I leave for Thailand in 3 weeks and am unsure where is best to exchange my money!
I have heard that you get a better exchange rate in Thailand. Is this true?
I am leaving from South Africa, so would it be better to do it here before I go, or once I arrive there?
Other than at the end of the barrel of a gun, the absolute worst place to exchange money is at an airport.
The first rule is to know the exchange rate between the two currencies you want to exchange.
To get to know the mid-market (or about absolute best) rate of exchange, go here. Keep checking every few days to get an idea of how the currency exchange is fluctuating.
Second, it depends on what you are doing for currency. Are you bringing travellers cheques? Are you bringing an internationally exchangeable currency like US$ or similar? Are you using an ATM to withdraw cash? Or, some mix of all.
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Personally, I suggest you get about US$100 worth of Thai Baht from your bank in SA for when you arrive.
I'd also pre-book my first night's accommodation so that when you 'land' you are only going to need transport money, and also not going to be hassled too much about where to stay as well as get cash.
I use an ATM machine to get my money. I'm Australian, I pre-load an account with money, then I withdraw as needed. The banks give me about the mid-market rate.
If you are using Travellers Cheques, generally you take the Thai bank exchange rate, but can sometime get better at exchange booths - its always best to know the current exchange rate.
Hope this helps.Cheers
I checked rates when I used to live in Germany, and I got a better rate at the airport (but about .25 baht) than I would have with the German bank. I did this twice, in 2002 and 2006 when I moved here. So at least in my experience home bank was worse than the airport. Best rate I ever got was a money changer in Sukhumvite over by Soi 4.
Moving here I contemplated doing an electronic money transfer, as the sum was large. But the difference between bringing cash and exchanging it at the bank was significant, magnified by a lot of cash.
I use the ATM here now, but there's a 150 baht service fee for every overseas transaction. Plus whatever your home bank charges.