Best Currency To Use For Vietnam, Cambodia, And Laos

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If you’re planning to travel to Asia, it might surprise you what currency you should use, where you should use that currency, and why you should use it.

In Vietnam, the standard currency is the Vietnamese Dong. If you plan on buying things within Vietnam, it would be good if you could have Vietnamese Dong for your expenses.  Cambodia and Laos use their local currency, but the US dollar is also widely accepted. In Cambodia, I could get US dollars out of the ATMs.

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Introduction: Embarking across Southeast Asia, specifically to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, presents an exciting quandary regarding currency usage. Each of these countries has its unique approach to currency, impacting how travelers should prepare financially. The Vietnamese Dong reigns as the primary currency in Vietnam, and carrying it for local transactions is advisable for a smoother experience.

Contrastingly, in Cambodia and Laos, while the local currencies (the Cambodian Riel and the Lao Kip, respectively) are in circulation, the US dollar is surprisingly prevalent and often preferred. Interestingly, in Cambodia, ATMs even dispense US dollars, offering a convenient way for travelers to access funds.

Understanding these currency dynamics is crucial for anyone planning a trip to these culturally rich and diverse countries, ensuring a hassle-free financial experience.

Best Currency of Vietnam

The best currency for Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong. Some menus are written in US dollars, but now most places have everything in Vietnamese Dong.

At the hotel, you may find that they may quote you a US dollar price, but then they ask you to pay in Dong. Some hotels will accept US dollars.

But generally, if a hotel, restaurant, or shop accepts US dollars, they may not give you the most favorable exchange rate. You are usually better off going to an ATM and withdrawing the Dong from the ATM to use that money in Vietnam.

Throughout all of Vietnam, there are many ATMs for foreign banks such as HSBC and Citibank.

For some reason, if you do not need US dollars, most Vietnamese will exchange their Dong for US dollars by going to the downtown areas of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh; they exchange the money at a shop such as a jewelry store. These stores act as foreign exchange banks.

Most hotels will also exchange your money for Vietnamese Dong.

Best Currency in Cambodia

Cambodia is one country in Southeast Asia where US dollars are widely accepted. I can withdraw money in US dollars when I go to an ATM in Cambodia.

Cambodia is very different from Vietnam; in Vietnam, we have a US dollar account, and the money that comes into Vietnam is in US dollars, but legally, we must exchange it for Vietnamese Dong. If we want US dollars, we must change them back into US dollars.

Unlike Vietnam, for Cambodia, the best currency for you to use is US dollars. Cambodia has its money, and often, when you give them US dollars, they will give you back the change in the Cambodian currency. You can still use the local currency in Cambodia, but most Cambodian shops, especially those selling to foreigners, widely accept the US dollar.

Best Currency in Laos

The US dollar is also widely accepted in Laos. Laos has its official currency, known as the Kip, but the US dollar is widely accepted for money transactions; it is good to have US dollar cash when you enter Laos.

You may go to many restaurants where foreigners frequently go and find the menu is in US dollars, not the local currency. A US dollar menu can be common in many places such as Cambodia and Laos and even some places in Vietnam.

Tips About Getting Cash In Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos

Well, I am traveling in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos. I usually withdraw money from the local ATMs for what I need during my visit. I typically find this convenient and more accessible than carrying a lot of cash into these countries.

Also, if you plan on using credit cards, you should know that many stores will charge you an extra percent for the use of credit cards.  They charge an additional percentage because the credit card companies will charge them this percentage, so they will pass that charge onto you.

Another thing you need to be aware that if you bring US dollar cash into any of these countries, make sure the money is clean and crisp; the US dollar cash should not be torn or have tape on it or any other issues. Asia does not like US dollars that look like they have been heavily used or are marked up.

Even for their local currencies, I have had shops refuse money if they felt the cash was not clean or crisp or had a small tear in them. The shops do not want to accept the currency because they may have difficulty using it in the bank.

Carefully check any money anyone, especially a shop, gave you, change for a taxi or restaurant. 

There is a lot of fake currency running around in these places, and if you are a foreigner and they think you will not notice, they may try to slip you a fake currency, especially if they get stuck with one.

None of these countries will accept US dollar coins. So do not try to pay anything in cash because they will not accept the US dollar coins. Instead, they will give you a chance of $.50 or $.75 in the local currency.

Listen To Our Podcast About Cash Chronicles: Navigating Currency in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Below or By clicking here.

Cash Chronicles: Navigating Currency in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos

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You can learn more by reading Vietnam Travel Visa, What You Need to Know Before You Go by clicking here.

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One response to “Best Currency To Use For Vietnam, Cambodia, And Laos”

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    I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.