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How to Get the Best Exchange Rates in Bangkok


There are several fool-proof ways to get the best exchange rates in Bangkok. Here are some of them:

1 . Do not change money at the airport. The first common mistake of travellers upon arriving at Bangkok (usually at Suvarnabhumi Airport) is changing all of their money in one of the currency exchange stalls at the terminal. Exchange rates inside the airport are terrible, period. Do not do it. If you really must get your baht at Suvarnabhumi, just exchange around 1,000 Baht. This will be enough to cover your expenses if you plan to travel by taxi to the city centre, where exchange rates are much better.

2. Use your ATM. Instead of bringing dollars and then changing them to baht, try withdrawing money from your debit card using any of the airport's many automated teller machines. Rates are usually better. The caveat:  Your bank will impose a transaction fee for every withdrawal you make outside your country -- typically $4 or $5. Make sure to withdraw a substantial amount -- good for three days, at least -- so you won't have to use the ATM as often.

3. If you are travelling with cash, the best thing to do is to find an independent currency exchange establishment. This is definitely better than exchanging your money at bank-run a bureau de change. To know who offers the best deals, go to this website. It can give you a ballpark of the current selling and buying prices for THB.

4. Avoid the money changers in Siam Paragon, Central World, and MBK. Most of the bureaux de change here are run by banks. Luckily, there are plenty of independent money changers in Pratunam. On Rajdamri Road, you will find Grand Super Rich and Super Rich Thailand. This street is close to Gaysorn Plaza, Centralworld, and the Big C.

Important Reminders for Tourists Exchanging Money in Bangkok

Remember to bring an ID (preferably your passport) when going to money changers and even banks if you plan to withdraw money over the counter. Once you enter the money changer office, you will be given a number and asked for your passport (which they will photocopy). Your number will be called when it's your turn. Even if the establishment is crowded, service is quite quick.

 Make sure to take down the address of the hotel or place you are staying because they will ask you for it. They may also ask for your Thailand mobile number, but it’s quite alright if you don’t have one.

It might be a long trip and a bit of a hassle to find independent money changers, but the savings can be huge. This is my personal experience: coming from the Philippines last October, I flew to Thailand and tried to exchange my pesos.  The rate from bank-run money changers was 0.50 baht, but at Super Rich Thailand, they offered 0.72 baht for each peso. The 0.27 difference might not seem much, but since I was exchanging 10,000 Philippine Pesos, I saved over 2,000 baht simply by choosing an independent bureau de change. 

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Photo by Joan Garcia

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