Thanks, my experience echoed your comments with one proviso. Using an ATM was the best option, but there was a fixed-cost element which was the same irrespective of the amount drawn out. This meant that it's more cost effective to draw out a few larger amounts rather than lots of smaller amounts.
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Old Aug 14th 2017, 7:26 am   #4
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulman1949 View Post
Thanks, my experience echoed your comments with one proviso. Using an ATM was the best option, but there was a fixed-cost element which was the same irrespective of the amount drawn out. This meant that it's more cost effective to draw out a few larger amounts rather than lots of smaller amounts.
Is it easy to find an ATM in Vietnam which accepts foreign debit cards? Or would it be wise to also carry e.g. USD or Euro cash as backup solution?
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Old Aug 14th 2017, 7:39 am   #5
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

My experience was limited to Hanoi where there were plenty of ATMs, they all seemed to be members of the major international banking networks, eg Cirrus. I had no problems whatsoever using my Visa Debit card to withdraw cash. Take care carrying too cash, but take note of my caveat above on the size of cash withdrawals. There is no value in carrying Euros, but we found in Hanoi, anyway, that hotels would routinely quote prices in USD. I would suspect that this would be the same in any other big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City or other major tourist locations.
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Old Aug 15th 2017, 12:21 pm   #6
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

Thank you soulman1949
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Old Sep 18th 2017, 6:49 am   #7
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Default Re: Foreign currency advice please for Vietnam?

Just to add my two cents, if you're coming to HCMC there is no real value at all in bringing dollars apart from to pay the $50 when you land for the visa. I haven't seen a single place advertise that you can pay in dollars so don't do what I did and bring half VND and half USD because I just ended up changing my USD to VND.

As Soulman has said, there are many ATM's where international debit cards are accepted, just be wary of charges, so banks will charge you an ATM fee and a foreign transaction fee so I've just been using my card. It's quite handy because you put your pin in and then sign the receipt to verify the amount, so there's no danger of getting scammed.
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