I am in the U.S. and leave soon so can't have my bank order the currency. I'm looking to exchange about $500-$1000 USD so I will be able to pay cash for everything i need for a little while and not have to worry about exchanging. Should I do it in the US airport, at BKK, or at a bank or other currency exchange? Just wondering what you guys think will give me the best rate.
Also, what do I need to set up a Thai Bank account? Do I need to have a work permit & job? What banks are best for doing so if I'm going to travel internationally?
Thanks for your help!
The best place for currency exchange would be a bank but for the 0.5% difference in exchange rates between the bank and the airport, for convenience you should chance 1/2 at the airport ($250-500). Keep the rest in crisp $100 notes (take less space in your pockets).
Do NOT buy baht in the US. You will get killed on the exchange.
Yes, you need a job and work permit to open a bank account.
All of the (big) banks in Thailand can offer a visa debit/ATM card that can be used internationally.
There are maybe two, one for sure, that are connected to BoA. I can't remember the name of it. Google BoA.overseas (offshore maybe) affiliates.
...except (new) $100 bills get the best rate. High denomination American Express traveller's cheques are an option & give about the same rate as cash (minus commission).
I always used those guys around the corner from the Siam Square Multi-Theater on the way towards Panthip. Big wide street, can't recall its name. Best rates ever.
Super Rich opposite World Trade used to be the best, don't know if that is still the case, not been there for years.
I'm so ugly, that's okay 'cos so are you.
I've always found the airport had the worst rates. But you'll need enough the pay the taxi driver for your trip from the airport to wherever you're staying. They usually like to take the freeway, so there's an extra charge for that. I found that those little joints that just do exchanges usually have the best rates -- there's one on Pradipat Road I always used, but can't remember name. But rather than exchanging money, just use the ATM - you can find them everywhere. Just remember to take out as much as you think you'll need for say, the whole week, though, cause your bank will probably charge a fee of $4 or so for each withdrawal.
Moved to practicalities of living in Thailand.
Almost certainly Superrich Thailand has the best rates. You aren't talking about a great deal of money, but if it is close, go there. If not, don't go to a lot of trouble and expense to get there for the difference (though you will get more). Their web page is, with their exchange rates, can be found here: Exchange Rate
30k Baht is nothing... you can get that pretty much anywhere.
Welcome to the inner workings of my mind...
Super rich head office opposite the old world trade centre is indeed then best place, but as we are only talking about $1,000 then i wouldn't even bother trying to track it down as you will only save 500 baht as opposed to doing it at any of the major banks in the city.
ttompatz said that you need a work permit to open an account. This perhaps might be technically correct but it rarely happens. I have opened accounts with both the Bangkok bank and Kasikorn Bank on nothing but a 30 day on arrival stamp.
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I exchanged my money in thailand at a bank and was pretty happy with the exchange rate. It was 1 or 2 baht per dollar.
1 or 2 baht? You got ripped off! Just last week I got 2 baht and 25 satang for my dollar.