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Currency of Thailand: A Guide to the Baht

From having beaches to thick forests to a modern city structure, Thailand is undoubtedly the perfect holiday destination. The golden sands of the beach against our skins gives an ecstatic feeling. Above all, the hospitality of people is so inviting that one may never want to leave the country, once in it. But, all this enjoyment and experience surely does not come for free. From booking your flight tickets to Thailand to have a hearty meal in a nice restaurant, there is a price which needs to be paid for everything (literally). Yes, we are talking about money and therefore the currency of Thailand. So, this blog takes you through all the important information which you need to know about it, so that you can have a hassle-free trip.

The Official Currency of Thailand

Currency in Thailand, Thai Baht
A 50 Thai Baht Note, the official currency of Thailand (Source)

The official currency of Thailand is Thai Baht or Baht. Baht, according to a SWIFT survey done in 2017, was the tenth most frequently used currency for making payments. 1 Baht is divided into 100 Satangs, i.e 1 Baht = 100 Satangs. The Bank of Thailand is responsible for issuing the currency notes in the country. Banknotes of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 Bahts are used. Coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 Bahts are used. Coins of 50 and 25 Satangs are also in existence. The Baht has been used as currency in Thailand since 1902.

The currency notes have an image of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in the uniform of the commander of the Royal Thai Air Force on the front side. The reverse side has images of former kings of the country. Coins also have an image of King Maha Vajiralongkorn on the main side and a monogram of the king on the reverse side.

Origin of the Thai Baht

Currency of Thailand, Thai Baht
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Before the introduction of the official currency, shells, baked clay coins and pot duang were used to exchange goods in Thailand. But in 1853, under the reign of King Mongkut, foreign trade increased significantly and hence to accommodate the need for money, the first paper money, called Mai, was introduced. However, its usage never really became predominant, since people preferred to use pot duang only. Later in the early 1870s, under the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Att Kadrat, another currency, was introduced. In 1890, Ngoen Kradat Luang, a kind of paper money, was thought to be introduced by the government, but it never really came into existence. Finally, in 1902, with the introduction of the Thai Department of Technology under the Ministry of Finance, Baht came into existence. Since then, it has been the official currency of Thailand.

Currency Exchange Rate in Thailand

Currency in Thailand, Thai Baht
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Best option to obtain Thai Baht is exchanging your currency after reaching Thailand. In your country, it might be possible to get your currency exchanged for Baht, but conversion charges might be really high. Once in Thailand, there are multiple places where you can get your currency exchanged. It is advisable not to exchange your money at the airport since the conversion charges are quite high and better deals can be found in many other parts of the country. Double exchange is not a viable option either since it is more expensive than a single exchange. In popular tourist areas, exchange offices are located every few meters away. Most exchange offices are operated by the country's major banks.

The exchange rates, as of 20th May 2019 are:
Thailand currency to:
1 INR = 0.46 THB
1 USD = 31.85 THB
1 Euro = 35.54 THB
Also, it is advisable to exchange large value notes instead of small ones. For example, exchanging 100 USD notes would give you a much better deal than exchanging 2 USD notes. 

Using Credit Cards and Cheques in Thailand

Currency in Thailand, Thai ATM
Thai ATMs at the Phuket International Airport (Source)
It is really impressive to know that almost every shop in Thailand, regardless of how small it is, accepts credit cards for transactions. Paying via card is a relatively safer option, since that way you have to carry less amount of cash with you. Withdrawing money from ATMs, however, may be a bit expensive as 150 THB fee is imposed by Thai banks for every withdrawal by a foreign ATM card. One can also use traveller's cheques, which offer a much better deal than cash exchange. Exchange offices use traveller's cheques rates to attract tourists. However, a fee of 30 THB is charged for each transaction with a traveller's cheque. So it is advisable to use traveller's cheques for large values of transaction.

How Much Money Should You Carry in Thailand

Currency in Thailand
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In Thailand, the average daily cost of a vacation comes out to be between 250 THB to 300 THB. In this cost, you can get good meals and all the necessary facilities. Partying, adventure games, socializing and shopping might cost a few extra bucks. Here is the cost of some essentials shown in Thai Baht:
  • Bottle of Water: 12 THB
  • A Thai Meal: 40-70 THB
  • Guesthouse Room: 150 THB/ night
  • Movie Ticket: 80-120 THB
  • Newspaper: 20 THB
  • Loaf of White Bread: 40 THB
  • Beer in a Local Bar: 80-120 THB
  • 20 Thai Cigarettes: 20 THB

Tips and Additional Information on Currency of Thailand

Currency in Thailand
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  • Do not carry money in your back pockets. It is considered offensive to sit on the notes having the king's face on them.
  • Stepping on notes and coins deliberately is highly offensive.
  • Do not deface or throw away the currency notes in anger or so.
  • Tipping in Thailand is not compulsory. However, if you liked the service and want to tip the staff, then anything between 5-20 THB is appreciated.
  • It is advisable to change the currency in Thailand only. The exchange offers in any other country are not as good as in Thailand.
So, after learning all about the currency of Thailand, you can cut off one hassle off your mind. After all, the money shall not be a barrier when it comes to vacationing. With all these points in mind, an amazing trip to Thailand awaits you!

This post was published by Tina Garg