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 and subsequently probably never actually using the 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. On one side, they all display an image of the king, while the other side typically displays images of various temples scattered across the country. Therefore, it’s not “heads or tails” in Thailand but “king or temple”. 2 Baht coins are still fairly new so you’re unlikely to be given too many.
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 p.m although branches in shopping malls or in significant tourist locations might close later. The majority of travellers will for that reason likely utilise cash exchange booths that remain open till the late night hours.
Most likely more than one hundred exchange booths can be discovered all over Pattaya, especially in areas with a lot of traveler traffic, 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. Depending upon the quantity of cash you wish to exchange, nevertheless, it may be a good idea to compare the currency exchange rate provided by various banks prior to exchanging bigger quantity.
International credit/debit cards and Thai cards can be used in almost all Thai ATM machines, which are scattered throughout Pattaya. With so many convenience stores and pharmacies in the city with ATM’s you are 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.
You will often get a better rate to exchange foreign currency at the exchanges than you do in the airport so it may be worth holding off changing any large amounts of currency until you actually arrive in Pattaya.
Using your foreign credit/debit card in any Thai machine will cost you an extra 200 Baht for the pleasure, so it’s definitely worth 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.