As the weather gets colder, a lot of people are preparing for trips to somewhere warm like Southeast Asia. I’m going to give you some tips when you travel to Vietnam, the origin country of Pho.
As you might have already known, Vietnam is full of fun activities, delicious food and attractive places to visit.
Some of you may have heard of this ride-hailing app called GRAB. It is a must-have app in Southeast Asia because it allows you to ride a cab without having to bargain with the cab driver. It shows you the expected rate before you hop on so it is safe and easy. But remember to download GRAB in your own country before you arrive in Vietnam to travel. You will need a phone number to get a verification code when logging in for the first time. Many tourists complained they were not able to use GRAB because they bought a local sim card that only provides data without a phone number and was not able to log-in. By using the app, you can also check the history of how much you paid for and it comes in handy if you want to use it as a reference for future cab rides.
Money Exchange: YBEX
YBEX has finally launched their service in Vietnam. As you all know, YBEX is a famous money exchange platform that is a big hit in Hong Kong. Vietnam uses a currency called Dong, which is denoted as VND. Many travelers tend to exchange their own currency to USD first before exchanging it to VND using USD. A lot of us might have known that airport money exchange is usually the priciest. However, it is also confusing when it comes to choosing a local money exchange service shop to exchange your money at. That is where YBEX comes in handy. You can find local MSOs and their information easily based on which city you are. You can also compare rates between each MSOs and banks as well. Most MSOs registered on YBEX accepts KRW, so if you run out of USD or don’t bring USD at all, feel free to visit a registered local MSO and exchange VND from KRW.
Vietnam Travel Money Exchange Tips
- When you are using USD to exchange, 50 dollar and 100 dollar bills have better rates. Make sure you check the number written on VND currency as VND bills have different variations with the same picture on one side and it is difficult to differentiate.
- It is better to ask for different bill variations, as you may need the smaller ones for paying tips. You also might not be able to get back the changes after paying for a cab ride.
- Some stores don’t accept ripped bills, so make sure to check when exchanging to VND.
International Roaming and Data Usage
- International Roaming
You can keep your phone number to call and receive any phone calls or text messages in Vietnam. Most of the smartphones provide an auto roaming function that you can disable if you don’t wish to use it. It is usually cheaper to choose a specific roaming plan instead of using the auto roaming service, it’s better to check with your service provider first.
- Pocket Wi-Fi
It can be the cheapest option when there are many people traveling together and share one pocket Wi-Fi for data usage. It doesn’t require you to change your SIM card. But you have to carry the device with you and make sure that it is charged at all times. Also, you need to pick up and return at a designated place. There are reviews saying that pocket Wi-Fi does not work well in some of the cities in Vietnam. However, there are companies that offer compensation when the device does not work, so check with different service providers and choose the one that suits your situation best.
- Local Sim Card
The third and cheapest option is to buy a local sim card and use it in Vietnam while you travel. You can also get a sim card which provided with a Vietnam local phone number you can use. It is highly recommended to purchase it from Korea before you depart. Some people complained that they bought an unlimited data plan in Vietnam but it stopped working after a few days. Although it’s slightly more expensive than buying it in Vietnam, at least you got a guarantee from the seller when the sim card has problems. Also, make sure you don’t throw it away after your trip since you can just top it up you visit Vietnam again in the future.
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