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Thailand forum

Best place to get Thai Baht!

Posted by mlr on 12/8/2009 at 13:25

Hey!

Just wondering if anyone has got any recommendations on where to get Thai Baht at a good exchange rate?

Is it worth getting some in the UK before we leave or are we best getting it in Thailand?

And are we as well taking some dollars with us too, especially for Laos & Cambodia?

#1 mlr has been a member since 3/5/2009. Posts: 31

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 12/8/2009 at 15:49

Hi, I always get Baht in Thailand. It's a good idea to have a little change before you go so you can pay the taxi from the airport.

Don't change the money at the airport. There are loads of Banks in Bangkok so you can check out the rates if you want.

Travellers cheques and my bank card is what i will be taking next time.

Yeah, I think US$ for Cambodia and Laos is right. I think in Cambodia they will take any currency they can get. I've paid with Baht there too.

#2 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by Nokka on 12/8/2009 at 16:53

I have always used Nationwide's Flexaccount, which up until recently was free. Now they charge 0.84% for transactions abroad, though usually the exchange rate you get via ATMs abroad is very good.

http://www.nationwide.co.uk/current_account/foreigntransactions.htm

For example, for a recent trip into Euroland, I got about 1.08 for a bit of cash from M&S, but 1.16 via the ATMs.

I also have a Nationwide credit card, which links to the flexaccount, so is paid off in full each month.

Both my wife and I have cards in case one of us loses theirs.

I may take some US $ in case of emergencies and I believe in certain places $ can be used like the local currency. However, to change Sterling into Dollars and then into, say, Baht sounds unnecesarily expensive and attractive only to the Banks.

#3 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259

Posted by Jon_Mak_Mak on 12/8/2009 at 17:07

I used to have a natiowide flex account when it was free aswell.

This was how I used to take my money to Thailand and just use the ATM's. I stopped becuase although the bank said it wouldn't happen, my balance kept showing money in the account but I actually went over my over draft 3 times and got charged £60! Plus ended up having to payback over £300. lol

But yeah, if your more careful than I am, Nationwide card can be a good way too.

#4 Jon_Mak_Mak has been a member since 21/2/2007. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 464
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Posted by sayadian on 12/8/2009 at 20:33

I don't think there is a huge difference in exchange rates between the airport banks and city banks so you can exchange enough to get into town without being ripped off.DON'T buy baht in the UK you'll get a better rate in Thailand.
In Cambodia baht is more acceptable in the provinces that are closer to Thailand.In fact, often you pay less in baht than you would in dollars in these places.The dollar is king in Cambodia and can be spent anywhere.Be careful of scammers on the borders telling you that you need Cambodian Real.You don't!The exchange rate they offer is awful.Any other part of Cambodia it's better to exchange money with the moneychangers on the street (they have little glass booths) than in a bank, they give you a better rate.

#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by sayadian on 12/8/2009 at 20:34

I don't think there is a huge difference in exchange rates between the airport banks and city banks so you can exchange enough to get into town without being ripped off.DON'T buy baht in the UK you'll get a better rate in Thailand.
In Cambodia baht is more acceptable in the provinces that are closer to Thailand.In fact, often you pay less in baht than you would in dollars in these places.The dollar is king in Cambodia and can be spent anywhere.Be careful of scammers on the borders telling you that you need Cambodian Real.You don't!The exchange rate they offer is awful.Any other part of Cambodia it's better to exchange money with the moneychangers on the street (they have little glass booths) than in a bank, they give you a better rate.

#6 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557

Posted by SBE on 13/8/2009 at 00:10

I'm surprised at jon_mak_mak's advice. I've never noticed a huge difference between the exchange rate at the airport and the exchange rates in town....a few satangs less maybe but much better than what you'd get in your home country I'd have thought?

Do the ATMs have a different rate there? I never checked but assumed all the banks would have a fixed rate wherever their ATMs are.

You don't need any money between getting off the plane and getting to an ATM (there are lots at the airport) so I don't think it's at all necessary to get ANY Thai baht before you arrive!

I don't have a Nationwide account as I don't live in the UK but most banks levy a charge every time you use an ATM. It's cheaper to get the maximum amount out (usually 20,000B) each time rather than making lots of smaller withdrawals.

You'll need change for the taxi though, so get 19900 instead of 20,000.

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Posted by billbevan01 on 14/8/2009 at 04:30

I always take out money using a visa debit card as the exchange rate is better even after the transaction charge is taken into account. I used to use a flexaccount when it was free. I'm not sure how it compares to other banks now. Is the charge the same as others or a little less?

#8 billbevan01 has been a member since 19/6/2009. Location: Global Village. Posts: 46
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Posted by billbevan01 on 14/8/2009 at 04:31

Ooops, forgot to say that the exchange rate you will get on your debit card from your own bank will be at the international official exchange rate set on the money markets that day rather than on a less advantageous tourist rate.

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Posted by exacto on 14/8/2009 at 05:03

i thought SBE's suggestion to take out 19,900 baht instead of 20,000 baht from an ATM was brilliant! it is often very difficult to get change in thailand, particularly with 1,000 baht bills. there is almost no chance a taxi could give change for a 1,000 baht bill. following SBE's suggestion at least gets you a few 100 baht bills to pay taxis and such until you get a chance to break up larger bills.

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Posted by SBE on 14/8/2009 at 05:36

There's that new ATM charge though. Forgot about that... 100B or something per withdrawal on top of what your bank charges. The new ATM charge for foreign cards came in after I left this year so I'm not sure how much it is.

Changing some cash might get you more baht for your money. You can change any amount you want too... eg just a little at the airport and more next day. But it would be rather risky carrying wads of money around during your holiday rather than a credit card (Preferably 2 credit cards in fact in case one doesn't work)

I think travellers checks are rather a dinosaur concept nowadays and not widely accepted. Right hassle compared to getting money out of an ATM anyway.

#11 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,019
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Posted by Lother on 14/8/2009 at 14:09

Yeah, there's a 150-baht extra charge for international cards withdrawing from almost all the ATM's in Thailand now, so that might be a factor.

#12 Lother has been a member since 12/5/2006. Location: Earth. Posts: 214

Posted by Sparts on 17/8/2009 at 03:33

I never quite understand topics like these. Just so long as you are aware of what the exchange rate should be does it really matter? My point being, your going there on holiday so why worry about a difference of a few bhat. Go there enjoy yourself and don't waste time trecking around trying to find the best exchange rate - which will most likely save you a few pennies.

I always use ATM's.

Dollars will be just fine for Cambodia. You will get change is reals. Some people think you get more for your money when dealing in reals, I never noticed in my short trip there. Remember when leaving laos that you cannot change their currency outside the country so don't get stuck with it.

#13 Sparts has been a member since 5/6/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 169
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Posted by mlr on 17/8/2009 at 04:16

Thanks for all the advice! I normally just used my debit/credit cards when holiday anyway, so i'll just do the same on this occassion!

#14 mlr has been a member since 3/5/2009. Posts: 31

Posted by SBE on 17/8/2009 at 05:48

Sparts I change cash at an authorized money changer in BKK rather than the bank. It's about 50m further to walk there than the nearest bank exchange but I get about 1B more per euro.

After changing 100 euros I then stop at the 7/11 on the way back and pay for 2 large bottles of ice cold beer with the extra 100B I get. This more than quenches my thirst after the exertion of the extra 100m walk. ;-)

#15 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,019
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Posted by seagypsy on 17/8/2009 at 08:44

I also like to exchange at offical money changers for the same reason as SBE. I tend to get a better rate than at most banks which starts to add-up when exchanging several hundreds of dollars at a time.

#16 seagypsy has been a member since 5/2/2009. Posts: 136

Posted by mlr on 18/8/2009 at 21:07

Hey

I have just found a card online (Caxton FX) that offers no charges for international transactions. It works in a similar way to the Fair FX currency cards that i currently have but this one obviously benefits from being an International currency card (you load it with Sterling), effectively the same as a debit card without all the charges as it has no atm or currency charges, etc and it costs nothing to get in the first instance. It seems very straight forward to load as well.

#17 mlr has been a member since 3/5/2009. Posts: 31

Posted by Sparts on 18/8/2009 at 23:43

mlr, always a catch somewhere - these people don't povide a service unless they were making money ;p

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