The Vietnamese currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). It
is non-convertible, and is currently trading at approximately
29,000 VND to £1.00 GBP and 16,000 VND to $1.00 USD. The
largest denomination of notes in general circulation is
the 500,000 VND, worth about £17.50 GBP or $31.50 USD. The
rate of inflation against the dollar is low.
have recently been introduced as an alternative for low-value
notes, but they are not popular.
rates are more or less the same in banks and currency exchange
points, and slightly higher in licensed gold shops.
the cities and tourist centres, US dollars are usually acceptable
in shops, restaurants and hotels, but not by street traders,
'cyclo' drivers and so on. You should make sure that you are
familiar with the exchange rate and know in advance how much
you need to pay and how much change to expect.
main trap for tourists is paying inflated prices when unfamiliar
with the system and the currency. It’s probably easier to
change your money into local currency and concentrate on getting
used to it. Trying to pay in dollars gets complicated – with
such large numbers, the conversion is tricky unless you're
a whiz with a calculator.
are now commonplace in the cities, and nearly all accept the
main credit cards. Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged for
local currency, but are hardly ever acceptable in lieu of
cash or credit cards.
The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR).
It is also non-convertible, and is currently trading at around
7,500 KHR to £1.00 GBP and 4,100 KHR to $1.00 USD. Inflation
practice, the US dollar can be used as an alternative currency
in the cities and towns, so there is no real need to buy Riel
Credit card facilities in Cambodia are limited, but US dollar
travellers’ cheques are easy to exchange for cash in Phnom
Penh and Siem Reap. The Australian ANZ and a local bank have
combined to create the ANZ Royal Bank. The new venture is
introducing the country's first international ATMs. However,
it will be a long time before cash machines appear outside
Phnom Penh, and possibly Siem Reap.
Thai Baht is also acceptable in the west of the country.
The official currency in Laos is the Laotian Kip (LAK). Once
again, it’s non-convertible, and is currently trading at around
19,000 LAK to £1.00 GBP and 10,500 LAK to $1.00 USD. The inflation
rate is unstable.
the Kip is the official currency, the US Dollar and Thai Baht
are widely acceptable. US dollar travellers’ cheques are easy
to cash, but credit card facilities are minimal and ATMs non–existent.