Thailand money and costs FAQ

What's the exchange rate today ?

At the moment, approximately 45B = 1US$. You can get the precise rate for a list of currencies from Bangkok bank.

Is Thailand expensive ?

For a lot of things, Thailand is very cheap. A meal can be had for 20B in some roadside restaurants, a cheap room in a guesthouse for 100B or less. For better quality, the price goes up but it remains very good value compared to western countries. There is a list of example prices in the Bangkok Introduction section.

Some imported products, such as luxury cars, are much more expensive in Thailand than in, for example, the USA.

How should I bring money to Thailand ? Which currency is best to bring ? Should I get some baht before I enter Thailand ?

The most popular way of bringing money to Thailand nowadays seems to be with traveller's cheques and/or ATM debit cards. You probably get a slightly better deal through an ATM than with a traveller's cheque (this depends on what your bank charges for withdrawals).

ATM's are everywhere in Bangkok, and widespread throughout Thailand. Cirrus/Maestro seems to be the most prevalent and is the best one to bring though Plus cards would also be fine. You may want to notify your bank before coming to Thailand, as some will automatically cancel your card after withdrawals from Bangkok as a fraud prevention method. Exchange rates are favorable if you get money out this way, but there seems to be a 10000B a day limit (this may vary depending on your bank / card - you may not be able to get this much out).

Thailand's ATM system is not always the most reliable, and machines are often down especially in the provinces. Therefore, it pays to plan ahead and not to be entirely dependent on your card.

Bangkok is unusual in that Traveller's Cheques get a better rate of exchange than cash, and the best rates come either from banks or moneychangers. Bangkok also gives a better rate of exchange than elsewhere in the country. Hotels will generally offer the worst exchange rate. AMEX travellers cheques are the most widely accepted.

If you are exchanging cash, US dollars and GBP sterling seem to have the best exchange rate but lots are currencies can be exchanged. The higher denomination notes always get a better rate of exchange. Make sure any US$50 and $100 notes are in pristine condition with no defects, or they will likely be rejected as counterfeit. Get the most recently dated notes you can as these stand the highest chance of being accepted.

It's not worth getting any Thai baht in your home country, as the exchange rate is likely to very poor. ATM's are in the airport, as is a moneychanger with good rates (see below).

Comments: Some banks now have exchange services at convenient locations outside of normal branches. For example, the BTS platform has several mini bank booths offering currency exchange.

Also, at some department stores such as Central Chidlom or Tops supermarkets where there are are bank outlets, you can also exchange money.

Soparvan Chantha
HSBC Thailand

What type of credit card is most widely accepted in Thailand ?

Visa is the best to take, then Mastercard, with American Express a fairly distant third. They are quite widely accepted but take care where you use them as Thailand has one of the world's highest level of credit card fraud.

What's the exchange rate like at Bangkok airport ?

Unlike airports in many other places in the world, the exchange rate at Bangkok airport is just about as good as you can get anywhere else downtown. It will certainly cheaper to change money here than at a currency exchange in your home country.

The currency exchange facility is open 24 hours. More details are on the airport page.

How easy is it to get a casual job in Thailand ?

Most foreigners doing this kind of work in Thailand work as English teachers, as this is really the only work opportunity available. Legally, you can't work without a work permit (which is difficult to get, you must have a degree amongst other requirements). A reputable language school should provide this for you, but not all of them will. Even if you're unqualified, getting a job is relatively easy but it will only pay around 25000B a month. If you don't get a work visa, you are in a very weak position and can't do anything if the school decides not to pay you for any reason, or the Immigration bureau decides to check up etc...

If you don't really know how to teach, it's not worth getting a job like this in Thailand. Unqualified teachers are made to work hard, have poor working conditions and you have a responsibility to provide value for money for the students. Check and Stickman's guide for more information on teaching in Thailand.

Should I tip ? How much ?

At restaurants, it is usual to leave any coins given as change as a tip - This is why 20B change will almost always be given to you in coins rather than a 20B note ! For taxis, fares are often rounded up to the nearest 5B or 10B.

How much can I bargain a price down ?

This is impossible to answer, but in general prices aren't many times what they should be. You can often bargain down between 25% and 40%, but this is not a fixed rule. Being friendly, smiling a lot and speaking Thai are all likely to get you lower prices.

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Hi, I've lived/worked in Thailand for a couple of years and I just wanted to say what a good article this is - great up-to-date info - well done! Matt.
' Matt
Hi Dear, Please tell me about how much different between Money changer rate & Bank rate in Thailand.........
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