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Kiwi with money questions

Auckland, New...
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752 posts
3 reviews
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Kiwi with money questions

What are ATMs like to use in China/Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos? I've never had a problem in Thailand so okay there. Are they secure? Reliable?

I'm travelling from New Zealand and will be only able to access NZ-based accounts while I'm travelling (so no joy for me with these fee exempt accounts Aussies and Brits seem to be able to get). So my choices are: (a) sucking up the high transaction fees and using my debit card, (b) pain in the butt travellers cheques in USD, (c) one of those Travelex Cash Passports, and/or (d) carrying a lot of USD around.

What do you think? How easy is changing TCs in these countries? Do you get good rates vs cash? I guess TCs are pretty good as they can be replaced if stolen...

Any suggestions/recommendations on what currencies I should bring from NZ or how I should manage my money would be much appreciated.

We have 3.5 weeks in China, 3.5 weeks in Vietnam, 1.5 weeks Cambodia, 2.5 weeks Laos and 3.5 weeks Thailand. We're budgeting NZ$140 per day for the trip between a couple. China is sorted for transport and accommodation (cheapy Tucan tour) and we'll be booking/pre-paying 2.5 weeks accommodation in Thailand. Will some other cover off major expenses seperately (e.g. Halong Bay cruise, all airfares, Gibbon Experience). I think this should be a pretty decent budget if we stick to this - equates to about NZ$1000 per week - and if we have a buffer of about NZ$200 set aside for 'surprises'.

Main concern at the moment is basically around the best and cheapest way for us to work with foreign currencies... :o)


*cross posted in some SE Asia forums*

Hanoi, Vietnam
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13,298 posts
58 reviews
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1. Re: Kiwi with money questions

Zillions of ATM's in Vietnam - use your Debit and take a cr card for emergencies

it's no biggie - you're overworrying!

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
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20,433 posts
72 reviews
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2. Re: Kiwi with money questions

We use a cash passport-type card to isolate those funds from our other accounts just in case, and our credt cards for hotel accounts etc. In VN at least they charge an extra 3% if you use your credit card.

As far as VN goes, forget the TCs as they aren't easy to exchange , expecially in the smaller towns.

Destination Expert
for Nha Trang
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5,711 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: Kiwi with money questions

Wow,lots of questions there.

Cambodian atm's only give out $us dollars.

Your budget is fine,no worries there.

Cash is king.If you feel comfortable carrying it.

In Vietnam cash your dollars(us or aussie)at the gold shops.Much better rate than the banks.They are found near the markets.

T/c are more trouble than there worth and not widely accepted.

If using atm's(in Vietnam)take out the max you can as your bank will charge you the same for a small or big transaction.

All the countries you are visiting love $us.

Have fun.

4. Re: Kiwi with money questions

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