Khun Greg's Thailand
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Currency exchange

The currency of Thailand is known as the Thai baht. The paper notes are the 1000 baht, 500 baht, 100 baht, 50 baht, and 20 baht notes. The coins are 10 baht, 5 baht, 2 baht, 1 baht, the 50 satang, and 25 satang.

When planning a trip to the kingdom of Thailand one thing to think about is getting some Thai baht to spend while you are there. There are many options available to you, some are much better then others.

The first option is to get Thai currency from your bank at home. Most large banks can order Thai baht for you with a few days notice. This however is an expensive way to do it as the exchange rate they give you will definitely be in their favor. Your bank of course wants to make money on the deal. If you have a currency exchange place near you they will give you a better deal on the exchange rate than your bank, but still not as good as the exchange rate you will get in Thailand. If it makes you feel more secure to have some Thai baht to take with you before you leave for Thailand these are a couple of your options.

Another option is to exchange your money at the airport when you get into Thailand. The main international airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, has several currency exchange kiosks set up inside to exchange your money into Thai baht. It would be naive to think that they will give you the best exchange rate around, but it is good enough to get by until you can get to the best place.

The best place to exchange your currency in Thailand of course is at a bank there. Many bank branches have currency exchange kiosks set up right outside of their doors, and you will also find stand alone kiosks set up on the sidewalk in popular tourist areas. Banks donít all have the same exchange rates they may vary slightly. If you want to compare rates to get the most baht for your money, malls will have a few banks inside to easily compare rates as they are clearly posted. Another thing to be aware of is you will get a better exchange rate for larger notes then smaller ones. In the case of U.S. Dollars, 100ís and 50ís get the best exchange rate. Your 20ís, 10ís and 5ís will get a little less of an exchange rate. The lowest exchange rate goes to the lowly 1 dollar bill, and the ever elusive 2 dollar bill. The difference can be as much as a whole baht less per dollar. This can add up quickly the more you exchange. For the best currency exchange rate, exchange your large denomination notes at a bank in Thailand. You may also want to have credit, or debit cards with you too of course, to avoid carrying large sums of cash.

Make sure that you notify the banks that issued you the credit, or debit cards that you plan to bring along with you about your travel plans when traveling abroad. Nothing will ruin your holiday faster then not having access to your funds. I have heard horror stories about people who have found out their cards didnít work once they were in Thailand. It can be a pain in the rear end to notify the bank, and get your card unfrozen so that you can make withdrawals with it from Thailand. I always notify my banks of my travel plans online, and have never had a problem with my cards working in Thailand. When I log into my account, I click account services, then I click notify us of travel plans. The window that pops up allows me to type in the countries that I will be traveling to, and the dates that I will be there. I prefer to error on the side of caution when doing this, and I also type in the name of any country that I have a connecting flight through just incase there is a problem with the connecting flight. It makes me feel secure to know my cards will work in that country as well, even if it is just for something to eat, or a souvenir in the airport while waiting for my flight.

I would like to add some extra information here based on personal experiences from a recent trip to Thailand in the middle of 2015. It would be a good idea to check the series date on your money before you go as well.

I went to my bank in America and withdrew $1000. I asked for ten $100 bills. I already knew I would get the best exchange rate from large notes, and didnít inspect them too closely since I got them from the bank.

I went to a bank in a large mall in Bangkok to exchange 5 of them for Thai Baht. They inspected them closely of course, before handing two of them back to me, pointing at the date, and informing me that they were no good. The bills looked fine too me. They had all the security features such as, the water mark on the right, and the strip on the left that you can see when held up to the light. The series date was 1996. I received 3 of them total from my bank back home. They are perfectly good in America, but at two different banks in Bangkok, they were no good. I even have an account at one of the banks. Donít let anyone tell you by the way, that you canít open a bank account in Thailand with just a tourist visa, I did it, and so can you.

If all I had with me were $100 bills from an older series, I would have been in trouble. My suggestion to you from that experience is to ask for the more recent series notes from your bank. The newest American $100 bills are more colorful, and caused me no problems when exchanging them for Thai Baht.

It is always a good idea to have more then one credit / debit card with you as well for backup if there is a problem with the first one. Having multiple wallets, and a money belt is also a good idea. This serves two purposes, the first is incase one is lost, or stolen you still have the other. I always bring two pocket wallets with me, and have one card, and cash in each wallet. I always use the leg wallet pictured when traveling as well. It fits comfortable around my calf, and is secured with Velcro straps. Once it is around my leg I pull my sock up over it for added support. It is so comfortable I forget it is there. (Check it out on Amazon. It is a small price to pay for added security.)

Taxi meters always start at 35 baht. Sometimes they try to tell you there is a 100 baht minimum charge. This is a lie. They will also try to tell you their meter is broken. This too is a lie so they can charge you a set rate that is three times as much as the meter rate.

If you drop a baht on the ground, DO NOT try to stop it from blowing away by stepping on it.

Be careful exchanging large amounts of money in public. Minimum wage in Thailand is 300 baht a day. That is about nine U.S.A dollars per DAY! You exchanging one weeks pay is easily over two months pay to people around you watching.

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