Everything About Money in Thailand
Thailand’s national currency is the Thai Baht, also denoted as “฿” or “THB”.
The exchange rate is:
- 1 euro = ± 40 baht
- 1 US dollar = ± 33 baht
- 100 baht = ± 3 US dollar
- 100 baht = ± 2,50 euro
Click here to check the current exchange rate.
One baht contains 100 satang; currently circulating are coins of 25 satang, 50 satang and coins of 1฿, 2฿, 5฿ and 10฿. Old coins only feature Thai numerals, while newer coins feature both Thai and Arabic numerals.
You can pay with the following banknotes: 10฿ (brown, discontinued), 20฿ (green), 50฿ (blue), 100฿ (red), 500฿ (purple) en 1000฿ (beige).
Withdrawing cash in Thailand
In Thailand, you can withdraw money from ATMs with both your debit and your credit card. ATMs are everywhere: at the airport, banks, department stores or supermarkets.
On small, local islands where there are no ATM’s, you can oftentimes withdraw money at bigger resorts.
You will pay a transaction fee for every withdrawal you make, usually of about 300 baht per transaction. Lots of banks also charge extra fees for every withdrawal; you can request this information at your bank.
Most banks have a withdrawal limit; you should check with your bank how high this limit is. In practice, this means that on a day on which the exchange rate is favorable you could withdraw 20,000 baht at a time. If this is too much you can always take out 15,000 or 10,000 baht.
Because of these additional fees, it’s best to withdraw as much as possible each time.
Debit card vs. credit card
Generally, credit cards have (much) higher transaction fees than debit cards. According to the Dutch Consumer Association (“Consumentenbond”) the difference in fees for withdrawing €500 with a debit card or a credit card is €30.
Paying by card in shops and hotels
99% won’t allow you to pay with either your debit or you credit card. Cash payments are almost always the norm. Exceptions are expensive shopping malls, restaurants and luxury resorts.
- Thai ATMs first give you the money, then your card.
- Make sure you activate your card so that you can withdraw money outside of Europe; this function is left inactive by default by most banks.
- Always choose the option “Without Conversion”, and not “With Conversion” when withdrawing money in Thailand. That way you’ll get a better exchange rate.
- ATMs almost always give out 1,000 baht notes. This is a lot of money for Thai standards. Many shopkeepers and cab drivers won’t have change if you pay with a 1,000 baht note. Therefore, try and buy something small from the 7-Eleven to break up the note.
Exchanging money & exchange offices in Thailand
You can change your money at exchange offices virtually everywhere in Thailand.
Although you’ll be charged a transaction fee for a money exchange as well, the rate is a lot better. Also, the money is exchanged on the latest exchange rate – while ATMs oftentimes will be behind in updating the exchange rates and use less favorable exchange rates.
The best exchange offices are found on the basement level of Bangkok’s international airport, near the orange Superrich Exchange office.
Tipping in Thailand
Thai people eat out every day, which explains why there are so many eating stands and affordable Thai restaurants. Eating out isn’t really considered an outing by Thai people, like it is in, say, the Netherlands.
Which is why tipping is so uncommon in Thailand. Thai people might leave some loose change, but this is more out of convenience than as a tip.
Still, it’s becoming more and more prevalent in Thailand (especially in tourist areas) and it’s definitely appreciated. Our rule: only tip if the food was good, no more than 20 baht per visit – except if the food was out of this world amazing.
High-end restaurants are in the habit more and more of adding a 10% charge to the bill. In that case, tipping is not necessary.
Haggling & negotiating
Although haggling is part and parcel of Thai culture and society, we’ve noticed that fixed prices are being used more and more.
Haggling in large shops franchises, shopping malls, and regular shops is not common practice. Local fruit and vegetable markets also don’t allow haggling.
At souvenir stands and markets for tourists, haggling is expected. What is sold is usually worth about 50% of the asking price. So make a first offer that’s about a quarter of the asking price and slowly go up.
If you’re traveling on your own and outside of the high season (November until February + July), it’s even possible to haggle for the room price in your hotel or hostel.
More money-tips for Thailand
Here are some more practical blogs and pages about saving money and what to take with you to Thailand: