Millionaire for a Couple of Days: A Vietnamese Dong Guide

Did you know you can become instant millionaires in Hanoi? Yep, you read it right. When you booked that ticket going to Vietnam and you exchange your travel money to Vietnamese Dong, you will become an instant millionaire.

Imagine yourself as a millionaire traveler in Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s like living in a dream with lots of money to spend and buy whatever you want or go to wherever you wish. Sounds great, right? Well. . . not really. Being a millionaire in Vietnamese Dong is far from the real deal. Read on and find out what it is like becoming a millionaire for a couple of days when you travel to Vietnam.

Vietnamese Dong

Where to convert money to Vietnam Dong?

First things first, Philippine peso must be converted to Vietnam’s currency – the Vietnamese Dong (VND).

Since I have read that Vietnamese Dong is not easily available, before our trip to Hanoi I had our travel money converted to US Dollars (the global currency) with plans of converting it into Vietnam’s local currency as soon as we arrive in Hanoi airport.

On a side note, I saw some money changers in NAIA Terminal 3 but I am not quite sure if Philippine Peso can be converted directly to Vietnamese Dong in there.

We arrived at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi at around 3:00 AM and after passing the immigration check and retrieving our luggage, we were led to the money changer kiosk by our designated driver for the airport pick up service. The money changer is open 24 hours and is located at the right side past the arrival area. We had some of our money (in US Dollars) exchanged to Vietnamese Dong before proceeding to our hotel.

If for whatever reasons you don’t want to convert your US dollars at the Noi Bai International Airport money changer, fret not because there are other places where you can convert/exchange them. Examples are banks, jewelry shops, money changers, and some hotels in Hanoi. Lakeside Palace Hotel, the hotel where we stayed for 3 days accepts any currency as payment and allows currency conversion. It is where I had my remaining US Dollars converted to Vietnamese Dong and my leftover dong to US Dollars before going back to the Philippines.

Also, it is important to note that the exchange rate at Lakeside Palace Hotel and at the money changer in Noi Bai airport are the same, so better choose which one is accessible and convenient to you.

Exchange Rate

Currency exchange rate when we went to Hanoi:
1 US Dollar = 22,000 Vietnamese Dong 

At the airport, I had my 200 USD exchanged to Vietnamese Dong and got VND 4,400,000. That’s 4 Million and 4 Hundred Thousand Dong! Wow! Instant millionaire! See? Didn’t I tell you earlier you’ll become millionaires in Vietnam?

Vietnamese Dong Guide

For first time Hanoi travelers and for first time Vietnamese Dong millionaires, one might find it difficult to familiarize themselves with these bank notes. I mean, with all the zeros in it, who wouldn’t, right? Unless of course if you are really good in money matters and in Math. But for someone who’s not (I’m pointing a finger at myself here), it was really confusing. It was a struggle every time we pay for the entrance tickets, taxi fare, food, souvenirs, and everything else. It took us some time to get it right and choose the appropriate bill. Note: Calculators are available in some establishments.

Lucky for you dear readers, if you have plans to travel to Vietnam anytime soon, this post is for you. These photos of Vietnamese Dong will serve as a guide and will give you an idea about their local currency so that you won’t find yourself as confused as I was.

The symbol for Vietnamese Dong is VND. It is available in the following denomination (please refer to the pictures):

VND 1,000
VND 5,000
VND 10,000
VND 50,000
VND 100,000
VND 200,000
Vietnamese Dong 500k
VND 500,000

Note: Photo of the VND 20,000 bill is not included here because I didn’t have one when I took these pictures.

Did you notice anything? The VND 10,000 and VND 100,000 looked the same because they are both green in color. Be very careful with the multiple zeros and take your time counting the zeros (applicable to all banknotes) before paying anything.

Use small denominations when paying for taxi rides or street foods. Use the money with higher denominations to pay for your food in restaurants or hotel accommodations.

Also, torn bills are not accepted so it is best to double check every time you accept your change after paying for any goods and services in Hanoi.

How much things cost in Hanoi?

A bottle of water cost VND 15,000
A typical street food like this cost VND 20,000 per order

A ref magnet souvenir cost VND 20,000 each
Taxi fare from Hoan Kiem Lake to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum cost VND 27,000
Entrance Fee at the Temple of Literature cost VND 30,000 per person
An ice cream scoop from Kem Trang Tien ( famous ice cream shop in Hanoi) cost VND 12,000
Lunch at KFC in Hanoi for 3 pax cost VND 240,000
Lunch at Rainbow Restaurant for 3 pax VND 632,000
Hotel accommodation for 3 days including airport service – VND 3,289,000

Easiest way to convert VND to Php without using a calculator

Let’s face it, when we are in a different country, every time we buy something we tend to convert the price into our own currency, the Philippine Peso. At the back of our minds, we wanted to assess if a certain something is cheap or not based on our own standards.

When in Vietnam, if it can’t be helped and you wanted badly to convert Vietnamese Dong (VND) to Philippine Peso (Php), here’s an easy way to do so:

Remove the last 3 zeros from the price and multiply the number by 2. For example, a souvenir shirt worth VND 50,000. To convert to Philippine Peso, remove the 3 zeros, so what’s left is the number 50. Then multiply 50 by 2. That means the  VND 50,000 souvenir shirt is worth Php100 or approximately $2.27.

What did I learn from this trip?

I learned that it is not easy managing and spending all that millionaire money in Hanoi, Vietnam. The struggle may be real but the feeling of being a millionaire for a couple of days is a fun and unique experience. I also learned that if you don’t spend wisely, you’ll be broke in no time. And before you know it, all your Vietnamese Dong millions will be gone and you’re back to reality. So much for #adulting lessons in money management.

However, if you want to know how it feels like to become a millionaire for a couple of days, I strongly suggest choosing Hanoi, Vietnam as your next travel destination. Your trip will be worth it. 🙂

Happy travels!

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