Should you change currency in the UK or get Thai baht in Thailand?
A reader e-mailed us to ask, if they’re planning a trip to Thailand, should they change UK pounds into baht while still in the UK or should they wait to change pounds for baht in Thailand? Which option would get them the best exchange rate?
Without a doubt, do not change pounds into baht in the UK as you’ll get a much lower baht to the pound exchange rate there. Instead, wait until you get to Thailand and then change your pounds into Thai baht here.
Currency exchange booths and banks in Bangkok
The most preferable way is to bring pounds and change them into baht at a currency exchange booth or bank in Bangkok, as you’ll get a lower rate if you exchange your currency at Bangkok airport.
However, if you need money for a taxi to get you into Bangkok, then change £20 at the airport. That will get you around 1,000 baht, which is not only plenty for a taxi into Bangkok (should never be more than 250-300 baht from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city center, even in rush hour), as well as enough money for breakfast, lunch and dinner on your first day here.
Once in Bangkok, you can then exchange your UK pounds for Thai baht at a bank or a currency exchange booth. They are just about on every street corner, they are open seven days a week and, often, up until 10pm at night — even banks.
Larger denominations of British pounds will get you more Thai baht
You will get the best rate for your currency exchange of UK pounds into Thai baht if you a) bring larger denominations (you get a higher exchange rate for a £20 note than you do for lots of £1 notes) and b) if you ask at your hotel for their recommendations about the best places to exchange money. The hotel reception will often know about the best currency exchange booths in Bangkok, that will often give you a slightly higher rate than the closest Thai bank.
Remember too, many Thai banks and currency exchange places will not change old notes, so bring new or new-ish British pounds with you so you have no problem exchanging them.
Finally, read this if you’re wondering which bank offers the best currency exchange rates in Bangkok.