Foreign Exchange Guide to Thailand
In this guide we review :
- Thai baht info - general info about the Thai baht
- Thai baht in the markets - recent THB moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Thailand - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Thai baht cash online - travel money for Thailand
- Sending money to Thailand - save on Thai baht bank transfers to Thailand
- Thai baht exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Thai baht (THB) general currency information
The Thai baht is subdivided into 100 satang.
The baht is termed an ‘exotic’ currency, which means that there is far less participation in the market for baht than in the market for more established currencies, such as euros or U.S. dollars. For this reason, the price paid to change your money into or from baht (the price being equivalent to the market bid-ask spread) is far higher relative to the amount of money being changed than it would otherwise be.
Thailand’s central bank manage the baht’s value under a ‘managed float’ regime, which means that the bank will intervene at times in the foreign exchange market to reduce what it sees as excessive volatility in the currency and to maintain national competitiveness, i.e. the bank will at times weaken the currency to boost demand for Thailand’s exports.
As an exotic currency, the baht is considered riskier than currencies from major developed nations, which means that its value will fall against the FX majors (especially JPY, USD, CHF, GBP and EUR) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.
Historically, the baht’s lowest valuation against the US dollar came in January 1998 when USD/THB reached 55.50. Its all-time high occurred in July 1981 when USD/THB fell to just 20.36. Since 2005, USD/THB has traded between 28.56 and 42.19.
Thai baht (THB) in the markets
Concerns are mounting among Thai exporters and those in the tourism sector as the baht continues to trade near multi-year highs. In late November the baht strengthened to 32.495 against the dollar – the baht’s most expensive valuation since April 2015. The 33.0 level had previously been strong support in USD/THB and it should act as resistance in the near future should the baht weaken back to this level.
The baht has been supported in 2017 by Thailand’s large current account surplus and by strong economic growth.
The value of the baht in relation to its Asian peers is of paramount importance to Thailand given that exports account for 60% of the country’s economy. By December 8th, the baht’s year-to-date gain of 9.8% against the dollar matched that of the Malaysian ringgit, however it represented a significant outperformance against the currencies of other manufacturing hubs in the region, including the Chinese yuan, which had gained only 4.8%, and the Philippine peso, which had weakened by 1.8%. An outperforming baht dents Thailand’s export competitiveness.
Thailand currency and money saving tips
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai BAHT (pronounced - baaht). ATM's are everywhere and usually reliable, most Thai banks now charge a 200 baht fee per withdrawal when you use their ATMs with a foreign card. Thailand is a very popular and safe place to travel to, but still always use common sense. Depending on the type of hotel, try not to leave credit cards, passports, and other valuables lying around your room when you are not there. Instead use the room safe, or the hotel main safe. If you want to store your cards there while out shopping (shopping is considered a national pastime) you could get a Travel Card before flying in to ease your mind. Another good reason to get a Prepaid Travel Card is that credit card fraud exists in Thailand, as in any other country. If you must pay by credit card, don't let your card out of your sight. Watch as it's used, and double check the purchase amount and currency, before signing or entering your pin number.
Be prepared to pay more than locals for many tourist attractions have two rates, where there can often be a rate for locals and a larger rate for tourists. Many tourists head to Thailand for its lovely beaches, just know that Thai beaches do not have lifeguards so try to stay in sight on other people, check all the signs, and avoid swimming on deserted beaches. Drink bottled water, it's cold and cheap and since it can be hot all the time in Thailand have some on you at all times to avoid dehydration.
Taxi's are available everywhere, just when getting in make sure the meter is set to THB35 to avoid being made to pay extra.Getting around in Tuc-Tuc's is part of the experience but can get annoying as the driver may often try to take you to shops on the way. Just negotiate a fare before jumping in, don't pay until you arrive, and be prepared to jump out and take another one if they go to a shop and refuse to leave until you check it out or buy something.
Thailand Trip Checklist
Travel money for Thailand
Save money and time by Ordering your Thai baht online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the THB cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Thai baht otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Sending money to Thailand
When sending money to Thailand it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Thai baht amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted THB amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Thailand.
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Thai baht deposited into the recipient bank account in Thailand and less margins and fees kept by the banks!