Thailand currency

My exchange problem in Bangkok


Not surprisingly, the demand for currency exchange is not huge when foreigners are not allowed to enter a country. While Thailand is gradually reopening, most foreign exchange bureaus have not. Beware of this if you need to exchange money in Bangkok.

Foreign exchange office in Bangkok

I made the mistake of leaving my ATM card at home on my trip to Bangkok last month. While I could usually get by with my only credit card, several of the cafes I visited required cash or a debit card for payment and would not accept credit cards.

Faced with the prospect of drinking bad coffee, I quickly chose to trade USD for THB.

Small problem though: As I walked around town, every bureau de change I came across was either bankrupt or closed.

I spent over an hour wandering around before finding one in a tailor shop. After exchanging my money i let the guy know he could probably charge a bit more as he was the only money changer open…

Granted, it was a Saturday, but it was in the middle of the day.

Later I found another place near the Grand Hyatt Erawan which was open … but most places were closed.

In general, I avoid exchanging money altogether, but when I do, I certainly avoid exchanging it at the airport, where the rate is rarely that good. Here it would have been easier to exchange money at the airport and you should consider doing so.

Bangkok lags a bit behind other East Asian cities when it comes to paying by credit card everywhere. Expect to pay cash in many places, especially if it’s not a chain.

CONCLUSION

I was surprised at how few exchange offices were open in Bangkok. Most have been closed, many permanently. While they will likely come back when tourists return, be sure to bring your ATM card or redeem in advance before heading to Thailand.