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Thailand forum


Posted by fwen on 11/11/2009 at 22:43

Hi this will be my 1st trip to thailand. I have no idea whether to take travellers cheques in GBpound or American$.

Should i just take my bank card which is a maestro as I am not taking a credit card.

We are there for 3 weeks and plan to travel most of the southern part of thailand.

any helo would be great.

xxE-J xx

#1 fwen has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 5

Posted by exacto on 12/11/2009 at 00:14

there is a Travelfish feature article that should have helpful information for you on managing your money while travelling. you can read it at:

there are many different schools of thought on what form of money to take, with some folks insisting on cash only, others ATM cards, and some strictly travellers checks. most folks do a mix of the three. the discussion also got a lot of traction lately with the 150 baht service charge imposed at thai bankers association member banks' (e.g. nearly all thai banks) ATM's. but it looks like at least some of those banks may be dropping that fee to a more user friendly 15 baht now too.

three weeks isn't too long, so you shouldn't have too much trouble managing your money for the trip. i usually count on ATM's for about 80 percent of my trip money. that's because ATM's are generally plentiful, particularly in Thailand, and convenient, since you can use them 24/7 in most places. plus, my money sits safely in my bank account back home until i need to withdraw it.

but it is always good to have some back up for emergencies too, since it isn't all that rare for ATM computer networks to crash or power to be out for an extended period of time. because of that i usally take 10% of my money in cash, and just try to safeguard it as best i can while on the road. cash is extra flexible, particularly if you just need to purchase a little bit more of a foreign currency before departing a country or while transiting an airport, etc.

i also try to have about 10% of my money in traveller's checks, also for emergencies. they tend to be a little more expensive way to get foreign exchange than ATM withdrawals (assuming thai banks are reducing the 150 service charge), but still a great way to get money in a crunch. travellers checks carry with them a bit more security than plain cash. you can always use them towards the very end of your trip if you didn't need them previously, or even save them and spend 'em when you get back home.

i'd just go ahead and get TC's in GBP if that is where you are from, or USD or Euro if you are from there or would have occassion to spend that currency too.

as far as an ATM card goes, be sure you've got a 4-digit pin number, since that is what the ATM networks in thailand expect. you might also want to check with your bank to see what types of fees they will be charging you for each ATM withdrawal while overseas. some banks don't charge much while others really soak you. if the fees are a flat withdrawal fee, it makes sense to withdraw the maximum limit each time and just safeguard the baht as best you can on the trip.

finally, why aren't you taking your credit card with you? it can be an important source of financing in an emergency.

hope that helps. cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,759
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Posted by DLuek on 12/11/2009 at 00:22 TF writer


Personally I don't do the traveler's cheque thing. I just take my bank card plus some extra American cash. As long as your bank allows it, you'll be able to use your bank card at any ATM, of which there are tons all over Thailand. You may not use the extra cash but it's good to have in case of emergency. Traveler's cheques can also be good in case of emergency (and unlike cash they can be refunded if lost) but they're not as easy to transfer, or I should say, they're not as widely transferable in Thailand as cash.

But definitely check with your bank to make sure they know you'll be in Thailand and that your card will work there. Some banks will freeze ATM cards if they see it's being used abroad, automatically thinking it's been stolen, but this is not likely. To be safe, though, just let them know.

Good luck,


#3 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,298
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Posted by Travel1221 on 12/11/2009 at 01:51

I've never been one to travel with a credit card. Always gone the route of getting travellers cheques in US$'s. Also, as far as I remember, you get charged a fee per cheque that you cash, so it would therefore make more sense to have your cheques in larger denominations than in smaller ones where the fees would be more.
Enjoy your trip. Its a mind blowing experience.

#4 Travel1221 has been a member since 26/6/2009. Posts: 15

Posted by Geezy on 12/11/2009 at 03:16

My maestro card got cancelled on my 3rd day in Thailand because i didnt tell my bank i was going abroad. It was flagged as fraud. I had to call my bank and get it re-activated. This took a bout 10 mins. A hairy experience. Make sure you tell your bank!

#5 Geezy has been a member since 27/7/2009. Posts: 48

Posted by furneburner on 12/11/2009 at 04:34

As far as i know, some of the banks are only reducing the ATM fee's for credit card cash advances...i.e. Visa and Mastercard.

So the 150baht would still apply to debit cards (i think)

Can someone tell me if you are told what fee you are being charged when you use an atm? Or does it just appear on your statement?

#6 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180

Posted by mic59 on 12/11/2009 at 17:45

I'm also a bit of a fan of traveller's cheques. More of a personal thing really, I find it extremely difficult to keep track of my money if I'm using a card on holiday and I feel any small extra expense or inconvenience is worth it. And as has been mentioned, sometimes you may have some left to take home. I still have $500US from my last holiday in 2008 that I can use next time.

#7 mic59 has been a member since 30/7/2008. Posts: 107

Posted by dameon on 13/11/2009 at 03:10

My first trip through Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. What has your experiences been with guest house lockers, safes, any words of wisdom, things to be aware of? Thanks for any info.

#8 dameon has been a member since 13/11/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by sirhalberd on 15/11/2009 at 10:07

With the ATM's charging 150 baht surcharges in Thailand the fee of 33 baht to cash a travelers check looks pretty good now!

I like travelers checks, my credit union back home will issue them free of charge to their members. Like the previous post said only bring the largest denominations to cut down on lots of fees to cash small value TC's.

I never use credit cards in Asia, especially in restaurants and stores - just too much chance for CC fraud! For cheap priced items use cash!

Tell your bank or C.U. that you will be out of the country or your ATM withdrawal may be denied. My credit union pays for some of my ATM charges even overseas. When you make withdrawals go for the max you can get to cut down on the surcharges for cheap amounts.

When I have to use hotels in Thailand I always try to choose a hotel that has safety boxes or safes. I only walk around with enough money to see me through one or two days of expenses. When I need more I hit the safety box.

Good luck.

#9 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
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