By T. Bull

The Baht is the currency in Thailand and is found in the following denominations:
20 Baht note-Green
50 Baht note-Blue
100 Baht note-Red
500 Baht note -Purple
1000 baht note- Brown
25 Satang coin -small brass coin
50 Satang coin- small brass coin
1 Baht coin -silver and slightly larger than a US cent
5 Baht coin- silver & slightly smaller than the 10 Baht coin
10 Baht coin- silver ring with a brass center

There are also 1,5, and 10 Satang coins you will occasionally run into along with the 25 and 50 Satang coins but normally you’ll only get these as change in a supermarket, chain stores, or sometimes a seven eleven. Most other places deal in whole baht denominations. If you do find yourself with a pocketful of Satang you’ll probably be bringing some home as souvenirs.

All Thai currency has the image of the king on it. It is considered disrespectful to keep Thai money in your back pocket as you would be sitting on the king. Likewise if you should drop a note or coin don’t step on it to stop it as that is very disrespectful.

Never change your currency at home before traveling to Thailand as your home country exchange rates will be bad. There are many places to change currency in Thailand almost every bank has money changers on every corner in the tourist areas as well as their branch locations. Hotel and airport money changers typically give a bad rate as well so stick to the banks for the best rate. Although, it is a good idea to exchange a small amount at the airport when arriving just so you have money to get where you are going.

Due to the fluctuations of the Thai baht over the last several years there has developed a split exchange price one being offshore exchange rates and one being on shore (in Thailand). Be careful using exchange rate calculators such as XE provides as they give the offshore rate and many others do as well. Check the daily rates at Thai banks online like:

Siam Bank
Kasikorn Bank
Bangkok Bank.

ATM’s are everywhere in the tourist areas and they give the in country rate as well but beware your banks fees on withdraws and currency conversions from your currency to Baht because most of the time these fees will drop the rate considerably, especially considering most banks will convert currency at the off shore rate. If you live in Great Britain open a Nationwide Flex Account and if you live in America open an ING Orange checking account both of these banks do not charge fees for withdraws or convert your currency at the off shore rate.

Travelers checks are always the best option. Even though you will pay a percentage fee you always get the better exchange rates on them. You also have the added security that if they are lost or stolen they will be replaced within 24 hours. Remember you will have to show your passport whenever changing Travelers checks.

Cash, as they say, is always king but unless you are bringing only large bills then the rate varies per denomination and the rate is only fractionally better than Travelers checks. Taking a large sum of cash anywhere these days is a bad idea and not worth the risk. One hundred dollar bills minted in 1996 are usually not accepted due to the fact that year was heavily counterfeited by North Korea.

Your best bet is to have a mix of travelers checks and a credit/debit card so you’ll be covered in all cases.

Note: using your credit/debit card at ATM’s is usually very safe but don’t use them in stores or shops to buy goods because credit card fraud is rife in Thailand. The only time I’ve used them other than ATM’s is at the hotel but I felt comfortable with the owners/management before I did.

Born and raised in Baltimore Maryland I finally set out to discover the world in 2006. South East Asia has always been a beacon for me and Thailand its crowned jewel.

I write about my experiences in Thailand as well as the cultural aspects of being a foreigner in a foreign land. I blog daily about Thailand at: http://thailandlandofsmiles.com