Money in Thailand questions.

Oct 2nd, 2007, 04:07 AM
  #1  
TC
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Money in Thailand questions.

Dear Thai experts;

-will it be difficult to exchange currency at the airport in BKK arriving on an international flight after midnight?

-is there an exchange location near the Royal Orchid Sheraton?

-(here's the tough question) any guess on how much cash one should consider needing?

We will be in Thailand for a bit over a month. One week in Bangkok, two weeks on a sailboat from Phuket, a few days at beach resort in Khoa Lak, then on to Anatarra and mountain resort near Chiang Rai.

All accomodations, etc. have been prepaid or will be on credit cards. Just wondering how much you frequent visitors average for daily expenditures in cash. We are a bit nervous at having too much cash on-board during the sailing portion of the trip, but also concerned that ATMs may not be readily available outside Bangkok.

Any guidance will be appreciated as we must begin to make a stab at calculations. Thanks.
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Oct 2nd, 2007, 05:43 AM
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Hi TC-

Regarding your sailing trip.....can you please make sure to post comments once you return? My husband and I have done several bareboat charters before and have considered doing one in Thailand, but I have not read any first hand comments.

Thanks...wishing you smooth seas and good winds

Cruisinred
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Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:22 AM
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If for some reason the exchange booth is closed, there is an ATM right next to it (just after you pass through Immigration). You can withdraw up to 20,000 baht.
Bisbee is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:29 AM
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I usually get into Bangkok about midnight, and the exchange booths have always been open. Many flights arrive at that time, so you won't be alone in the airport!

There is a cash machine (maybe more then one) right next to River City (which is attached to the Royal Orchid). You'll also find ATMs all over Bangkok.

I have no idea how much money you'll need. It depends on what you are doing and whether you will be using your credit cards often or prefer to use cash as much as possible.

While you won't have access to a cash machine on your sailing trip, there are planty of cash machines in Phuket.
Kathie is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 06:49 AM
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there are machines at the airport which change foreign currenices into baht as well...

why would you carry huge amounts of cash? that seems like a problem and a risk....ATM's are the best way to go....i withdraw $300 at a whack usually and i find that it lasts us about 2 days....it really depends on your spending habits....i pay for all meals in cash usually and most of our shopping with cash....i only use credit cards for large expenditures (custom clothing and jewelry, for instance) and for my hotel stays....

only you know what your spending habit will be....almost every place in bkk will take your credit/debit cards, except for street vendors and local markets..

the ROS has an exchange at the front desk, but the rate probably will be slightly less than normal....i cannot think of a stand alone exchange near to the hotel, but there must be one....there is an ATM directly across the street on the corner...
i also cannot think of a near by bank, but on new road there are some....

my favorite exchange point is a window next to the gas station at the corner of soi 4 and sukhumvit rd.....no fees....

for convenience i would use ROS
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Oct 2nd, 2007, 01:18 PM
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No it is not difficult to change money at the airport even at that time. I often arrive around midnight and have no problems.

I wouldn't use credit cards for paying for cheap purchases to avoid any credit card fraud. Use cash for cheap purchases. Also, at the airport make sure you have small bills to pay the taxi bill.

Some credit cards have big fees for ATM use. When you use an ATM take out the maximum you can at one whack to cut down on fees. Better yet switch to a card that the bank or usually credit unions pay the ATM fees. Check to see how much your fees would be per ATM use before you leave home.

My credit union pays the ATM fees for my debit card. I move money over from my bank to my credit union before a trip and when I run out of cash I hit the ATM.

I like travelers checks too! If you can get your travelers checks free through a bank or credit union don't be afraid to take them. My travelers checks are free of commission so I bring a few with me, only take large denominations like 100 dollar or euros. The fee to cash a TC (33 baht per check) is cheaper than the ATM fee!

Any excess Thai baht can be changed back to your home currency when you fly for home.

How much to spend per day?? Depends on your spending habits! I am a cheap traveler and stay in cheap places my needs are few. Roughly how much per day do you spend at home? Maybe that is a guide to go by. I find restaurants and hotels to be pretty cheap in Thailand. If you go out of your way to spend money only at the expensive places and do expensive things then you will need a lot of money each day!

SirHalberd is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 01:27 PM
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There is nothing wrong with bringing a little cash with you. What would be wrong would be leaving it in the hotel room when you go out - use the security box!

Use the security box for safeguarding your money and valuables. It is not necessarily the hotel staff you are protecting your money from, your fellow tourists next door may be thieves too! (Probably more likely!)

Cash is okay, store excess cash in safety boxes and DON'T leave the safety box key out in plain sight in your room!

I record important must remember info on the internet in an email sent to my self. You can record the serial numbers of travelers checks and $100 bills if you want. Along with flight itineraries and schedules, etc. When you need the info just find an internet shop!
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Oct 3rd, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Forget exchanging money, just make a withdrawal from an ATM. If you don't see one at the airprt, there's one at the base of River City mall next to the ROS. Turn left after exiting the ROS, walk past the vendors and moto cycles and you'll come to River City Mall. There's an ATM on the outside of the Mall facing the ROS all the way to your right.

I generally take out 10,000 Baht at a time. This gives you the opportunity to purchase most things and even a chance to bargain further with an offer to pay cash.
Gpanda is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:26 AM
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I received a notice with my September statement from HSBC, starting November they will increase their exchange fees from 1% to 3%. Citibank charges 3% also when you withdraw from an ATM. If you bring cash, use 50's and 100's since you get a better exchange rate on large bills. Some establishments charge you an additional 3% if you use charge cards, but they tell you in advance. The credit card company may charge you also.
Also tell your credit card company that you are going to Thailand before you leave. I had a very embarrassing experience when I tried to charge a large purchase and my credit card did not get approved. I spent almost two hours on the phone at The Emporium trying to reach a live person. I was unsuccessful and finally used my Citibank card. I had visions of being carted off to jail in Bangkok, but fortunately I had more than one card with me.
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Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #10  
TC
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Thanks to all. This is really helpful information as I plan. I am mostly worried about the sailing portion of the trip. Don't want to have hordes of cash on a boat as it is left locked but unattended (with no safe box) any time we are ashore. However, ATMs may not be readily available in island locations and any restaurant dining will be paid in cash. Not even sure if we would be able to cash traveler's checks in the islands. May have to take cash and carry it "on person" whenever we go ashore. Thanks again for your help. I love this board!
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Oct 3rd, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Do note that it isn't that each bank has a consistent charge for foreign exchange, but they have different charges depending on the type of account you have. I have an HSBC account that formerly had no charge and now charges 1%.
Kathie is online now  
Oct 4th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Not all banks charge for ATM use! Many credit unions pay the ATM fees when you are overseas. Open up a debit card account in a bank or C.U. that does not charge or pays the ATM fees for you. Before you leave for overseas move money out of your bank (you can also arrange to do this via the internet too!) Use the ATM and take out the maximum you can when you need it!

Good luck
SirHalberd is online now  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Sir, there are three types of fees one must be aware of. One is a fee the person's own bank charges to use a foreign ATM. There are plenty of credit untions small banks and internet accounts that do not charge a fee.

The second type of fee is the fee charged by the foreign ATM for people who do not have an account at that bank to use the ATM. I've never been charged this type of fee in Thailand (or Mayalasia or Singapore, or Indonesia for instance) but a fee is charged in VN, (about US$1 when I was last there) and much of the rest of the world.

The third type of charge is the one that can really add up - a charge on foreign exchange. Most US banks charge a total of three percent on foreign exchange (that would add up to $15 on a $500 withdrawal), a bigger bite than any ATM fee is likely to extract (as long as you take out large chunks of money each withdrawal). Look for a card that doesn't charge (very hard to find now) or one that charges only 1% on foreign exchange. Because you get the bank rate on ATM withdrawals, even with a 1% foreign exchange fee, you often come out better than exchanging cash into the local currency.
Kathie is online now  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Reply to Author: Kathie.
I agree with many points of your post.

I am very happy using a debit card from my credit union in ATM machines in Thailand (Philippines too!) I do keep check on how much I withdraw (usually 10,000 baht at a whack) and I do compute how much the exchange rate was. We do get a pretty good rate using ATM's! My credit union pays for 5 ATM fees for non-C.U. ATMs - even overseas! If I exceed the 5 withdrawals (50,000 baht) the fee is around a dollar plus change per ATM! I love debit cards! I have been doing this for years and I rely on what I see withdrawn from my account - I don't see any hidden fees only a good exchange rate!

I don't have a problem with changing cash or travelers checks in local banks in Thailand. You can get travelers checks without commission from credit unions too! The fee for a TC is only 33 baht - real cheap!

When tourists use credit cards just the same way they do at home that is where they will get screwed! Whipping out a CC to pay for a cheap meal in a restaurant is pretty stupid because you also open up yourself to credit card fraud - use cash for cheap things!

Besides the huge fees that some credit cards have for ATM use overseas the cardholders also get hit with interest! No interest with debit cards!

You should safeguard your cash and CC cards by using the security box and knowing how to contact the company if you need to report a lost or stolen card!

Hal







SirHalberd is online now  
Oct 4th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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One note about debit cards, Sir. Debit cards do not confer the same rights regarding fraudulent use as credit cards do. So while I would never use a credit card in an ATM (as your withdrawal starts acruing interest immediately), I also never use a debit card. I use an ATM-only card, that only works in ATMs. Using a debit card for purchases is not wise, as fraudulent use can wipe out your bank account. Even if your bank eventually refunds your money, it cuts off the availabality of cash from ATMs. Most debit cards also charge 3% foreign exchange fees.

I do use credit cards for large purchases, but I never pay credit card interest because I pay my bill in full every month.
Kathie is online now  
Oct 4th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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agree with Kathie 100%

- credit cards offer you protection. if it's stolen, misused, or if you have a problem witha merchant, they will refund your money and dispute on your behalf. debit cards do not have that advantage. and if it's misused, your bank account will be wiped out in no time, and even if there is some kind of protection, it will take weeks for them to research it and reinstate your money.

- you don't have to carry a balance on a credit card. many people just pay the bill each month in full. this way, you even get 20-30 days of free credit pretty much until your due date. you can even set it up to be paid in full automatically. i don't have to think about it. it's automatically paid in full using my bank account each month.

- using credit cards builds your credit history, which matters in getting good loan rates on large purchases later

- many credit cards offer very good incentive programs such as cashback, travel, etc. my credit card sends me checks for 1% or more of all my purchases. you'd be hard-pressed to find similar incentives for using debit cards, though some do exist now

All that being said, you should only consider using a credit card if you're good with your finances. It won't make sense to get these benefits if you're carrying a balance and paying interest every month.
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Oct 4th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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p.s. there is a currency conversion fee on foreign withdrawals by Visa, Mastercard etc whether you're using an ATM card to withdraw cash, a debit card to make a purchase, or a credit card to make a purchase. If there is a Visa or a Mastercard logo, you're getting charged at least 1% in conversion already. Most banks add another 2% on top of that, plus a withdrawal fee. So your credit union might not have the withdrawal fee, but you're still paying at least 1% on conversion.
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Oct 5th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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There have been accounts that do not charge the 1% mastercard/visa fee. They are increasingly difficult to find.
Kathie is online now  
Oct 5th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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i often touted the brooks brothers master card as no fee but they have just instituted a 3% fee...

i think capital one still has a zero fee card
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Oct 5th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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And I suppose, for completeness, I should add that American Express charges a 2% foreign exchange fee. I have a card that returns 1% on purchases, 2% on travel expenses (hotels, air tickets) and 3% on restaurants. So I typically use my AmEx to charge hotels and restaurants, which yields either a 0% exchange fee on hotel charges or a 1% refund to me on restaurants.
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