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Travel Guide > Asia > Thailand > Money & Shopping

Money in Thailand

  
 
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The currency of Thailand is the baht (THB). There are six coins and six notes:

  • 25 and 50 satang (cent, copper colour) coins - nearly worthless and only readily accepted (and handed out) by buses, supermarkets and 7-11s
  • 1, 5 (silver colour), 2 (gold) and 10 baht (silver/gold) coins
  • 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (grey-brown) baht notes

The most useful bills tend to be 20s and 100s, as many small shops and stalls don't carry much change. Taxi drivers also like to pull the "no change" trick; if caught, hop into the nearest convenience store and make a small purchase. Beware of 1000-baht notes, as counterfeits are not uncommon: feel the embossing, look for the watermark and tilt to see color-changing ink to make sure the note is real.

ATMs

These can be found in all cities and large towns, and international withdrawals are not a problem. When using a debit card, an ATM will typically provide a much better exchange rate than a money exchange counter, and this is especially the case if you have a card that does not charge a transaction fee for overseas withdrawals (becoming common in countries such as Australia).

ATMs are available at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK) after collecting your bag and clearing customs, and while it is advisable to arrive with a small amount of baht if possible, you may obtain cash from an ATM after landing as well.

Since early 2009, there is a 150 baht surcharge for use of foreign ATM cards on virtually all banks' ATMs, and as of February 2010, only Aeon appear to be holding out in not charging this. (There are also occasional unconfirmed reports of success with other banks such as HSBC or GSB.) Anyway, you'll be notified about this fee in any ATM which charges it, so you always have an option to cancel.

More remote areas (including smaller islands) don't have banks or ATMs, so cash or traveller's checks are essential. Many hotels and guest houses will change money for guests, but hefty commissions and poor rates may apply. US dollars in small bills (1s, 5s, and 20s) are invaluable for onward travel to neighbouring countries other than Malaysia, but are only useful in Thailand for exceptional purchases (eg paying visa fees for Cambodia).

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in the tourist industry, at restaurants, shopping malls and shops catering to tourists. Fraud is regrettably common though, so use them sparingly and tell your bank in advance, so your card doesn't get locked down because you are using it. Some businesses add a surcharge (usually 2-3%) if you're paying by credit card; in this case, it can turn out cheaper to pay them in cash.

Type of shop: Tip
Location: Thailand







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