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Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

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Southport, United...
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Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Hi,

Can anyone advise me on how much currency can be taken into the country as I have read it is restricted. I have been told to take US Dollars but would prefer to take an amount of UK Sterling if possible rather than all in Vietnamese Dong.

Also we are trying to book some internal flights from Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang but are unsure which is the most reliable airline having looked at Vietnamese Airlines and JetStar.

Is malaria prevention advised in this region as some say not.

Thanks

rural West Aussie
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1. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Do not take US Dollars or Viet Nam Dong. You would have to exchange the USD for VND anyway as that is the only legal tender there (though you will be quoted in USD as a frame of reference) so you would end up paying two lots of exchange fees. And if you buy VND outside of Viet Nam the exchange rate will be poor. If you want to take cash just take GBP and exchange it once you get there. Even easier is to take a debit card with no or low fees for overseas use and get cash straight out of ATMs.

Essentially you can take as much as you like but if you have over the equivalent of USD10,000 you have to declare it on your Customs form. I wouldn't think you'd need anywhere near that amount of money unless you're planning to stay for a very long time.

We prefer Vietnam Airlines for internal flights as we have found them more likely to be on time than Jetstar. If you book online do be sure to book directly with the airline through www.vietnamairlines.com Do not be fooled by other similar sites.

Southport, United...
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2. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Thank you very much for your helpful and quick response. I have found the information very useful.

Llanbrynmair...
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3. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Glenys, it is as YorkFoodie says it is.

I always use my debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs, plus about £100 in cash for emergencies such as the bank stopping my a card a day or two early (don't forget to notify your bank of your destination plus your departure and return dates) or an ATM swallowing my card out of banking hours. The latter has happened only once in the many months I've accumulated in Vietnam but I was very glad I had some cash to fall back on.

I took antimalarial pills (Malarone) a few years ago when I went to the Central Highlands region, where malaria was a slight risk then but isn't now. Since then I haven't bothered as the possibility of contracting it in Vietnam is miniscule.

Yorkie, the customs declaration card ceased to be issued to incoming travellers a couple of years ago, so presumably now it's ok to bring in a suitcase full of cash. Don't need a suitcase for my hundred quid though. :-)

Edited: 15 June 2012, 18:26
Southport, United...
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4. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Thank's CreakingBones very helpful info.:)

Da Nang, Vietnam
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5. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Bring some USD with you if that is your choice. They can be exchanged at jewelry shops and get a decent rate. Despite what some say virtually EVERY expat I know that lives in Viet Nam, and allmost all Vietnamese transfer USD to VND using this method without any problem. There are several large Jewelery stores on Tran Phu street in Da Nang (next to the Han Market) that offer a very good exchange rate.

ATM's are convenient, but append fees, including some that add foreign transaction fees on top of the regular fees.

Vietnam Airlines is reliable between SGN and DAD, but VietJet is the choice for many that travel the domestic route often as they are cheaper. I was rather leery at first after many bad experiences on JetStar, but VietJet has proven they are NOT Jetstar!

Edited: 15 June 2012, 18:35
rural West Aussie
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6. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

World Panda, the OP is from the United Kingdom and would have to make a special trip to the bank and incur a loss to get USD. He is unlikely to have nay just kicking around the house, unless he has recently been on a holiday to the US.

Eureka, CA
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7. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

As others have said, just take some emergency cash "just in case" and use your ATM card otherwise. There are ATM's all over. Just make SURE to notify your bank that you will be in Vietnam for whatever dates you are traveling. Also include any stopovers (we stopped in South Korea) in case you use your card there.

For internal flights we used Vietnam Air, I would book direct through their flight if I were you. Also the site tells you to have the card you purchase your tickets with present - they do ask you this so make sure to bring your card! I'm not sure how big a deal it is if you don't have your card as we had ours but just letting you know. Book early & you can find the super saver flights!

And as for malaria, I wasn't in a region that had any warnings so I didn't bother & I'm still kicking so... :)

We recieved extremely helpful info from individuals on this forum, if you need anything else feel free to ask away! This forum is SO helpful! Don't know what we would have done without it!!!

Da Nang, Vietnam
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8. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

YorkFoodie: I'm aware that he would have to make a special trip to the bank to get USD, but there is a reason why I carry USD whenever I travel to any country. USD are universally accepted as an alternate curreny in almost any country, and its wise to carry a few hundred USD for emergencies.

Do not depend on ATM machines in VIet Nam. While plentifull in the big cities they are much scarcer elseware, often break, and frequently run out of cash. You are still absorbing the bank's crappy conversion rate to VND, and a bunch of international transaction junk fees on top. I'm not suggesting to travel to Viet Nam with a boatload of UDS in your pockets, but carry enough for the majority of your cash transactions such as food and shopping. Stop by the local jewelry store and exchange in lots of $100 to get the best rate.

Edited: 15 June 2012, 21:19
Llanbrynmair...
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9. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Erm World_Panda my poppet there a few things in your post that might mislead visitors to Vietnam, and one teensy personal misunderstanding.

With regard to the latter, Glenys is a female name so 'he' isn't really appropriate - but I'm sure she'll forgive you for that!

Secondly, as a traveller from the UK (just as Glenys is) I have never needed USD, apart from the $25 required to pay for my visa on arrival at the airport. Even there, pounds sterling would probably be accepted but that is the one case where USD are advantageous, for a number of reasons that aren't relevant here.

As you know all too well, the Vietnam dong is the local currency and there is absolutely nothing that cannot be paid for with dong. Indeed if any vendor, hotel, travel agent or whoever demanded otherwise, that would be against the law. As for paying for street food, meals and/or drinks in local restaurants/cafes and small purchases from street traders, asking for the dollar price would no doubt cause great consternation, if not complete bewilderment.

Thirdly, there is nowhere - apart from tiny villages and some small towns where tourists are never likely to tread - where ATMs are not available. I'm not someone who favours the normal tourist haunts but I've never had a problem withdrawing cash from ATMs somewhere along the way.

Finally, the clampdown on exchanging foreign notes in jewellery/gold shops continues, and in the north at least it's now very difficult if not impossible for foreigners to exchange foreign currency of any denomination there.

In short, therefore, bringing USD is definitely not advantageous for tourists to Vietnam (especially if they have to exchange their own currency and incur the associated charges for so doing), although non-tourists who do business there might find otherwise. That, however, is beyond the remits of this forum.

Southport, United...
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10. Re: Few queries for a first visit ti Vietnam please

Phew !!!

Thanks to everyone who has replied I don't know if I am wiser or more confused ha ha !!(only joking).....It has been most helpful !!!

One more question I have thought....The Vietnamese Embassy in London wants me to pay a total of 50 GBP for a 30 day Visa but I note it has been mentioned above that I can obtain one for $25 at the airport although other sites advise that I may be refused entry on arrival if I do not have one ???

Any advice Guys !! Thanks

PS I am a female and Yes I forgive you !!! :)

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