Money Matters in ThailandAndrew Mason
The currency used in Thailand is the Baht. Baht notes come in denominations of 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (brown). All notes feature pictures of the current king, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and you must be careful when handling the notes not to tear them as it is an offence to defile his image. Coins are large 10 Baht coins, 5 Baht, 2 Baht and 1 Baht. The two Baht and 1 Baht coins look very similar, although the 2 Baht coins are slightly bigger and have a picture of The Golden Mount on the back.
Satang coins are much smaller and bronze coloured. There are 100 satang in one Baht and these coins are available in 25-satang and 50-satang pieces.
Compared to the West, Thailand is actually a very inexpensive country for visitors. If you are willing to dine at small street stands or markets, you can eat a good meal for less than 50 Baht. Public transport is very cheap too, as are clothes and accessories.
For those travelling on a tight budget, 500.00 Baht a day should be enough anywhere in Thailand. If you want to stay in comfortable hotels and eat at restaurants, you should increase your budget to around 600.00 – 1000.00 Baht a day outside Bangkok and major tourist hot spots such as Phuket, where you can expect to pay around double.
For those with deep pockets, there is no end to the luxury that you can find in Bangkok and key tourist destination. Bangkok boasts some excellent dining options, top of the range hotels and shopping opportunities.
Changing Your Money
Banks or legal money-changers offer the best rates. ATMs that accept Visa and other credit cards are easy to find throughout Thailand, although an obvious exception is small villages to the north of Thailand. Many exchange booths will give you a cash advance on your credit card.
When buying Baht, US dollars are the most eagerly accepted currency and it is a good idea to have a supply of travellers’ cheques as they receive a better rate than cash. British pounds are the next-best alternative. Credit cards are becoming increasingly acceptable in shops, hotels and restaurants, with Visa being the most useful, followed by MasterCard.
Pad thai on the street: 40 Baht
Bottled water: 10-12 Baht
Bus fare: 6-16 Baht
Small Singha beer: 70-100 Baht
Souvenir t-shirt: 200-300 Baht
Cinema tickets: 120-170 Baht +
Average Room Prices Baht:
Budget: 130 (limited number) -600 Baht
Mid: 600-1500 Baht
High: 1500+ Baht
Tipping is not generally expected in Thailand, although change is often left at the end of a large, expensive meal. However, most Thais will generally only leave a token tip of 20 baht or so.
There is often a 10% service charge will be added to your bill at many top class restaurants and in this case tipping is not expected.