Thai Baht: How to Get the Absolute Best Exchange Rates

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, we’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 just want the answer, bringing cash to Thailand gives you the best exchange rate. 

But if you don’t want to take that much money with you, you use the below widget to find out which money transfer service is the best option for your case. 

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Key Takeaways

  • You get the best rate when bringing cash and exchanging it inside Thailand at a money exchange kiosk such as SuperRich. 
  • The biggest bank notes of your currency (such as US$100 bills) will get you the best exchange rates.
  • You can bring up to US$20,000 (or the equivalent) into Thailand without declaring it.
  • Unless you bring USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and CAD, you might get a better exchange rate by first exchanging your currency to USD. 
  • Avoid exchanging currency into Thai Baht in your home country or any airports.
  • You can withdraw money via ATM. The fee is around US$17 per withdrawal for US$1,000.
  • If you have a Thai bank account, use Monito to make an international transfer into Thailand.

Is it a Good Idea to Exchange Money in Thailand?

If you bring currency from the U.S., Europe, Britain, Australia, or Canada into Thailand, you’ll get the most favorable exchange rates.

In fact, bringing cash with you saves you money on ATM and credit card fees, assuming you use a low-cost currency exchange service like SuperRich or the others listed later in this guide.

However, if you’re from another country and have to bring cash into Thailand, it may be a good idea to exchange it into US Dollars (USD) first. Then exchange the dollar to baht once you’re in Thailand.

This works because exchange rates for USD are much better than lesser-used currencies.

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. 

Declaring Cash at Customs

According to the Thai Government, you can bring up to US$20,000 (or the equivalent in any other foreign currency) into Thailand without having to declare it with Thai customs officers.

It’s not illegal to bring more than US$20,000, but if you do, you must declare it with a Thai customs officer. Failure to do so is a criminal offense and could lead to legal consequences.

Tips for Exchanging Money in Thailand

This might sound crazy, but the kind of bills you exchange and the condition they’re in could determine how much Thai Baht you get in return.

For instance, larger bills like US$50 notes and US$100 notes will always get you more Thai Baht than smaller notes.

And some money exchange kiosks like SuperRich — who happen to give the best rates — are very particular about which bills they accept. On a recent trip back from South Korea, our editor couldn’t exchange two new 10,000 Korean Won notes into Thai Baht because they had small tears in the corner. So, try to tape or glue any torn notes before you exchange them. 

Another option would be to exchange any torn bills at a bank. They usually accept bills in most conditions.

How to Read Buy-Sell Exchange Rate Charts

One of the most confusing things to work out when exchanging money in Thailand is if you’re getting the buying or selling exchange rate. 

Knowing this bit of info will help you quickly scan the charts for the best currency exchange rates, especially if you’re in a pinch and need cash at the airport.

When you land in Thailand and are looking for a quick money transfer at the airport, you want to look at the “buy” column on the exchange rates charts. This is, essentially, how much the bank is buying your currency for in Thai Baht.

When you leave Thailand, look at the “sell” column. That’s how much they’re selling your home currency for in exchange for Thai Baht.

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Exchanging Money in Thailand

Generally speaking, reputable money exchange kiosks outside of the airport and some banks in Thailand will get you the best currency exchange rates.

Places with the Best Exchange Rates

Listed below are some of the places where you’ll get the best money exchange rates in Thailand.

Money Exchange Kiosks

Money exchange kiosks tend to offer the best deal, bar none, and can save you more than 90 percent on exchange rate fees, effectively costing you as little as 0.06 percent of the transaction amount.

In the table below, you’ll find a comparison of popular money exchange rates by company. Given the small difference in fees, you might want to just go to whichever currency exchange service is closest to 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%

However, of all the money exchange kiosks listed above, SuperRich tends to offer the best rates and remains the most popular place. 

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

In fact, SuperRich has locations all throughout Bangkok nowadays, from inside malls to along BTS skytrain routes. 

For the best rates, though, be sure to visit one of its main branches (Google Maps locations in table above). But even the secondary branches still offer better currency exchange rates than most banks in Bangkok.

Just be sure to bring your passport when you want to exchange money at SuperRich. However, some branches may let you use a Thai driver’s license.

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 Thailand, you’ll pay the rates listed below. Keep in mind that their rates at exchange counters in tourist areas and at airports are higher.

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

So, if you want to exchange US$1,000 at a bank, you’d get the following based on the percentages above.

  • Bangkok bank would give you THB32,710
  • Kasikorn Bank would give you THB32,680
  • Siam Commercial Bank would give you THB32,650

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.

Places with the Worst Exchange Rates

You may be tempted to exchange your money into Thai Baht before leaving your point of origin, but don’t do it.

Home Country Banks and Airports

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 percent to 10 percent at the very least if you exchange your local currency into baht.

Instead, it’s better to exchange your money once you arrive in Thailand. You’ll get far better rates if you go to SuperRich or one of the other money exchange kiosks mentioned above.

Thailand Airports

You might want to exchange your money as soon as you get to Thailand. However, you should think twice about using the currency exchange kiosks at any of Thailand’s airports.

Even the airport kiosk with the best rates won’t be as favorable as the money exchange kiosks outside of the airports.

That said, there are a few situations where you might need some cash on hand as soon as you land in Thailand. For instance, to buy a SIM card or pay for a taxi.

Read more: Thai SIM Card: Plans, Data, Price, and Registration

Tourist Hubs

Places like Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket are teeming with privately owned money exchange kiosks along their main roads. But you should avoid most of these places. You won’t get the best exchange rates here.

Alternatives to Exchanging Money

Whether you need fast cash for an emergency or have no access to money exchange kiosks, you have other ways of getting Thai Baht from your home country’s currency..

ATMs

You can get cash exchanged at decent rates in Thailand by withdrawing large amounts from an ATM.

However, most banks in Thailand charge a THB220 (US$7.00) fee on top of any fees your own bank charges, including fees hidden in inflated exchange rates. This is usually in the range of 0.5 percent to 1 percent per transaction, depending on the bank.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the current exchange rate from USD to THB is 1 to 33.

Without any fees, and in an ideal world, you’d get THB33,000 for a US$1,000 currency exchange.

That means if you want to take out US$1,000 from an ATM in Thailand, using a 1 percent exchange rate fee as an example, you’d only get THB32,670.

Add the THB220 withdrawal fee and you’re left with THB32,450. This isn’t including any fees your home bank charges.

This means you’ve spent almost US$17 on ATM fees to withdraw US$1,000. You’ve just lost 1.7 percent 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 US$17 you’ve just spent on ATM fees could’ve paid your internet or Thai cell phone bill for the month, it adds a new perspective.

Read more: The Complete Guide to ATMs in Thailand

Credit Cards

If you decide to use a Thai 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 percent and 2.5 percent.

Using our US$1,000 example from above, that means you’d pay THB33,825 for something that costs THB33,000, or an extra US$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).

Over the last few years, businesses and even some ATMs have started offering to charge customers in their credit card’s currency instead of Thai Baht. This could result in an exchange rate of 5 percent fee or more than that of your credit card company, which is usually less than 2.5 percent.

How to Avoid Credit Card Fees in Thailand

Some of the best deals, savings, and alternatives to hotels are available only online. 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 less money to lose.

Online International Money Transfers

You usually get the best exchange rates when exchanging your money inside of Thailand. 

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But if you don’t want to travel with cash and have a Thai bank account — or know someone who does — you can use Monito to compare different online transfer services and find out which one offers the best currency exchange rates.

Usually, of all the online money transfer service providers, Wise offers the best mid-market exchange rates and minimal transfer fees, roughly US$10 for every US$1,000 transferred. 

Thailand Exchange Rate Options For US$1,000

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 exchange US$1,000 into Thai Baht using all the methods in this guide.

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

What has been your best method of exchanging money in Thailand?

If you’ve ever exchanged money in Thailand using a method we didn’t outline above, let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear about it. 

My name is Karsten and I'm a 30-something pro-gamer turned tech entrepreneur. I'm the youngest of three sons to a British mom and a German dad who met while working in Canada. As management trainee at Lufthansa German Airlines I worked in India, Dubai, Austria and Germany.
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