One of the most common questions asked on the Koh Samui and Thailand forums, is what to do about money, and how to get hold of the local currency? The options on Koh Samui are basically the same as any other popular area of Thailand. ATM machines & Foreign Exchange booths (useful for cash and/or travellers cheques).

There is no shortage of ATM machines or Foreign Exchange booths right around Samui. These ATM's and Forex Booths are linked to the major Thai banks and are legitimate.

For real time updated exchange rates, for all major Thai banks, this link is very reliable - bankexchangerates.daytodaydata.net

While there are some other places that will offer cash exchange services, (like shops and hotels) the rate they offer will be significantly less than the recognised Foreign Exchange booths.

Often recommended is to use a combination of ATM card and your home currency to exchange, once you reach Thailand. It's also worth having an extra ATM card stashed away for contingent purposes.

  • Bring enough baht with you to carry you over until you can change your home currency in to baht at a money exchange booth. Major world currencies like USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, SGD are widely accepted for exchange purposes.
  • Currency exchange booths will give you a much better exchange rate than you will ever get in your home country.
  • NEVER change money at your hotel. The exchange rate will not be particularly good.
  • Make yourself aware of any fees imposed by your bank for using debit and credit cards overseas. Better still, bring a debit or credit card with you that has low or no fees for overseas use.
  • Also be aware of the 180฿  fee imposed by most Thai ATM's over and above your home banks fees.
  • The ATM rate of exchange is comparable to most bank cash rates.
  • ATM's only dispense Thai Baht.  
  • Inform your bank of your intended travel movements so they don't block the card when they see foreign transactions.
  • To minimise ATM fees, withdrawal the maximum allowed each transaction, usually 20 banknotes or 20 000฿.
  • Your personal daily withdrawal limit will be enforced if less than the equivalent of 20 000฿.

Travellers Cheques

  • offer you extra security over cash
  • Travellers Cheques get a fractionally better rate of exchange, although you generally lose any small gains by way of the 153฿ (per cheque cashed) fee. 
  • Remember with Travellers Cheques you must produce your passport as ID to cash them.
  • If you intend to bring Travellers Cheques (as with cash) bring them in your home currency.
  • Do not bring Tomas Cook Travellers Cheques as banks will not cash them.

Debit, Credit and Prepaid Cards

  • Before leaving your home country shop around for a debit, credit or prepaid card that charges low, or better still, no fees for use overseas and also uses the best possible conversion rate for your purchases.
  • If you must use a debit, credit or prepaid card ensure that the charge is in baht and not in your home currency.
  • Always keep a copy of the receipt on the off chance you have an issue with the payment on your return home so that it can be resolved by your bank.
  • Before using a debit, credit or prepaid card ensure you are aware of any additional charges that may be added by the vendor.
  • If you are taking a prepaid card with you ensure you have one that allows for cards to be re-issed in the event of the card being lost. Some of these cards may be one time use only and if lost the money that was still on that card is also lost!

Further explanation and information of all currency matters linked here



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