Finance and money forum

USD or Thai Baht in Laos

  • brianennion

    Joined Travelfish
    29th January, 2009
    Posts: 4
    Total reviews: 2

    Hi All,
    Which is best to take to Laos.. USD or Thai baht.. I remember in Cambodia that the money changes gave a really bad rate for Baht over USD.. I was in Laos two years ago and forget if it was the same?

    Planning on using a mixture or Kip and USD/baht.
    Thanks for any advise.

    #1 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 17:34

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2581
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    Hi Brian,

    I've used both Thai Baht and USD with relative ease in Laos, but it seems to me that USD was more happily accepted and got a slightly better rate.

    Each time I've been to Laos, the Lao Kip was gaining strength and was more and more accepted as well. The first time I went in the early 90's, nobody wanted Kip, but the last time, many places (except for guest houses) were finally quoting prices in Kip and actually preferred Kip to other currency, particularly in the less touristed areas. Plus, I just like spending Kip. I think might still be one of the world's most lightly exchanged currencies.

    We typically loaded up on Baht before we left Thailand and used that Baht to buy Kip and then spent the USD we had with us on purchases requiring USD. (Yes, I know, double exchange rate loss but not much and a small cost for the fun of being in Laos.)

    Credit cards were readily accepted on our last trip as well. Those charges were typically made in USD and they cleared through banks in Vietnam, so we didn't even have an exchange rate loss there, although sometimes credit cards will add on a 3% service charge to cover their fees.

    I thought Rufus mentioned the other day that there are now ATM's in Laos that dispense USD as well. His info will be more current than mine.

    Finally, there is an article in the features section that may have some useful info for you too. It is called How to manage your money while travelling in Asia and is at this link:

    #2 Posted: 29/1/2009 - 23:37

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