US Dollars is widely accepted in Vietnam but it is best to bargain in dong. ATM is available in big cities. Avoid double exchanging, just need some for taxi and VOA stamping fee, then you can exchange aud in banks.
Do not bother getting US dollars. I have never, ever had the need for them. You will have trouble getting Dong in Aus so just exchange some Aus $ after you go through the final scanners at the airport. It is really simple. As Thuy says, there are ATM's everywhere and it is simple to wander into a bank and exchange your dollars for a good rate when you need them.
Remember when you are leaving to get rid of your Dong at the airport, unless you are returning to Vn, and in that case keep some for taxis etc... when you come back.
If you have an amercian express agent near you they can get you some Dong to start you off with but as Mark says use ATM;s when you are there just make sure you advise your bank before you leave that you will be in Vietnam, other than hotels I don't think many people trade in US dollars
Thank you for your responses. Marlene Ray I do not have an American Express Card but do travel with Mastercard and Visa cards.
I gather that it is better to have mostly Dong and maybe some American Dollars.
I was going to organise my Bank to get Dong for me but am now wondering if I should wait and get it once I arrive in Vietnam. What are your thoughts.
Just no need to get any Dong in Australia before you leave - the exchange rate you get here will be very average. And besides there are money changers and ATMs as soon as you clear the customs area. Change some AUD here if you like or just access the ATM so that you have necessary Dong for the taxi ride into town. The only foreign currency you need is enough USD for the visa stamp if you are doing VOA.
You wil get a lot more dong for your dollar in Vietnam (approx 18 to 19000 here... about 21000 there..bank, or better in gold shops or Chinese jewellers
We're just back from 16 days in Vietnam and only used Dong, with one exception.
I did try to get some Dong from NAB before I left but they don't stock it. As soon as we arrived at HCMC airport we used our ATM (remember to tell your bank that you are off overseas).
There are ATM's everywhere in Vietnam so you'll always be able to get some.
I ran into a few problems with my card but my wife had no issues - bizarre as they link to the same account. We also had a couple of ATM's saying "there is a problem with your account" so we just found another machine.
The only time we used AUD was in Hoi An when we paid for our clothes as we just happened to have AUD in our pocket and had run out of Dong.
I ran out of cash at the market in Saigon one day so the lady simply took me to an ATM - they really are everywhere !
Using ATM's is the best and safest method - means you don't carry too much and you get a better exchange rate.
To Haggis_Supper of Melbourne.
Thank you so much for your informative reply. I gather from what you say don't worry about getting Dong here just get it from an ATM machine once we arrive in HCMC.
We also have our cards linked so hope there is nothing to worry about.
On another note how did you enjoy Vietnam as a whole and how did you find the hotels you stayed in and the food. Did you eat from the street stalls?
You mentioned that you had clothes made in Hoi An - are you pleased with what you purchased and if you don't mind telling me where was that.
On the whole did you find Vietnam cheap or expensive. I have been told that imported goods to Vietnam e.g. Nike, Adidas etc are very expensive. How did you find it.
I look forward to seeing your comments.
Vietnamese use Vietnam Dong, It'd better if you use Vietnam Dong in Vietnam, however you also can use US dollars. Also you should use ATM machine to exchange it instead of carry so much money. In some market of Vietnam, there are pickpockets.
According to the bride the best place for shoes in HCMC was Luu van lang st on the eastern side of Ben thanh markets. Also got some bargains in Bui vien st in the Back packer area.
We bought 4 suits in Hoi an last year and they averaged about $75 each. We used Ao Ba ba Tailors and they were great. The bride got some dresses made from magazine clippings and they are all intact still. She also ordered one online from Australia afterwards and they made it and shipped it over.
The food is awesome and cheap and the street stalls are fantastic (use the ones doing a lot of business)