All you need to know about Thai money, where to exchange your foreign notes and why Thai money is treated with the utmost respect. Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht (THB). Over the years there has been little fluctuation in foreign exchange rates and the Thai Baht has remained one of the most stable currencies in South-East Asia.
One Baht is subdivided into 100 satangs. Due to their low value, however, only 25 and 50 satang coins are still in use. As a tourist you are most likely to encounter these particular coins when receiving change at a local convenience store. Subsequently, you’ll probably never actually use these tiny coins to buy anything yourself. Although every coin has a value, satangs are rarely used.
During your time in Pattaya, the most common coins you will come in contact with are likely to be 1, 5 and 10 Baht coins. The 2 Baht coin is still fairly new so you’re unlikely to be given too many of them. On one side of the coin, they all display an image of the king. On the other side they typically display images of various temples scattered across the country. Therefore, it’s not “heads or tails” in Thailand, but “king or temple”.
Banknotes in Thailand come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht. Each note differs in colour and size but all display an image of the Thai king on the front. Given the high respect Thai people pay to the king and members of the royal family, Thai banknotes – just like coins – should be treated as respectfully as an image of the monarch and with the natural respect a banknote deserves. In Thailand, anything to do with the King and Royal Family are extremely important and should always be taken very seriously. This also applies when talking about the Royal Family and/or King. The laws against disrespecting the Royal Family are very strict and fully enforced.
ATM’s & Currency Exchange
Banks in Thailand close rather early, typically at 3.30 pm. Some branches in shopping malls or in significant tourist locations might close later. You’ll probably find that you utilise cash exchange booths more because they remain open till late.
Some one hundred exchange booths can be discovered all over Pattaya, especially in popular tourist areas, such as Walking Street. Aside from a variety of personal cash changers, a lot of currency exchange services are offered by banks and currency exchange rates do not differ considerably. Nevertheless, depending upon the quantity of cash you wish to exchange, it may be a good idea to compare a handful of options in advance. You will often get a better rate to exchange foreign currency at the exchanges in the city than you do in an airport. We would suggest holding off changing any large amounts of currency until you actually arrive in Pattaya.
International credit/debit cards and Thai cards can be used in almost all Thai ATM machines. With so many convenience stores and pharmacies in the city, each with ATM’s, you’re never more than a few meters from a machine. ATM’s are easy to operate and normally give you the option to translate into English and dispense cash immediately. Using your foreign credit/debit card in any Thai machine will cost you an extra 200 Baht just for the pleasure. Bare this in mind and consider only withdrawing larger amounts to save on extra charges.
Paying for goods with your credit/debit card is still not widely available in Thailand. Some shops in large malls may offer the service but most will not, so always carry enough cash with you.