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What currency is used in Thailand?

The Thai baht is the national currency for Thailand, and the key to unlock a wealth of unforgettable experiences, sights, and sounds.

There’s so much to see and do in Thailand, from exploring the vibrant capital of Bangkok to relaxing in its island resorts.

In this guide, we explain what currency you need in Thailand, how best to get your travel money, and whether it’s best to use cash or cards in Thailand.

The Thai baht (THB)

The official currency of Thailand is the Thai baht (THB). Known for its vibrant and distinctive design, the baht has a rich history, linked closely into the nation's heritage.

The history of the Thai baht

The baht traces its roots back to the 15th century when it was first introduced as a unit of currency.

Until then, shells, rice, and pieces of cut silver had been used as a form of money. It wasn’t until the reign of King Rama I in the late 18th century that the baht emerged as a standardised currency.

The first official baht coins were introduced in 1857 during the reign of King Rama IV. Made of silver, they featured intricate designs reflecting Thai art and culture. Over time, the baht underwent numerous changes in size, shape, and material.

In 1897, the baht was fixed to the British pound, reflecting Thailand's ties to British trade at the time. Since then, the currency exchange rate in Thailand has fluctuated in value with economic and political trends - but as of December 2023 it is a strong, stable currency.

Thai baht currency denominations

Thai baht comes in both notes and coins. Banknotes feature portraits of revered Thai monarchs, including the much-loved King Rama IX who reigned for over 70 years.

The main denominations of notes are:

  • 20 baht (green)
  • 50 baht (blue)
  • 100 baht (red)
  • 500 baht (purple)
  • 1,000 baht (brown)

You will also come across the following coins:

  • 1 satang
  • 5 satang
  • 10 satang
  • 25 satang
  • 50 satang
  • 1 baht
  • 2 baht
  • 5 baht
  • 10 baht

Exchanging Thai baht

Should I buy Thai baht in the UK?

Whether you should buy baht in the UK before travelling to Thailand is a personal preference. A lot of people feel better prepared having local currency in hand when they arrive in a new country.

It’s very simple to order currency online in the UK and have it delivered to your home or a local store. But it’s also a good idea to make sure you have a way of buying baht in Thailand if you need to top up your funds.

That could mean taking some UK currency to exchange, or a bank card to withdraw baht from an ATM or bureau de change.

What is the currency exchange rate for Thailand?

Currency rates are always changing, so check our latest rate for Thai baht.

Should I use cash or a card in Thailand?

Thailand is generally a cash-based society, but paying by bank card is becoming increasingly common, especially in tourist areas and larger hotels and stores.

Major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, but you will need to carry some cash for smaller shops, local markets and for tips, buses, and taxis.

When using a bank card, there will usually be transaction fees charged by your bank or the outlet you’re buying from. Check how much your bank fees will be before travelling, to avoid any shocks.

It's also a good idea to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any unexpected card blocking.

Travel safer with our Travelex Money Card

Experience added peace of mind with the Travelex Money Card - an optimal alternative to carrying your debit card. Unlike your debit card, our Travelex Money Card is not linked to your bank account, minimising your risk of losing all your funds in case of loss or theft. Load your card with Great British pounds (GBP), and withdraw Thai baht from ATMs or make secure, contactless payments directly at the point of sale.

Please note that a 2% fee applies to GBP loads, and a 5.75% fee is incurred when using the card in Thailand where the local currency isn't offered on our Travelex Money Card. This fee also extends to cash withdrawals for Thai baht and other currencies that are not offered on our Travelex Money Card. While Travelex does not impose charges to ATM withdrawals, it's important to note that fees from other ATM providers may apply. Find out more on our fees here.

Use the Travelex Money App to keep track of your spending and top up the balance as needed. It’s a secure way to travel, simply freeze or cancel the card if lost or stolen. T&Cs apply.

Are there ATMs in Thailand?

There are ATMs readily available throughout Thailand, especially in major cities, tourist areas, shopping centres, and airports.

You'll find ATMs belonging to Thai banks as well as international ones such as Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered. Most Thai ATMs have an English language option.

There are usually charges to use ATMs in Thailand. Your home bank may have fees for international withdrawals, and the local Thai bank may also charge you for using the ATM. Fees can vary.

Pros and cons of using ATMs in Thailand

Advantages of ATMs include:

  • Convenience: ATMs are widespread, making it easy to withdraw cash whenever you need it, day or night.
  • Currency exchange: Withdrawing cash in Thai baht saves you having to find currency exchange services.
  • Security: Using ATMs when you need cash means you don’t need to carry large sums of money while travelling.

Disadvantages to consider are:

  • Fees: ATMs may incur fees from your own bank and the local provider which could be more than you might expect.
  • Unexpected issues: In rare cases, international cards may face compatibility issues or blocks in Thai ATMs. Inform your bank about your travel plans to make sure you can withdraw money when needed.
  • Availability in remote areas: ATMs may be less readily available in remote or rural parts of Thailand. Make sure you have enough cash before travelling to these areas.

Buy your Thai baht online with Travelex today

So now you know what currency you need in Thailand. Ready to start planning your trip? Order your Thai baht today, with competitive exchange rates and no commission. Have your currency delivered at home, or collect it from your nearest store.

You might also like to choose a Travelex Money Card as a safe and secure back up option.

If you’d like to find out more about Thailand and what to see on your trip, see our full Thailand travel guide. We also have some good tips for travelling on a budget.