Bangkok cityscape and palace at night
plan your trip

Money in Thailand: a traveller's guide

Airra Beatrice

Contributing writer

Currency: Thai Baht

Symbol: ฿

Currency code: THB

When visiting Thailand, it is important to understand the local currency and handle your funds wisely. This includes understanding how to convert currencies, getting familiar with different payment methods, and navigating through the confusion of tipping and bargaining.

Here's what you need to know about money in Thailand, including all things tipping, cash vs card, and some bargaining guidelines.

ATMs in Thailand

ATMs in Thailand are widely available, making it convenient for travelers to withdraw cash. They can be found in various locations, including shopping malls, minimarts, entertainment venues, gas stations, and bank branches. However, it's important to be aware of certain considerations when using ATMs in Thailand.

Thai banks typically charge a fee for international card withdrawals, in addition to any fees imposed by your home bank. The fee per transaction can range between 150 and 220 Thai Baht. Additionally, ATMs can occasionally run out of cash, so it's a good idea to have alternative options, such as withdrawing from convenience stores or visiting a bank for larger sums.

To be prepared for emergencies, it is advisable to carry backup cash or have an additional card. Using a no-fee card like Wise can help you avoid international transaction fees and save money during your travels. Having multiple payment options and utilizing a no-fee card can provide financial flexibility and peace of mind during your time in Thailand.

How to pay in Thailand

When in Thailand, it's best to have some cash on hand as certain small restaurants, marketplaces, street vendors, and transportation fares do not accept credit cards. In general, however, credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Thailand, especially in hotels, fine dining restaurants, shopping malls, and larger establishments.

In addition to traditional payment methods, Thailand has embraced contactless payment options such as mobile wallets and contactless credit/debit cards. Popular mobile payment apps like GrabPay, TrueMoney, and PromptPay allow you to make payments by simply scanning QR codes.

To ensure flexibility during your vacation, it's recommended to have different types of payment methods available to you. This way, you can easily adapt to various payment preferences and situations while enjoying your time in Thailand.

Tipping in Thailand

While Thailand does not have a strong tipping culture, you have the option to round up the bill or leave a tip if you want. In some restaurants, especially those in tourist areas, a 10% service fee may already be included in the bill.

Tipping is not obligatory for tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff such as bellboys, doormen, and housekeepers, but it is a common practice in Thailand to show appreciation for good service.

In spas and massage parlors, a 10% service charge may be automatically added to the bill. If it is not included, you can leave a small tip for the therapist, typically ranging from 10% to 20% of the service cost, as a gesture of gratitude.

It's important to note that tipping is optional in Thailand, but it is appreciated when given for exceptional service.

Common scams in Thailand

Thailand is generally a safe country to visit, but it's important to be aware of common scams that target tourists. Here are a few scams to watch out for:

  • Tuk-tuk and taxi scams: Be cautious of overpriced tuk-tuks and taxis. Before getting in, negotiate and agree on a fare. Opt for taxis that use meters for a fair price, or consider using a reliable ride app like Grab.

  • ATM card skimming: ATM card skimming is common in tourist areas. Manipulated ATMs may appear similar to regular ones, making them difficult to identify. Whenever possible, use ATMs located inside banks, hotels, or reputable establishments to reduce the risk of card skimming.

  • Gem scams: Be cautious of individuals offering incredible deals on gemstones, jewelry, or other valuable items. Some scammers may sell low-quality or fake gemstones at high prices. Be cautious and purchase from reputable and trusted sources.

To avoid becoming a victim of a scam, it's advisable to exercise caution, plan your activities in advance, use reputable service providers, and stay vigilant of your surroundings.

Tips for saving money in Thailand

Traveling during the off-peak season, when prices for accommodations are typically lower, is one of the best ways to save money in Thailand. Look for affordable options such as guesthouses, hostels, or budget hotels to stretch your budget further.

When it comes to dining, opt for street food and local eateries instead of expensive restaurants. Thai street food is not only delicious but also budget-friendly, allowing you to experience authentic flavours while saving money. Following the locals' lead and eating where they eat can provide a genuine cultural experience.

For getting around, public transportation like buses, trains, BTS (Skytrain), and MRT (subway) offer cheaper alternatives to taxis or private vehicles. While taxis can still be reasonably priced, ensure the use of the meter or agree on a price before starting the ride to avoid any scams.

Bargaining in Thailand

Lastly, keep in mind that bargaining is common practice in Thailand's local markets and with street sellers. It is an opportunity to negotiate prices and potentially secure better deals on items such as souvenirs, clothing, or other goods. However, it's important to note that bargaining is generally not accepted in name-brand stores, shopping malls, or convenience stores.

To engage in successful bargaining, it's helpful to use your negotiation skills. Start by offering a price that is around 30% to 40% lower than the initial ticketed price.

From there, you can engage in a back-and-forth negotiation with the seller until a mutually agreed-upon price is reached. Politeness, friendliness, and a sense of humor can go a long way in these interactions.

Typical prices in Thailand

Prices in Thailand can vary depending on the location, season, and your negotiation skills. It's important to note that rates in tourist districts and popular areas may be slightly higher compared to more local or off-the-beaten-path spots.

Here is a rough estimation of prices for common items and activities:

  • Budget Guesthouses and Hostels: 200-600 THB per night.

  • Street Food: 30-100 THB per dish.

  • Local Restaurants: 80-200 THB for a meal.

  • Local Beer (Bottle): 50-100 THB.

  • Temples: Some are free to enter, while others charge a small entrance fee of 20-100 THB.

  • National Parks: Entrance fees vary but are typically around 200-400 THB per person for foreigners.

  • Traditional Thai Massage (1 hour): 200-500 THB.

Remember that these prices are estimates and can vary depending on factors such as location and quality of service. It's always a good idea to compare options, ask for recommendations, and be prepared to negotiate when necessary.

Share this article

Airra Beatrice

Author - Airra Beatrice

Airra is a Filipino Gen Z, travel content writer driven by wanderlust. She started writing about her journeys for extra income, but stumbled upon an undiscovered passion for writing along the way.

She has travelled all over her cherished homeland, the Philippines, and was intrigued by Thailand, where she totally fell head over heels for mango sticky rice! She inspires others to explore the world's wonders and embrace the beauty of life's journey.

Last Updated 24 September 2023

Long boats on the beach at Maya Bay in Thailand


Thailand is a land of flavours, cultures, and landscapes. However, there's more to Thailand than just postcard-perfect sights