Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Where should I get currency for Thailand
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Friday 02 November 2012
Q I am going to Thailand in a couple of weeks. Is it best to change currency here or take sterling there to change?
A Take sterling. As a rule of thumb, there are currently 50 Thai baht to £1 - but that is the rate that applies to very large transactions. For holidaymakers exchanging a few hundred pounds, the rate is less favourable. For example, order online from the Post Office today and you will get a rate of around 46.5 baht to the pound.
You may wish to obtain a few thousand baht in advance to cover initial expenses, but personally I would always wait until I arrived in Thailand. Airport bureaux de change in Thailand generally offer better rates than any UK provider; I would take sterling notes, change perhaps £50 at the airport, and wait until I was in central Bangkok, Chiang Mai or at a resort before exchanging more.
If you happen to have some US dollars left over, it is worth taking them in case of emergency in the back end of beyond. Although the Thai baht is no longer tied to the $, American money is still the most recognised foreign currency - so you should always find someone willing to change $10 or $20. The same cannot be said for sterling.
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