An easy way to save money is by exchanging cash currency in Thailand and not in your home country. This little trick can save hundreds of pounds or dollars.
It’s no secret that exchanging travel money in the UK or other European and Western countries is an utter rip off. Wherever you go – Asda, Post Office, M&S, the branch of your bank – they will fleece you. And they’ll smile while they do it, too. And withdrawing money abroad from ATMs should only be used as an emergency as there are fees and bad exchange rates.
The best way to save money is to take the native currency to the Thailand and exchange it at a local bank – or to save even more, there’s a little-know place that gives better rates than Thai banks. Few people know about this company…. so keep reading to see how to use this method and what it’s called.
To prove how much money can be saved, take a loot at the exchange for GBP and THB as of January 23, 2016. (We use the British Post Office rate as an example of the UK while Siam Commercial Bank in Thailand is given as an example in Thailand, as many banks have a similar rate).
- The mid-market rate: 1GBP = 51.39THB
- Post Office: 1GBP = 48.84THB
- Siam Commercial Bank = 1GBP = 50.25 THB
- See the screen grabs below for proof
The difference in the above rates may seem small – just a couple of Baht, which is hardly much to get stressed about when planning for a big trip abroad. Well, no! For a two week trip in Thailand for two people, £2,000 is about the average spending money most tourists will use, assuming that all hotels, taxis, massages, food, day trips, entertainment, alcohol and night time fun and recreation is paid for in cash. It works out around £140 a day, which is a good amount.
Now take the difference between the Post Office rate (which is actually quite conservative and many exchanges will give less( and the Siam Commercial Bank rate – it’s 1.41THB. That’s a difference of 1.41THB for every pound that is exchange. Multiply that difference by 2,000 and you get 2,820 THB – that’s a saving of almost £60!
Now that’s just for £2,000. For business trips, longer holidays or repeat trips to the same destination, the savings really do add up. Some people might go two or three times a year to Thailand or any other country for that matter, which ads up to a few hundred over the course of a year.
So how to change money in Thailand?
Well, it’s pretty easy. Don’t be put off by scaremongers who want to change all their money at home, and have the foreign currency ready.
After stepping off the plane at Suvarnabhumi airport, there are lots of stalls and booths in the arrivals area. All the major Thai banks have a stand here with exchange services – and yes, they give a great rate. And unlike in the West, they don’t feel the need to rip off holidaymakers and tourists. The rate is the same as their branches in the Bangkok.
Here’s what is needed for exchanging money in Thailand….
- Have native cash currency ready. That means notes and not credit cards or debit cards.
- Only travel with notes that are clean, without marks, tears or writing on them as Thai banks really do not like the way other currencies can be crumpled, torn, written on with pens and have other marks0.
- A passport. Foreign banks will only exchange currency when a valid passport is presented. They will also look at the Visa to make sure your trip is legal.
So there you have this simple little trick that favours the brave. It can save hundreds or even thousands of pounds for regular travellers to Thailand.
And as promised… for those who have read this far, here’s a secret tip for getting even more savings from changing money in Thailand.
Remember in the shots above of the rate that Siam Commercial Bank gave? They offered 50.25 while the actual mid market exchange rate was 51.39. Well, there is one foreign exchange company called Super Rich that was actually offereing 50.95 baht for £1gbp – that’s an even bigger saving and gives more cash for having fun.
Here’s how to take advantage of their generous rates…
- Exchange money for 1,500 Thai Baht at Suvarnabhumi to pay for a Thai sim card or top up Internet data, get some refreshments and a taxi or Sky Train ticket, then head to your hotel.
- Drop off the bags and head to the nearest branch of Super Rich. Yes, bookmark this page or make a note of the name as not many Thais know about the company and even fewer tourists.
- Super Rich has booths at several places in Bangkok, including at the Asoke BTS and Skytrain station, but their headquarters are 45 Soi Rajdamri 1, Rajdamri, Patumwan , Bangkok, 10330, Thailand.
- Super Rich is open Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Sauturdays and Sundays 9.30am – 4,30pm (obviously travellers who arrive in Bangkok outside this time will have to exchange a little more currency at the airport and visit Super Rich the next day or when they open.
- Super Rich can be contacted on +66 (0)2 254-4444
This tip to save money while travelling to Thailand is not well known. Even some people who have been more than ten times still insist on exchanging their currency at home, instead of waiting until they arrive in Thailand.