Thai Baht: How to Get the Absolute Best Exchange Rates

thai baht how to get the best exchange rate

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Whether you’re traveling to or living in The Land of Smiles, when it comes to getting the best exchange rate in Thailand, you’re left with a few questions to answer:

  • Should I bring money to Thailand?
  • Should I withdraw money from an ATM?
  • Should I exchange my money at an exchange kiosk or bank?
  • Should I use an online transfer service?

The answer to these questions depends on how much money you’re willing to lose in exchange rate fees. But don’t worry, I’ve done all the leg work and have listed not only the best ways to exchange money in Thailand, but how much each method will cost you.

By the end of this guide you’ll know exactly which method will save you the most in exchange rate fees.

If you want to skip the read and go straight into getting the best exchange rate, use XendPay. This option is available if you already have a bank account in Thailand that you can transfer to.

Unless you’re bringing cash to Thailand and exchanging it here, you won’t get a better exchange rate than you will when using XendPay.

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Are you a traveler? Read the following three sections before moving on.

Are you an expat? You can skip to this section.

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Carrying Money Safely

Thailand is a relatively safe country. During the day there tend to be few issues with pick-pockets, bag snatchers, and other petty criminals.

But when carrying a lot of cash with you, avoid crowded places like buses and trains, nightlife areas, and other places popular with tourists.

If you’re coming to Thailand with a lot of cash that you plan to exchange in the country, avoid taking a local taxi. Although you probably won’t run into any issues, it’s best to play it safe.

You can use Taxi2Airport.com to compare and book a ride from the airport to your hotel. It’ll cost more than hailing a taxi at the airport, but depending on how much money you’re carrying, it’s worth the peace of mind–and might save you more in the end.

Change Your Money to US Dollars

For major currencies like USD, EUR, GBP, AUS and CAD you tend to get very good exchange rates in Thailand. In that case, bringing money with you in cash works out to save you a lot of money over the less favorable ATM and credit card rates, assuming you use a low-cost exchange service like SuperRich or others listed in this article.

However, if you’re from a smaller country and are forced to bring cash, it may be a good idea to exchange it into US Dollars first. Then exchange the dollar to baht once you’re in Thailand. This works because exchange rates for US Dollars are much better than smaller currencies. So exchanging your currency into US Dollars and then into Thai Baht will give you a higher exchange rate than exchanging your currency into Thai Baht.

The same goes for when you leave Thailand. Exchange your leftover Thai Baht into your home currency while you’re still in Thailand (or USD if your home currency has a large buy-sell spread).

Declare Cash at Customs

Keep in mind that if you bring more than $15,000 (or the equivalent in any other foreign currency) into the country, you’ll have to declare it at the border.

It’s not illegal, as some people may think, but you may be asked to provide some information as to where the money came from or what you plan to do with it.

Exchange Your Money in Thailand

Never exchange your money into Thai Baht in your home country. This method is by far the most expensive. In virtually all countries, including countries neighboring Thailand, you tend to lose 5% to 10% at the very least if you exchange your local currency into baht.

How to Get the Best Rates

You’ll get the best exchange rates when exchanging your money inside of Thailand. But you have to know which methods offer the best exchange rates. I’ll break down these methods in the following section, but they tend to be:

  • Credit Cards
  • Traveler’s Checks
  • Banks
  • ATMs
  • Exchange Offices and Kiosks
  • Online Transfers

Credit Cards

If you decide to use a credit card to purchase something instead of withdrawing the money from an ATM, you’ll pay even more in exchange rate fees, typically between 2% to 2.5%.

Using our $1,000 example from above, that means you’d pay 33,825 baht for something that costs 33,000 baht, or an extra $25. And then you’d have to tack on the interest your credit card company charges you for not paying the balance in full (if you don’t pay it in full each month).

Be forewarned: Over the last few years, ATMs in Thailand and even businesses have started offering to charge customers in their credit card’s currency instead of Thai Baht. In any single instance I’ve witnessed so far this has resulted in an exchange rate of 5% or more than that of your credit card company, which is usually less than 2.5%.

How Do You Avoid Credit Card Fees in Thailand?

Some of the best deals, savings, and alternatives to hotels are available online only. If you pay for these deals in your home currency by credit card before you come to Thailand you’ll instantly save on the booking price, and it’ll be less money you have to exchange in Thailand and possibly lose money on.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s Checks used to be a way to save some money on fees and exchange rates. Since fees for traveler’s checks were increased from 33 baht to 153 baht per check a few years back, traveler’s checks are mostly a thing of the past.

Exchange rates tend to be worse than cash, with Siam Commercial Bank being the only exception. The bank offers slightly better rates for traveler’s checks than exchanging cash. But at that point, you’re better off exchanging your cash at Bangkok Bank, which you’ll find out about next.

Thailand Banks

Bank-owned exchange counters are widely available in tourist areas, from airports to night markets and everywhere in between.

Banks’ exchange rates are in the same region as what most credit card companies charge you for payments or withdrawals in a foreign currency.

The fees aren’t as low as what a debit card gets you for your money, but at least there are no additional fees. Exchanging money at banks is an acceptable option if you only exchange a small amount of money.

If you exchange cash at one of the commercial bank branches that are located throughout the city, you’ll pay the rates listed below. Keep in mind that their rates at exchange counters in tourist areas and at airports are higher. (Click on a bank’s name to bring up their locations.)

BankExchange Fee
Bangkok Bank0.87%
Kasikorn Bank0.97%
Siam Commercial Bank1.05%

How would using a bank work out if we apply our $1,000 example from above? Let’s take a closer look.

  • Bangkok bank would give you 32,710 baht for your $1,000.
  • Kasikorn Bank would give you 32,680 baht for you $1,000.
  • And Siam Commercial Bank would give you 32,650 baht for your $1,000.

All of these banks get you a better exchange rate than using an ATM machine.

Another option would be to go directly into an official bank branch, give them your debit card, and ask for a cash advance or a cash withdrawal. You’ll have to bring your passport, but some banks won’t charge you any additional fees. So the only fee you’ll pay is the fee your bank charges.

Depending on your bank card, this option may be cheaper than using ATMs. However, don’t do it with a credit card because you’ll be hit with withdrawal and cash advance fees, which will end up costing you even more money.

ATMs

My usual procedure to get cash exchanged at decent rates in Thailand is to withdraw large amounts from an ATM.

However, most banks in Thailand charge a 220 baht ($7.00 US) fee on top of any fees your own bank charges, including fees hidden in inflated exchange rates, usually in the range of 0.5% to 1% per transaction, depending on your bank.

For argument’s sake, lets say the current exchange rate from US Dollars to Thai Baht is 1 US Dollar to 33 Thai Baht.

Without any fees, and in an ideal world, you’d get 33,000 baht for a $1,000 currency exchange.

That means if you want to take out $1,000 from an ATM in Thailand, using a 1% exchange rate fee as an example, you’d only get 32,670 baht.

Add the 220 baht withdrawal fee and your left with 32,450 baht. This isn’t including any fees your home bank charges.

This means you’ve spent almost $17 on ATM fees to withdraw $1,000. You’ve just lost 1.7% of your money.

Is losing that much money the end of the world? Not really. Especially in the event of an emergency. But when you live in Thailand and find out that the $17 you’ve just spent on ATM fees could’ve paid your internet of Thai cell phone bill for the month, it adds a new perspective.

Exchange Offices and Kiosks

A better alternative to bank-owned exchange counters are major, locally-owned, money exchange offices or kiosks. These tend to offer the best deal, bar none, and can save you more than 90% on your exchange fees, effectively costing you as little as 0.06% of the transaction amount.

If you’re exchanging your US Dollars into Thai Baht you’ll get the best rate with $50 or $100 bills. Smaller bills will get you slightly lower rates.

Exchange offices in Thailand don’t tend to be as strict as those found in some other countries. For example, bills don’t necessarily have to be in crisp condition to get the best rate, but they should be fairly recent (US notes issued before 2009 might not be accepted at some places).

Below, you’ll find a comparison of popular money exchange office rates. Most banks and exchange offices don’t have separate exchange fees. They’re already included in the exchange rate in the form of a small surcharge over the official interbank forex rate.

The fees listed below were calculated by splitting the spread between buying and selling rates into equal parts. Technically, the surcharge can be different for buying and selling, but to keep things simple, I’ve combined it into a single figure. The data is based on a survey completed on April 10th, 2018 for the buying and selling of a $100 bill.

In addition to the fees, I’ve also linked the exchange offices to their Google maps location. Given the small difference in fees, you might want to just go to whichever is located most conveniently for you.

CompanyExchange Fee
SuperRich0.06%
Twelve Victory Exchange Co.,Ltd.0.07%
MT Exchange0.07%
Vasu Exchange0.10%
SIA Exchange0.10%
Jag Exchange0.10%
K79 Exchange0.17%

These exchanges usually require your passport, but sometimes settle for a Thai driver’s license.

The best rates are to be had at their main branches, often located downtown Bangkok, somewhat removed from main roads. But unless you plan to exchange more than $10,000, the difference might not be worth it.

You can go to one of their more conveniently located satellite branches without losing much in the exchange.

Super Rich is the most well-known of the low cost local money exchange places.
Super Rich is the most well-known and often cheapest of the low-cost local money exchange offices.

Some exchange companies like SuperRich now operate branches at Skytrain stations. While rates at these locations aren’t as good as at their main locations, they’re still far more competitive than what you would get at a bank.

Using our $1,000 example from above and the best exchange rate office on our list, SuperRich, you’d get 32,800 baht for for your exchange, just slightly better than using ATMS or banks.

Online Transfers

If you have a Thai bank account or know someone who does, you can use an online money transfer service to get your money from your home country into Thailand at the best exchange rate available with minimal fees.

If you use XendPay for example, you’ll get 32,755 baht for a $1,000 transfer. This beats all the money exchange methods above except for SuperRich.

But remember, that’s only if you walk into SuperRich with a handful of $100 bills. And this would also have to mean that you actually have cash on you. And considering the time and money it’ll cost you to get to SuperRich, there really isn’t much savings in using them compared to XendPay.

Now, Over to You

If you think about it, getting the best exchange rate in Thailand comes down not to how much you’re going to get in the end, but how much you’re willing to part with in the beginning.

Just to recap, here’s how much money it’ll cost you to get $1,000 into Thai Baht in Thailand:

MethodCost
ATM$17+
Bank (best choice)$8.80+
Exchange Kiosk (best choice)$6.06+
Online Money Transfer$7.42

But these numbers come with a stipulation. If you’re coming to Thailand and want to get the most Thai baht for your money, exchange it into US Dollars first outside of Thailand, in preferably $100 bills, and then exchange those $100 bills at SuperRich in Thailand.

If you’re in Thailand and want to bring your money into the country from abroad, while getting the best exchange rates, use XendPay. It’s quick, safe, and takes only minutes to complete up a transfer.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September of 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Photo by Peter Hellberg.

52 comments
  1. we will be in Thailand shortly and wife wants to bring some thai base back to uk.
    she thinks buying dollar in Thailand and then changing to gbp gives better results i think she will lose, advice appreciated.

  2. Heading to Thailand in a month… was planning to change £1000. However, reading this article I may be best changing it there?

    But… is it safe to carry £1000 cash? should I take the cash or withdraw from a bank? I’m a bit lost..

    1. Take it in cash and exchange it at the airport at one of the exchange shops right in front of the Subway station entrance. Good rates, not much risk.

  3. Hello,
    I am going to thailand next month and am getting surgery that will be 16,900 thai baht which is about $553.08 USD how much will I have to pay to get 16,900 thai baht? What is the exchange rate? this is kind of confusing it’s my first time going to thailand.

    Thanks

  4. Hi , I am travelling to Thailand for work from India and is it better if I load my Forex card with Thai bhat and use it at ATM , since I will be withdrawing a large amount of Thai bhat to sustain life for one month till I get my pay check

    1. Depends on the specific fees and conditions of your card. What exchange rate do you get for INR to USD? Might be the cheapest option to bring USD in cash.

  5. I cannot speak for all currencies but certainly do not exchange Canadian or Australian dollars into US dollars either just buy Thai Baht directly in Thailand. Check the sites given earlier in this thread to see if your currency is one that should be exchanged into US$ first as likely it is not.

  6. Well, by exchanging my euros to dollars at home I’d already lose 19$ per 1000$. This is an extremely stupid suggestion.

    1. You’re right in that it doesn’t make sense with EUR or GBP as the on-site exchange rates for those are really good in Thailand. However, for the majority of currencies in the world, exchanging into USD first makes sense, assuming you want to bring cash.

      I’ve clarified the article accordingly.

  7. i am going back to my country and i need to change the THB to USD, which one would be better: Bank or at Airport.
    Thank you

    1. Exchange service like Super Rich, Victory 12 etc. offer better rates than banks. Even their branches at the airport (downstairs, next to the MRT) have really good rates.

  8. Doing operation in thiland hospital and its about 530000 baht

    Do I bring dollar or baht

    Please advise

    1. Hi Saif. Sounds like a lot of money to be walking around with. That’s about $16,000USD. Do you really want to travel with that much cash? I’d ask the hospital if you can pay by US credit card or make an international transfer.

  9. I always use daytodaydata werbsite or thailandexchanges.com for accurate rates , prefer last one as it has a lot more exchanges listed

  10. I certainly wouldn’t dream of exchanging my currency into Dollars first, that would just be a complete waste of my money! I’d lose more doing so. It may work with some currencies, but not going from Pounds Sterling into Thai Baht!

  11. I am traveling this week want to understand if I should carry dollars or baht from India. Or should convert dollars into baht in Thailand . Pls reply asap. Thanks in advance.

  12. So I normally use my credit cards when i travel abroad no fees but im a bit freaked out by the comments on the internet saying i might have to show immigration like 20,000 baht 600-700 usd per person. So i plan on bringing cash instead and just exchanging what i need in Thailand. This was super helpful in my finding an exchange near my hotel. Have you heard any information on the cash requirement for entering?

  13. Your percentages for exchange fees are wrong, it’s 0,6% for Super Rich & so on, not 0,06%.

    1. The percentages are correct: The rates are virtually mid-market rates. I know how mind-boggling that sounds when you compare it with banks (where you usually find 0.5% if it’s a very good rate), but that is indeed the situation on the ground at the major branches of those cash currency exchanges. Even at the airport, once you get to the subway area, you get rates that are close to that range. It makes cash exchanges by far the cheapest option.

  14. Very informative and realistic blog.
    I’ve been going to Thailand a couple times a year from the U.S. I found that if you exchange your usd to baht before you travel, you get the best rates. Of course look around first. AAA ( American Automobile Association) has the EXACT rates of that day. There is a $3 USD flat fee charge on any amount you want to exchange.
    When I went to Thailand, the airport kioks are 3 baht 4 baht lower. Multiple that by how much you exchange and that’s alot in Thai currency. Even the banks there have the lowest rates plus up to 7% fee.
    Let’s say I want to exchange $550 USD for Bhat.
    Rate at AAA is 32.96 bhat to 1usd at the time of exchange.
    That is 18,128 baht.
    The rate at the kioks range from 29 baht to 30 baht. Plus their fee ( 150 baht to 200 baht)
    That’s 15,950 bhat to 16,500 baht plus the fees.
    The banks aren’t any better….
    Losing 1500 to 2000 baht as soon as you get off the plane doesn’t bother you, then bring your cash to exchange there. But you’ll realize that 1500 to 2000 baht is alot to lose that fast if you are a thai national. It goes a long long way.
    Or, just get a thai bank account or transfer money into a friends thai account before you travel there.
    This comment is primarily for U.S. travelers.
    I found this information when I had to get a IDP (International Driver’s Permit) to drive in Thailand. AAA is the best at giving you best rates as the market shows for that day. It locks in and takes 2 to 3 days for the currency to arrive at your AAA location.
    Your IDP is $20 usd.
    I don’t work for AAA. I didn’t even know they did currency exchange, IDP and other travel stuff.
    At least check them out http://www.aaa.com

    Happy travels!!!!

  15. I have forex card .will it be useful in bangkok for shopping. Rest hotel, food is already paid in tours.

  16. Hey Karsten,

    Good, informative post, thanks for this. Would be great to know some tips for transferring money out of Thailand, as I make my salary here and have certain bills (student loan, credit card) to pay back home (Norway).

    I’ve mailed Transferwise and used their request option (if you read this and want the same, please go to the Transferwise page and do the same!), but so far no luck! Seems limited to transferring via local banks (high fees) or services like Western Union (also high fees)?

  17. Hi I am from Philippines and I have 3 days tour in Bangkok this coming december, what would be the best way of money exchange? Appreciate your reply.. thanks a lot.

  18. Bringing cash to Thailand and exchanging it in the country is a surprisingly effective way to handle things – assuming you exchange it at the right place. A number of places provide reasonably competitive rates, but there are some that are out-of-this-world good.

    What are the right places re you talking about? Can you help me on that??

    1. I’m not sure about the regulatory requirements for that. What steps have you taken so far and did you find out anything about the process already?

  19. Hi there , we are travelling to Thailand next week from Australia , do we also have to convert to US dollar for better rates or not bother?
    Caroline H

  20. Hi there I’m traveling to Thailand at end of January 2018, an will have about £4500 that I want to change into Thai baht, should I just leave it in sterling then change into TBH or would it be better for me to change into USD in England first, then change that into THB once I’m in Thailand, an use a money exchange office rather than bank, thanks

    1. I’d say bring GBP – you’ll get pretty competitive rates for those and cash exchange rates in the UK (even for USD) will be awful

  21. Hello, Can I bring British Pounds and convert them to Thai Baths in Thailand or is it still better to bring USD which means I would have to buy USD first and then THB?

    Thank you

    1. I’d say with British Pounds, I’d just bring that. Exchanging cash in the UK would probably have a steep surcharge.

  22. I have been told that exchange counters in Thailand do not recognize canadian currency. The exchange rate here for US currency is just under $0.80. I have heard that exchanging money into USD here and then converting to THB once in Thailand is the best option. What are your views on this? Also, I have a USD bank account, could that assist me with getting money exchanged easier once in Thailand? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Normally, exchanging through a money exchange counter gives a better rate then though a bank account. In your case, you can compare between exchanging from CAD to USD (from Canada) and then USD to THB and exchanging from CAD to USD directly. The exchange rate can be found on [link temporarily removed due to their website being hacked]

      1. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE!!

        It will try to install “JSCoinminer Download 6,” which is harmful to your computer.

        JScoinminer is a detection for a JavaScript cryptocurrency miner that runs in web browsers. The javascript coin miner consumes enormous CPU resources, making computer use sluggish. The JavaScript is loaded in the browser when the user visits a web page hosting the JavaScript. The JavaScript runs as long as the user stays on the web page. As long as the website being visited is injected with the coin mining javascript, the website will be blocked by this signature. The computer system is not actually “infected” when this detection triggers.

        1. Thanks, Fred. I’ve edited the comment. Not too great for a financial services company if their website gets hacked, but yeah, tech-wise there are some improvement opportunities for companies here.

  23. Hi, Do Money Exchange Offices such as Super Rich accept U.S. bank debit cards?
    Thanks.

    1. Banks do, but I doubt Super Rich does. If you try it out, please let me know how it goes.

  24. I live in Canada, does it still make sense to convert to USD and then convert that into THB in Thailand? Or is it better to take CDN dollars and convert them into THB in Thailand.

    Also I’ve been told the best place to convert is at the Thailand airport, is this true? if not where is the best place for Canadians?

    1. Depends a little on the exchange rate you get for CDN to USD in Canada. Unless it’s a large amount, you might not want to bother. Airport rates at the exchange shops near the subway at the airport are indeed very good (not the best, but not worth going elsewhere for better rates) – e.g. the SuperRich branches there. Important to note is that it’s only those shops – the other counters by banks found throughout the airport have worse rates.

    2. I do not change Canadian into US before going to Thailand. In fact I’ll get more by exchanging Cdn to Baht and then to US at Vasu near Suhkumvit 7 than I would get buying US in Canada. Check their rates at http://www.vasuexchange.com . What is shown is the rate for $100, you’ll get a worse rate if you use smaller bills.They usually give best or second best rates in Bangkok according to daytodaydata.net at least for Canadian dollars.

  25. So is it better to go to TD bank and exchange USD in America or bring American money to Thailand?

    1. If you plan to expand cash, it’s always better to bring USD and do it within Thailand.

  26. Hi Karsten, very good and useful update.

    For me it is quite convenient as I have Thai friends who currently work in Singapore. They need to send money back so i help them with it and they send money to my Singapore account. Of course there are trust issues with friends and money, but thankfully all has been good so far.

  27. Hello Karsten, thanks for linking to me.
    Unfortunately Citibank now charges the 200 THB as well. But it still allows withdrawal of high amounts of Thai Baht.
    Best regards, Charles

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