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4 Fun Things to Do in Vietnam

by Xchange Of America ~ August 27th, 2017

You can easily spend several months traveling in Vietnam and seeing all the sites, outdoor things to do and attractions, but it helps to narrow down the options so that you can see the particular places that you want. During your next trip to the country, you’ll want to bring plenty of Vietnamese dong with you so that you can buy all of the gifts, foods, and other items that you’ll need for your trip. As you plan your next trip to Vietnam, try out these exciting activities:

Hang Son Doong

The world’s largest cave was only discovered in 1991 and is located in Vietnam; a must visit if you are fascinated by caves or just want to say that you visited the biggest cave in the world. The translation for Hang Son Doong is “Mountain River Cave” roughly, and it’s so expansive that it could actually hold a skyscraper. There’s even a jungle inside of the cave. The cave is over 200 meters tall and 5 kilometers long, and the jungle in the café was formed when a roof in the cave collapsed and started to allow some light in. There are even monkeys, hornbills and flying foxes that can be found in the cave.

The Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh

Emperor Khai Dinh was certainly not a popular figure in his lifetime, but he created a vast monument to his life in a lavish and expansive tomb. There’s a golden effigy of himself in the inner chamber, stone elephants, dragons guarding the steps, and wrought iron gates welcoming visitors. Inside of the time are a variety of the emperor’s personal items. The walls are decorated with ceramic and glass. The emperor was considered to be a pawn of the French and the Vietnamese people were heavily taxed to pay the tomb and the indulgence he enjoyed during his life.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Water puppetry is something that is certainly unique to Vietnam, and you can experience it for yourself at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre near Hanoi. Here, puppeteers stand in waist deep water and use a system of rods to operate puppets on the water while concealed behind a screen, giving the impression that they are floating along the water. This talent has been handed down from one generation to another, with puppeteers undergoing a minimum of three years of training. Performances include live music with traditional tales and legends being depicted.

Cao Dai Holy See

This lavish temple was created by the Cao Dai movement which was founded in 1926 and has a number of Vietnamese adherents as well as others throughout the world. This temple and other Cao Dai temples are easy to distinguish with their vibrant colors. The religion incorporates beliefs from several others including Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and even venerates historical figures like Joan of Arc and Victor Hugo. Tours of the temple can easily be arranged, but you should be sure to not disturb any ceremonies that are being held. Buy Vietnamese dong today and enjoy these exciting activities.

What’s the Best Season to Visit Vietnam?

by Xchange Of America ~ August 24th, 2017

Vietnam offers several seasons that are worth visiting, and almost no matter when you visit you’ll be able to enjoy much of the country’s pleasant weather throughout the year. Most travel experts will tell you that much of the year can be pleasant to visit, especially during the dry season of October to March.

During the spring, March and April will have the lowest levels of rainfall and temperatures are very nice throughout the country. The far north of the country will be cooler this time of year compared to others. No matter when you plan on visiting, you should be sure to buy Vietnamese dong ahead of time so that you can enjoy the country’s unique attractions.

Winter is cooler

Vietnam can be quite hot in seasons outside of winter, so you can’t go wrong with visiting during the December to February season. During this time of year much of the United States is also cold. The season of October to March is dryer than other months, so you won’t have as much rainfall to deal with.

In the mountainous areas you can expect it to get cold, so if you plan on visiting those parts of the country you should be sure to bring warmer clothing with you. During these months you will also enjoy comfortable hiking temperatures so that you can explore the countryside and some of the more scenic and beautiful areas.

Spring is excellent for visiting

Vietnam remains significantly warmer in the spring, and the months between March, April and May are still excellent for visiting. In the spring, the north starts to get significantly warmer and remains dryer, which means that it’s a perfect time to visit the north. In areas like Ha Long Bay and Hanoi, temperatures will range in the 60s with occasional rain.

However, in the south the weather will be significantly warmer, between 70 and 90 degrees with more frequent rain. This means that it’s still a pleasant time to visit the south, and many of the beaches will often be packed with tourists. So it’s a great time of year to visit both regions and you’ll get to enjoy many outdoor activities.

Be sure to bring Vietnamese dong with you

It’s almost a must to buy Vietnamese dong before your trip, as there are several parts of the country that remain underdeveloped and lack credit card processing capabilities. Numerous vendors and small shops will require payment in cash, as well as other service providers like doormen or taxi drivers.

If you have enough of the local currency with you, you won’t be stuck in a situation where you have to miss out on a great souvenir or delicious food to sample. We offer you fast shipping when you buy Vietnamese dong on our website, as well as availability day and night, so feel free to make a purchase anytime. If you also have any questions at all about planning your trip to Vietnam, be sure to let us know ahead of time.

Weird and Interesting Vietnamese Foods to Try While Traveling There

by Xchange Of America ~ August 22nd, 2017

Vietnam is known for having some of the most unique and incredible street foods in the world, with a variety of options that will spark your curiosity or make you second guess whether or not you should try what you’re seeing. If you want to experience Vietnam and enjoy the different experiences in the country, you should try to buy Vietnamese dong before your travels. This way you’ll have enough currency with you to enjoy the best that the country has to offer, along with its wide range of unique and interesting street foods. Below are a few weird and interesting options that you should try during your next trip.

Duck Embryo (Trung vit lon)

Fetal duck embryos are definitely one of the more interesting Vietnamese foods out there, and very weird. You can find them in cafes and from street vendors. The dish is made from duck eggs that are almost hatched. They’re then boiled and served with herbs, salt, pepper, ginger, and lime juice. Certainly not for the squeamish, but a delicacy in the country that will give you some stories to tell your friends back home.

Snake Meat

Snake meat is eaten in Vietnam, and the venom is even used to make certain tonics and wines, as well as its blood and bile. Some people even eat the live beating heart of snakes. The snakes are typically brought to the restaurant live and then killed and gutted and cooked right in front of the guests. So, although this food item will certainly be fresh, most will probably think twice about eating it.

Dog and Cat Meat

As sad as it is to many of those of us who live in the West, both dog and cat meat are delicacies in Vietnam. They’re sold in particular parts of the country and during festivals. Although not everyone in Vietnam eats them, you can find dog and cat meat in certain parts of the country. This one probably isn’t your thing, but it’s best to be aware of this cultural practice if you’re traveling there.

Bo La Lot

This is a pretty standard dish. Bo La Lot is minced beef wrapped in betel leaves and then barbecued on charcoal. It’s served with a spicy sauce and topped with peanuts. This Vietnamese snack is delicious and you’ll find it at many street vendors, providing you with a high quality boost of energy when you’re trekking around town or through the villages.

BBQ items

This food isn’t weird, but you’ll find thousands of vendors offering BBQ foods throughout the country, as grilling meat and vegetables is very popular in Vietnam. Options range from seafood like fish, lobster, scallops, prawns, beef, chicken pork and more depending on what you’re craving. Best of all, the prices are some of the lowest that you’ll find anywhere. When you buy Vietnamese dong, you’ll be able to try all of the different BBQ foods that you are sure to encounter when traveling there.

Don’t forget to buy Vietnamese dong to try out weird and interesting foods there!

5 Awesome Vietnamese Gifts for Friends and Family

by Xchange Of America ~ July 31st, 2017

When we go traveling, we like to remember our trip by buying some souvenirs as reminders of our trip. Also, not to forget our friends and family, we it’s a good idea to take home some gifts. Here are some awesome gifts to consider.

1. Vietnamese lacquerware

This is not very widely known but the Vietnamese people have a long tradition in making lacquer ware. There are numerous lacquer factories to visit while you are there. Make sure you ask about the products before you buy. The price can range quite widely depending on the quality of the product.

The most popular items are the decorative lacquer bowls and plates. They sometimes come with a colored interior or even gold plating. The lacquer paintings are quite beautiful too, with images of birds, flowers, and trees.

You will find lots of colorful designs for bowls and the lacquer ramen bowls are recommended, as these look great and can be used for big bowls of pasta or ramen of course. These products are both beautiful and durable too. They are not just for visual appeal but can be for everyday use too.

2. Vietnamese Silk

Vietnamese silk is one of the more popular souvenirs to buy in Vietnam. You will find lots of shops selling these beautifully colored fabrics all over town. Again, the price range is quite vast so ask for details, compare and choose carefully. If you use Vietnamese dong instead of a credit card, you can usually get a better price for using cash.

Instead of just buying the material, you can order garments to be made there too. This service usually has a very quick turnaround of just 24 hours. These shops will sell ready-made articles like scarves and shawls too. These make great gifts.

3. Vietnamese coffee and coffee filter

When you visit Vietnam, you can’t help but fall in love with the local Vietnamese coffee. They call it Cà phê. The coffee is made in a uniquely Vietnamese way using a small metal drip filter. They use an Arabica coffee bean, either medium or coarsely ground with a flavor that is quite individual. Ground coffee and hot water are poured into the drip cup and it slowly percolates down into a coffee cup below.

This is usually sweetened with condensed milk. The most popular version of this coffee is the Iced version, called cà phê ?á which is the same coffee made like before and then poured over a tall glass of ice. Buying some dry Vietnamese coffee and a drip filter to make the coffee is a great gift.

4. Bat Trang ceramics

There is a unique quality to the Vietnamese Bat Trang ceramics. The don’t look like other Asian ceramics. You will usually find designs carved into the clay while it is still wet, prior to firing in the kiln. The result is a colored ceramic pot or bowl with interesting features carved on it like flowers and animals. A Bat Trang tea set with a tea pot and cups will make a nice decorative gift.

5. Bamboo products

Bamboo products are getting more popular in Vietnam. They make some very useful home wares with bamboos like trays, jewelry boxes and other containers. When you buy these off the street stalls, use your Vietnamese dong to pay and you will often get the best deal. These are light weight and practical gifts to take home.

5 Unique Vietnamese Street Foods to Try

by Xchange Of America ~ July 30th, 2017

Eating out in Vietnam so cheap. You can have a really satisfying meal for a small amount of cash. Most the street food stalls serve delicious food and it’s very popular with locals and visitors alike. Just make sure you buy Vietnamese dong before you get there as these places often only take cash.

1. Pho

Pho in Vietnam is ubiquitous. It is such a staple that you will find it everywhere. Basically, it is just rice noodles in soup with a variety of ingredients like basil, meat, spring onions, cabbage and more. You can’t miss seeing the rows of low tables set by the side of a road, filled with locals slurping big bowls of noodles.

There are so many versions of this dish and it varies from stall to stall. The soup base is one of the most important elements of this dish. It should be a rich beef stock with some roasted aromatic spices.

Soft rice noodles are softened in hot water and put in a bowl. This is then topped up with the soup and some slices of beef, tripe, meatballs or even chicken. Fresh, raw herbs and vegetables are used as toppings like mint, basil and bean sprouts. If you like it spicy, add some sliced chilies of chili sauce.

2. Bun chath is a dish that is so simple but delicious. It’s a bowl of rice noodles, topped with fragrant grilled meats and smothered in a very umami rich sauce made with fish sauce. You usually get a plate of fresh herbs to add to the noodles. Just tear some up and mix it in the noodles.

This dish is special as the marinated meat is grilled over a hot charcoal fire which gives the meat a nice smoky flavor.

3. Banh Xeoth is really a very eggy pancake or it’s sometimes called oyster omelet. When you order this dish, it comes with the plate of fresh herbs and vegetables too. To eat it, take a piece of crepe, wrap it around some of the herbs and spices, then wrap this in a piece of lettuce and dip it into a bowl of Vietnamese fish sauce.

4. Goi cuon or summer rolls are fresh and refreshing rice paper wrapped rolls. They are not fried like spring rolls. You will find all types of fillings for these rolls, from shredded pickled vegetables to shrimp. Again, you dip them into umami rich fish sauce.

5. Bahn Mi

The Bahn Mi is a leftover from the French colonial era. They still bake baguettes every day long after the French colonial presence left here, and the locals have elevated the plain baguette to a very unique Vietnamese sandwich, the Bahn Mi.

In some places, the Bahn Mi fillings are cold cuts, slices of roast pork, sausages, pickled vegetables, a fish sauce based sauce and sprigs of cilantro. In the north, it’s more traditional French cuisine with pate fillings or similar options.

In Vietnam, you will see food carts by the side of the road selling these sandwiches. This street food has been so popular that the concept has been exported to the US. You will find this in food trucks to food courts all over now.

Top 5 Souvenirs to Buy in Vietnam

by Xchange Of America ~ June 27th, 2017

Anybody familiar with the experience of traveling knows that souvenirs are a huge part of the travel experience. Sifting through items that are culturally tied to the country you are visiting is a fun aspect of the trip in and of itself; however, buying something from a local shop allows for the item to serve as an important reminder – a memory – of the trip and the destination that offered you such a rich and enjoyable experience.

It is important to note that when buying souvenirs from locally owned shops and street vendors in foreign countries it is a good idea to have and use the currency of the destination country.

For instance, when visiting Vietnam, it is a wise idea to buy Vietnamese dong ahead of time for use in these locally owned shops. Many local shop owners will have little to no use for United States Dollars and will only accept Vietnamese dong so it is crucial to plan ahead of time and have this currency on hand in order to buy the souvenir you have had your eyes on. Without further ado – here are the top 5 souvenirs to buy in Vietnam.

The first souvenir is one that will immediately remind you of Vietnam – the conical straw hat. These hats are famously connected with Vietnamese farmers working in rice fields and will surely offer an immediate memory when it catches your eye far after the trip has ended, drawing you back into those amazing memories you made whilst enjoying the Vietnamese culture.

The next souvenir is less specific. Vietnam has wonderful handmade embroidery that can be found on all kinds of items. Everything from bags to scarfs and purses with Vietnamese embroidery can be found available for purchase in Vietnamese markets.

Guoc Moc is the third Vietnamese souvenir that is a popular purchase and for good reason. These wooden clogs, used by both men and women in Vietnam, are not as popular today as they were in the past Vietnamese culture; however, they are still masterfully crafted and found available for purchase in stores across the entire country.

Handmade musical instruments are also a popular choice of souvenir in Vietnam for travelers near and far. Everything from flutes to drums made out of bamboo can be found in nearly every store in the country. Masterfully crafted and painted with designs that a reminiscent of Vietnamese culture, these handmade musical instruments are sure to be a reminder of good times had on the trip to Vietnam.

The final souvenir in the top 5 souvenirs to buy in Vietnam is the hand fan. While this is less tied to Vietnam and more tied to Asian culture in general, travelers cannot go wrong choosing to buy a beautifully crafted and wonderfully designed hand fan as a souvenir and friendly reminder of their trip to Vietnam.

While each of these is a wonderful souvenir from Vietnam to choose from, it is important to remember that many of these items – depending on what shop they are found in – will only be available for purchase using Vietnamese dong. For this reason it is crucial that travelers ensure they have the necessary funds to purchase these souvenirs with by buying Vietnamese dong ahead of time.

5 Unique Vietnamese Snacks to Try Abroad

by Xchange Of America ~ June 26th, 2017

International travelers describe traveling to exotic places near and far as an exhilarating experience. Seeing and learning about the history and culture of a country, taking in the incredible sights, and experiencing the best attractions the destination countries have to offer are just some of the experiences that get people hooked on international travel. While all of these have their appeal, it is important to note one of the most important, and most overlooked aspects of any culture – the food.

Food only adds to the experience that much more, and in Vietnam this is especially true as Vietnamese food is often very inexpensive for American travelers to dine on. Here are 5 snacks that travelers must try while in Vietnam.

First up is the grilled Vietnamese rice paper. This dish is most commonly found in Ho Chi Minh City and is Vietnam’s version of pizza! Paper topped with egg, cheese, chicken, banana, green onions, and virtually any other vegetable one can think of is how this dish is created. With the variety and options available the possibilities are endless. Just load up what you like and take a bite.

The next dish is pork and sausage skewers. This one is just like it sounds, kebabs of pork and sausage slowly grilled over an open flame. This is a late night to early morning snack in Vietnam and offers a great chewy and tender texture. This dish is served with a side of chili sauce and pickles to add to the overall flavor. This simple but delicious dish will be sure to leave travelers happy and coming back for more.

The third snack is a dish that can be eaten as lunch, dinner, or a snack. The most popular Vietnamese dish – pho. Pho is essentially a noodle soup that can also contain anything from chicken to beef to pork. This dish can be found almost anywhere in Vietnam and costs and average of 2-3 United States Dollars.

The fourth snack that travelers should try in Vietnam is Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad. This dish is served with dried beef in and is essentially a salad with the contents all held together within a rice paper bowl. Common ingredients in this snack include green mango, dried beef, quail egg, shrimp, peanuts, and thin strips of rice paper.

The final snack travelers should try in Vietnam is the Vietnamese spring roll. Another popular dish almost as popular as pho, this is exactly what it sounds like – a spring roll with a Vietnamese twist. Popular ingredients in this dish include beef sausage, shrimp, egg, and several different vegetable choices all held together inside a crunchy exterior.

While each of these sounds delicious regardless of where they are bought, they are most delicious when experienced in a raw sense from local vendors. Often times these local vendors only accept the currency of their home country so it is important when planning out a trip to Vietnam to Vietnamese dong ahead of time to ensure that you are able to dine on these incredible Vietnamese snacks.

Tips for Preparing to Travel to Vietnam

by Xchange Of America ~ June 24th, 2017

Any traveler knows that preparing for a trip takes a lot out of anybody. With all the stress and worry of making sure everything is packed and that nothing has been forgotten, it is easy for a peaceful trip or vacation to turn into a totally chaotic disaster in the blink of an eye. These tips will help any traveler as they prepare to travel to the great country of Vietnam.

Tip 1 – Make a checklist of items you need to pack and have ready for the day of the trip

While you want to make this list ahead of time and use it to ensure you have everything the day of the trip, you want to start getting these things together in advanced, not the night before your flight. This will help everything stay organized and be a visual reminder that nothing is getting left behind without you knowing about it.

It should be noted that one of the items on this list should be “buy Vietnamese dong”. Going into a foreign country without their currency can prove to be a catastrophic mistake for any traveler so it is a good idea to buy Vietnamese dong ahead of time using an online application or website like Dinar Inc. to ensure this task gets done as quickly as possible.

Tip 2 – Map out everything you want to see

Vietnam is home to many attractions from cities, to breathtaking bays, to historic towns, to peaceful hillsides. It is important to know who is going in your travel group whether it be just you or anyone else. If a history buff is going, historic towns like Hue should be on the list of places to visit. Mapping out your trip based upon what you want to see and get accomplished may seem like a daunting task for those who want to see it all; however, mapping out the trip will allow you to see almost everything you want to see if you keep a tight schedule.

Tip 3 – Pack ahead of time

Packing ahead of time will ensure that if you don’t have something you may need, whether it be an article of clothing or anything else, that you have ample time to go out and buy that item before leaving. If your bathing suit does not fit and you want to go swimming in Halong Bay, you might want to discover this before you are about to board your flight.

Tip 4 – Research popular restaurants in the city

Researching popular restaurants in the city ahead of time will allow you to experience the very best that Vietnam has to offer in terms of its food. The best places to truly experience the raw culture of Vietnam won’t be in the franchise restaurants and shops, but rather, they will be in the family owned restaurants and shops.

Travelers that follow these tips are sure to have a pleasant visit to Vietnam that is safe, friendly, and as fulfilling as it can possible be.

Why Vietnam Remains a Top Travel Destination for Americans

by Xchange Of America ~ May 31st, 2017

Out of the hundreds of countries that travelers have their sights set on, Vietnam stands out for American travelers for a variety of different reasons. The country has everything a traveler could wish for and more. The culture is rich and fun to explore, there are various attraction both man-made and natural, cities, towns, farms, natural areas to explore, world-renowned food choices, just name it and Vietnam has it.

Let’s start with the food. Vietnam is known for its world-renowned cuisines that are as authentic as they get. Sure, imitations can be purchased in any major city in America, but the authenticity of Vietnamese cuisine is only found in Vietnam in such cities as Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese cuisine is not only absolutely amazing when it comes to taste, but it is very inexpensive for Americans to purchase due to the dollar’s strength compared to the Vietnamese dong.

Next, we have the sights. Vietnam is home to a variety of different spectacles for the eye to feast upon. The first of these stunning sights is Halong Bay. This incredible water view is home to thousands of limestone islands scattered within the bay. Some of these islands even contain caves and caverns that can be explored so whether travelers enjoy the sun and the sea or the dark adventure of exploration, they will be highly entertained.

Hue, a historic town, is filled with rich history dating back to the 19th century sure to have any history buff happy as soon as they enter the city walls. Once Hue has been fully explored, travelers can travel to any one of the many destinations within range of the town limits to experience even more history that Vietnam has to offer.

Ho Chi Minh City is the main city in Vietnam and is the most similar location in Vietnam to a typical American city – chaotic and busy. This is where most Vietnamese cuisine can be found. Lastly, the Sapa Countryside gives visitors an astounding, natural view of rice fields built into the mountainside – a truly gorgeous sight.

While the sights, sounds, and food are undeniably a large draw for Vietnam, the low budget required for Americans to visit is ultimately a key driving force in why Americans continue to go back and visit Vietnam.

With Vietnamese dong being valued so low compared to the United States Dollar, it is easy for Americans to save a little bit of money and visit Vietnam, living like royalty as they do so. It is easy for Americans to live and visit Vietnam because of how inexpensive the average cost of goods and services is.

Hotels, food, travel, and tours are ultimately much less expensive than other destinations for Americans due to the dollar’s strength against the Vietnamese dong relative to the dollar’s strength against other currencies. The dollar’s strength allows for very little money to be spent on a trip to Vietnam once airfare is paid for and offers Americans the most bang for their buck when comparing to the majority of other destination possibilities.

5 Unique Vietnamese Foods to Try

by Xchange Of America ~ May 26th, 2017

Vietnam is known for its breath-taking sights, rich history, and culture; however, Vietnamese food is one of the components that draws people into Vietnam and keeps them coming back for more. Not only is it incredibly tasty, but it is extremely inexpensive to American travelers. With the strength of the US dollar, travelers that buy Vietnamese dong are sure to enjoy these dishes at remarkably low prices. Here are 5 unique Vietnamese foods that travelers must try.

First up is the most popular and well known dish in the catalog of Vietnamese cuisine: Pho. Anyone who knows anything about Vietnamese cuisine knows all about pho. Pho can be found anywhere in the cities of Vietnam from street stalls to high-end restaurants. Pho is served with either chicken and beef and is essentially a noodle soup dish. The three key components of any pho dish are fresh herbs, soft noodles, and clear stock. Anyone who goes to Vietnam must try this famous Vietnamese dish. This dish will typically cost anywhere from 2 United States Dollars to 3 United States Dollars – a bargain for a tasty, filling meal.

The second unique Vietnamese food that visitors must try is Com tam – translated into English as “broken rice”. This is essentially a slab of rice served with grilled pork chops, shredded pork, and pork skin seasoned with various vegetables including cucumber, tomato, pickled vegetables, and prawn paste cake. This dish is mainly served in the mornings as a breakfast. Com tam can be bought for as little as one US Dollar and 50 cents.

The third dish is Banh xeo – translated into English as “sizzling cake”. These are essentially pancakes that make a sizzling sound as they cook. These pancakes are loaded like soft shell tacos with a variety of different ingredients including pork, beans, herbs, and shrimp. These sizzling pancakes can be purchased for as little as one United States Dollar.

For the fourth dish, we have Cha gio – translated into English as “Fried Spring Rolls”. These are essentially exactly what one would think of when they think of spring rolls – a crispy shell filled with vegetables and meats topped with a tangy sauce. These cost on average 3-4 US Dollars converted to Vietnamese dong.

The last dish is Bahn mi – translated into English as “Vietnamese baguette sandwich”. This is essentially a typical sandwich anyone would think of when they think of a baguette sandwich; however, the inner workings of the sandwich that are used are the secret that makes this dish stand out from a typical baguette sandwich that can be found just about anywhere. The sandwich is filled with greens and other fillings along with the secret ingredient – omelets. This dish will typically cost around 1-2 US Dollars converted to Vietnamese dong.

Anywhere you go in Vietnam, there is sure to be a variety of tasty options when it comes to the Vietnamese cuisine to try. Note that the best places to get Vietnamese cuisine are often in locally owned shops that only accept Vietnamese dong, so it is important for travelers to buy Vietnamese dong in order to dine on these dishes. Explore the vast choices of Vietnamese cuisine without hurting the budget due to inexpensive prices, and enjoy the taste of Vietnam. Stick to these options and then try exploring others. No matter what you choose to eat in Vietnam, you cannot go wrong.

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