In Vietnam, the used currency is Dong, but also American dollars. As if it weren’t hard enough trying to work out how much to the pound it is, we are also faced with another currency here.
Tours, hostels and hotels around town are displayed in dollars. Shops and restaurants are generally advertised in Dong, with the exception of some places having both currencies displayed.
This means that if you are not American or Vietnamese like myself, it gets really difficult to try and work out not only 2 but 3 different conversions, especially if you have bought both currencies.
As a result of this, you could potentially get conned out of money or highly confused at the very least. Unfortunately this happened to us as soon as we arrived in Vietnam.
On our way from the airport to Hanoi city centre, we somehow managed to be conned out of 1,980,000 Dong (£60) before we even arrived at the hotel! This was because the driver took my money off me as I was counting it (quite rudely as I was slow and he was getting bibbed) and decided to use both our dollars and dong together to make up a fee. Thanks to this we ended up paying £73 for a cab instead of £13!
Some words of wisdom and top tips from me to avoid any confusion:
1. Be aware of your money and how much it converts to (the iPhone app converter+ is really useful and can be used offline). Do this before you need to give any out. e. g sort on the plane, in the airport etc.
2. Be prepared with money you are to pay (get it out ready when you are going to buy)
3. My recommendation if you have both currencies is to take out one or the other for day/night trips and never combine the two.
4. Work out which currency works best for what you are buying.
5. Be aware of the exchange rate (it can change everyday!
You also want to take into account that change is given back in Dong so unless you have the right amount of dollars to pay for something, it may not be worth it.
Hope this helps. Has anyone been victim to this before with currency conversions and being conned?