The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht or THB. You’ll find that exchange rates fluctuate, but as a broad guide, one baht is worth roughly 2p. If you exchange £100, you’ll get about 4,400THB.
One baht is divided into 100 santang. Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 santang (worth about a penny). The 10-baht coin, worth about 20p, has a silver ring and a brass centre, similar to our £2 coin though with the metals reversed.
The colourful banknotes are worth 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1,000 (brown) baht. They all show King Rama IX on the front and different former kings of Thailand, animals and landmarks on the back.
You’ll find that many places in Thailand take credit cards like Visa and MasterCard, but it’s always useful to take cash for tipping, taxis and for smaller shops, restaurants and markets.
One way of getting a good exchange rate is to buy your spending money before you leave the UK and Thomas Cook offers a competitive price with zero commission. Either reserve your money to collect from your local branch or order online for delivery to your door, usually the following day. This service is free for orders of more than £500.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to get it in advance, as it’s easy to exchange currency in Thailand and you’ll get just as good a rate. There are money counters at the international airports, open even if you land in the middle of the night. Most of our Thomas Cook hotels have money changing services or you can exchange pounds for baht at banks and bureaux de change throughout Thailand.
A safe alternative is to take a Cash Passport. This prepaid travel card means you’re protected if things get lost or stolen. You can use it at cash machines, and with chip and pin and credit card readers worldwide, so it’s very convenient. Of course, there are always travellers’ cheques. Few businesses accept them as direct payment today, but they’re still a great way to pick up a bargain exchange rate, and then change back to cash when you need it.
Withdrawing baht from a local cash machine is also an option, as there are plenty of ATMs in Bangkok and tourist resorts. But make sure you’re aware of any charges and limits your bank may have. Some may charge you to withdraw in a foreign country, or in a different currency, so make sure you check before you head out on holiday.
If you’re crossing a border, it’s useful to know that the baht is also accepted in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.