When people who plan on staying a while in Thailand first arrive, one of the things they usually want to know is can you open a bank account in Thailand with a tourist visa ie: without a work permit. Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is “No”.
Only a few years ago, when I first arrived in Thailand, it was easy to open a bank account with a tourist visa. In fact, most people did it, and I opened three. About three years ago, though, the Thai government changed the rules and now, in order to open a new bank account in Thailand, you must have a work permit or a long-term visa (a retirement visa, a marriage visa, an education visa etc).
Of course, you will hear some westerners who live in Thailand telling you that you can open a bank account with a tourist visa but….few of them have actually tried to, and most are basing their opinions on what was easily doable five or ten years ago.
In recent months, I’ve been with several friends new to Thailand who have asked at various branches of Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and other Thai banks and all have been told “No long-term visa, no bank account”.
This being Thailand there are still some branches of these banks who may let you open a bank account, with just a lowly tourist visa, but expect to have to spend a long time going from branch to branch to find one that will. And you still may be disappointed.
Or, you could do what most people I know do. Keep their money in their home countries and just pull it through via ATM when it’s needed. Your money is safer that way, and nobody is the loser…….. except Thailand, of course. But, certainly not you.
And, of course, if you are working in Thailand and don’t have a work permit, most likely the school or company will pay you in cash anyway, so you won’t have a problem there either.