Currency exchange is a very competitive business in Thailand. The bid/offer spread (the difference between the purchase and sale price) for major currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro, British Pound and Yen is typically just one percent – or less.
On a recent trip from London to Bangkok, the currency exchange booths at Heathrow Airport were quoting a massive 15% spread on the Thai Baht. Most European credit and debit cards will apply a exchange rate and fee that effectively adds 3% – 5% to a purchase price.
Our top money tip is to bring as much cash as you feel comfortable carrying and exchange into Thai baht in Thailand.
Larger denominated notes (US$100, 50 euro, £50 etc.) will get the best rates. Some smaller denominated notes (e.g. £5) may not be accepted. Damaged notes (including those repaired with tape), notes that have been written on, and coins will not be accepted. You will need to present photo-id (e.g – your passport) at all exchange booths.
All major shopping malls in central Bangkok have numerous exchange booths, but our favourite is Super Rich – who we think consistently offer some of the best rates going. The bid/offer spread in tourist destinations such as Phuket, Samui or Pattaya may be a little wider, but still great value compared with buying abroad.
There are plenty of exchange booths in the airport arrivals area at Bangkok, Phuket, Samui etc, but only exchange the cash you need until you can get to a booth or bank somewhere in town. If you exchange cash at the airport to pay for a taxi, remember to ask for a some smaller notes (100 baht).
As in any other country, hotel exchanges rates will be a complete rip off.
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