In Thailand, anyone who touches a banknote with their foot risks jail time. Sounds crazy – but it’s really true. In this article we will answer why this is so and all other important questions about money in Thailand.
Here you will find out, among other things:
What is the currency in Thailand
What is the exchange rate
Can you also pay with euros?
Where you can pay by credit card
How much cash to take with you
What are the average prices
What you have to consider when withdrawing from an ATM
Where is the best place to change money?
How to behave properly with money
Especially before a first visit to Thailand, the topic of money is a headache for many travelers. In our guide you will get all the important information and are well prepared for a carefree holiday trip in the land of smiles.
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY IN THAILAND?
The official currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). The money comes in the form of coins and bills.
Bills are issued in these banknotes:
Coins are available as:
One Thai baht is made up of 100 satang. This smaller currency unit is also available as a coin, namely as 25 satang and 50 satang. In smaller shops or supermarkets you sometimes get satang as change. In many cases, however, it is simply rounded up or down, since a satang is worth very little.
In practice, you should always carry some smaller bills with you , such as 50 or baht notes. For example, if you want to pay with a 1000 baht banknote (around 28 euros) at a street food stand, it can happen that the seller does not have enough change and cannot give you the right change.
HOW MANY BAHT IS ONE EURO?
The baht-euro exchange rate fluctuates relatively strongly. As a guiding principle you can remember: One euro is about 40 baht . The actual exchange rate is currently around 35 baht for 1 euro (as of June 2019). You can check the current exchange rate here .
CAN I ALSO PAY WITH FOREIGN CURRENCY IN THAILAND?
In Thailand you can only pay in baht in most shops, supermarkets or restaurants . An exception are larger hotels, airports or international chains, especially in the capital Bangkok. Here you can sometimes also pay with foreign money, for example US dollars or euros.
WHERE CAN I PAY BY CREDIT CARD?
Thailand is largely a cash economy. Means: It is mainly paid in cash. This applies to restaurants, beach bars, markets, tour operators, tuk-tuk drivers, taxis , kiosks, pharmacies or shops. Dealers often charge fees of between 3% and 5% when paying by credit card. In Thailand, the commissions of the credit card institutes are usually not included in the sales price.
Credit cards are sometimes accepted in tourist areas and in larger cities such as Bangkok . In many restaurants, supermarkets and shops, especially in towns with a large international audience, you can now also pay by card. But you shouldn’t rely on it – so always have enough cash with you.
HOW MUCH CASH SHOULD I TAKE WITH ME?
Of course, it is difficult for us to give a general answer to the question of how much money you should take with you, as it always depends a bit on your expenses. And the nice thing about Thailand is that the country is suitable for every budget.
As an individual, you can get by relatively comfortably with 1200 baht a day , depending on how much you drive around, eat or shop. We recommend not bringing more than 20,000 baht in cash per person, otherwise you will have to worry about how to keep the money safe. 20,000 baht is about 565 euros and a lot of money for Thailand!
The best way to book hotels and accommodation is online via the booking portals Agoda or Booking. There you can conveniently pay by credit card and then don’t have to spend any cash. Also, our tours at Khao Lak Land Discovery can all be booked in advance and paid for by PayPal or credit card. You only need the cash for smaller expenses on the go.
WHAT ARE THE PRICES IN THAILAND?
Thailand is known as a very cheap travel destination . And even if the prices have increased somewhat in recent years, that is still largely true. Of course, there are also 5-star hotels and outrageously expensive luxury restaurants in Thailand. Compared to Germany and other western countries, the prices are still incredibly low.
Here are some price examples to give you an idea.
Food in food stalls/street food stands/small Thai shops: 50 – 100 baht (1 – 2.50 €)
Eating in the restaurant : 100 – 200 baht (3 – 5.50 €)
Hotel accommodation per person: 600 – 1000 baht (15 – 25 €)
Overnight in hostel: 200 – 600 baht (5 – 15 €)
New t-shirt/tank top: 100-200 baht (3-5€)
There are of course big differences in prices from region to region . In tourist hotspots like Koh Samui or Phuket you usually have to pay more. In addition, prices, especially for overnight stays, increase during the high season . In general, Thailand is a very cheap travel destination.
HOW DOES WITHDRAWING FROM AN ATM WORK?
ATMs are a dime a dozen in Thailand . You can recognize them by the word ATM and especially in tourist regions there are ATMs on every street corner . If you are unsure: just look for the nearest 7-Eleven branch. With 99% probability there is also a Thai ATM.
Withdrawing baht from an ATM is always preferable to exchanging euros for baht because the exchange rate at the machines is significantly better. Before you take off, there are a few things to consider:
A fee of 220 baht is charged for each withdrawal . This goes to the machine operator and must be paid in addition to any international fees charged by your credit card provider.
It is best to withdraw with a Visa or Mastercard credit card. You have to activate the normal EC bank cards or savings bank cards beforehand at your house bank. You can inquire about the fees at your bank. You can now even withdraw money from ATMs in Thailand with your bank card (Maestro and even V-Pay). However, it is not possible to pay in the shop with your bank card.
The machines usually have a withdrawal limit of 10,000 or 20,000 baht. You can set the daily withdrawal limit at your house bank before your holiday . 600 euros (approx. 20,000 THB) makes sense, as you pay fees for each withdrawal from the ATM. Paying in stores with a card also depends on your daily withdrawal limit.
Make sure that your card’s credit limit is large enough and covered. There is nothing more annoying than suddenly finding out on a tropical island that you can no longer withdraw because the limit has been reached.
The withdrawal itself is relatively easy. Here is a small instruction manual for withdrawing money from the Thai ATM:
Insert the card into the ATM.
Type in the 4-digit pin.
Select “English” as the language.
Press “Withdrawal” (I want to withdraw cash).
Select “Saving Account” (withdrawal from savings account).
Enter the desired withdrawal amount (note: enter the amount in Thai baht).
Confirmed with “OK”.
Take the money and then the card.
When asked “Do you want a slip?”
Keep receipt for cost control.
The settings for this vary from ATM to ATM, but you should always be able to find them easily.
WHERE CAN I EXCHANGE MONEY?
If you want to exchange euros or dollars for baht, it is best to go to a currency exchange or bank. These can be found in all places where tourists stay and then usually in multiple versions.
In Khao Lak, for example, you can exchange money at Kasikorn Bank , which is located very close to our office. But there are several other exchange offices and banks along the main road.
Note that the rate at the exchange offices is usually worse than if you withdraw the money directly from the machine. You should always keep the current exchange rate in mind and compare different exchange offices. Sometimes you get more for your money elsewhere.
What you should definitely avoid : Exchange the money in Germany and then import it. Here the course is actually always worse than if you do it on site in Thailand. Changing at the airport is also more of an emergency solution, since the exchange offices and banks there have a worse exchange rate.
WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER WHEN DEALING WITH MONEY IN THAILAND?
At the very beginning we mentioned that touching a Thai banknote with your foot is severely punished. This is really no joke. You should never step on a coin or banknote in Thailand, for example if it is rolling or being blown away by a gust of wind.
The Thai king is depicted on the money and is highly revered in the land of smiles. If you touch a Thai banknote with your foot, you are kicking the king in the face, so to speak. So you are committing lèse majesté and that means imprisonment in Thailand.
As a tourist, you will probably be forgiven for making this mistake. However, you should refrain if you don’t want to make a bad impression.
Also consider: Thailand is a less prosperous country compared to Germany . The average earnings of a Thai are only around 10,000 to 15,000 baht. So don’t walk around openly with big wads of money and just throw bills around. Better hold back a bit and show respect – that’s exactly how you will be treated.
We hope that we have clarified all important questions about money in Thailand. Is there still something open or unanswered? Do you have any other questions about money and finances in Thailand? Then write us now in the comments!