What is the currency of Vietnam?

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Vietnam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, with its rich culture, beautiful landscapes, and affordable prices. For travelers planning a trip to Vietnam, it’s essential to know the country’s currency to avoid confusion and potential scams. Vietnam’s official currency is the Vietnamese đồng, which has been in circulation since 1978. In this article, we’ll explore the history, characteristics, and challenges of the Vietnamese đồng and provide tips on how to obtain and use it.

History of Vietnam’s currency

Vietnam’s currency has a long and complex history, dating back to the 10th century when Chinese coins were used as the primary means of exchange. During the feudal period, various forms of currency were used, including silver, gold, and paper money. However, the French colonial period marked a significant shift in Vietnam’s monetary system, with the introduction of the Indochinese piastre. After Vietnam gained independence in 1945, the đồng was introduced as the country’s official currency, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the đồng became the sole legal tender.

Today, the đồng is issued by the State Bank of Vietnam and is available in denominations ranging from 200 to 500,000 đồng. The đồng is also widely used in neighboring countries, such as Laos and Cambodia, where it is accepted alongside the local currency.

Characteristics of the Vietnamese đồng

The Vietnamese đồng is a non-convertible currency, which means it cannot be traded outside the country. Its exchange rate is determined by the State Bank of Vietnam and fluctuates daily. As of August 2021, the exchange rate is approximately 23,000 đồng to one US dollar. While the đồng is not considered a strong currency, it has remained relatively stable in recent years, with inflation rates hovering around 3% to 4%.

The đồng is available in both coins and banknotes, with coins ranging from 200 to 5,000 đồng and banknotes ranging from 10,000 to 500,000 đồng. The banknotes feature images of famous Vietnamese landmarks, such as Ha Long Bay and the Temple of Literature, and prominent historical figures, such as Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap. When handling đồng, be sure to check the denominations carefully, as the banknotes can look very similar, and some vendors may try to take advantage of tourists by giving incorrect change.

Characteristics of the Vietnamese đồng (cont’d)

The physical appearance of the đồng has evolved over the years, with new designs and security features added to prevent counterfeiting. The current banknotes are made of polymer, which is more durable and resistant to water damage than paper money. The coins are made of various metals, including copper, nickel, and aluminum, and feature images of the country’s national symbols, such as the lotus flower and the one-pillar pagoda.

Compared to other currencies, the Vietnamese đồng is relatively weak, meaning that it has a lower value than many other international currencies. However, this also means that Vietnam is an affordable travel destination, with low prices for food, accommodation, and transportation. When exchanging money, be aware that some banks and exchange booths may charge high fees or offer unfavorable exchange rates, so it’s best to shop around and compare rates before making a transaction.

Several factors can affect the value of the đồng, including political stability, economic growth, and inflation rates. The Vietnamese government has implemented various measures to promote stability and growth, such as reducing interest rates, increasing foreign investment, and controlling inflation. However, the đồng remains vulnerable to external factors, such as global economic downturns and fluctuations in the price of commodities such as oil and rice.

How to obtain and use Vietnamese đồng

There are several options for exchanging currency in Vietnam, including banks, exchange booths, and hotels. Banks are generally the safest and most reliable option, but they may charge higher fees and require more paperwork than other exchange booths. Exchange booths can be found throughout major cities and tourist areas, but it’s essential to be cautious and check the exchange rate before making a transaction. Hotels may also offer currency exchange services, but these are often more expensive than other options.

When using đồng in Vietnam, it’s important to be aware of the denominations and their values. The most commonly used banknotes are the 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 đồng notes, while the coins are used for smaller purchases. Many vendors and restaurants may not accept credit cards, so it’s best to carry cash when traveling in Vietnam. ATMs are widely available in major cities, but they may charge high fees for foreign transactions, so it’s best to check with your bank before using them.

To avoid scams and counterfeit money, it’s essential to handle cash carefully and check the banknotes for security features, such as holograms and watermarks. Be wary of vendors who refuse to give change or who try to swap out your banknotes for lower denominations. Using a money belt or keeping cash in a secure location can also help prevent theft or loss.

Challenges and criticisms of the Vietnamese đồng

Despite its stability, the Vietnamese đồng faces several challenges and criticisms. The most significant challenge is inflation, which has been a persistent problem in Vietnam for decades. Inflation erodes the value of the currency, making imported goods more expensive and reducing the purchasing power of consumers. The State Bank of Vietnam has implemented various measures to control inflation, such as tightening credit and reducing government spending. However, these measures have not always been effective, and inflation rates have remained relatively high.

Another challenge facing the Vietnamese đồng is counterfeiting. Counterfeit đồng notes are widespread in Vietnam, particularly in tourist areas, where vendors may try to pass off fake notes to unsuspecting travelers. To combat this problem, the State Bank of Vietnam has introduced several security features into the banknotes, such as holograms and watermarks. However, counterfeiters have also become more sophisticated, making it challenging to detect fake notes.

To improve the stability of the đồng, the Vietnamese government has proposed several solutions, such as increasing exports and reducing imports, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism. These measures aim to increase the demand for the đồng, which would help to strengthen its value and reduce inflation rates.


In conclusion, the Vietnamese đồng is the official currency of Vietnam and has been in circulation since 1978. Despite facing challenges such as inflation and counterfeiting, the đồng has remained relatively stable and is widely accepted throughout Vietnam. It’s essential for travelers and businesses to understand the currency of Vietnam to avoid confusion and potential scams. When traveling in Vietnam, be sure to exchange your currency at reputable exchange bureaus and check your change carefully. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy all that Vietnam has to offer without worrying about your finances. As a brand that provides updated articles on various aspects of Vietnamese culture, including traditional customs, art, cuisine, tourism, people, and modern fashion, Cekici News hopes that this article has provided valuable insights into the Vietnamese đồng and its role in Vietnam’s economy.

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