How to get THB in Chiang Mai
*Updated April 29, 2017
One of the main fears that people have when in an unknown country is how are they going to get money out safely. Fortunately Thailand’s banks are relatively safe (as long as you don’t leave your common sense at home, you won’t run into any problems). The next issue is finding out where you can get money. Thailand decided to go into overload when it came to populating their cities with banks, and because of this you will have minimal to no trouble finding a bank or an ATM no matter where you are.
Of course, whenever you take money from a bank account it’s going to cost you, there’s no avoiding that. Below is a table explaining which bank charges what. And because a lot of the names are random, instantly forgettable Thai names, they are separated by color, which is a handy way of figuring out which bank you need. Even ex-pats may refer to their bank as ‘The yellow bank’ or ‘The green bank’!
|TMB Bank||Red, white and blue||30,000B||220B|
*** Note the fees listed above are in reference to the Thai bank charges. Your home bank will likely charge an additional fee of around 150B. The MAX withdrawal assumes that your bank limits at home are set high enough to allow this amount. Please contact them for more info.***
Most banks also offer a service called a counter withdrawal. You can go inside the bank with your credit/debit card and passport and withdraw up to the limit your bank will allow. Generally, there are no fees for this service at the Thai bank, but you should double check with your home bank if they charge for this service. I personally have accounts that charge for this service (a lot!) and an account that does not (FREE!).
You can sell your currency for THB and even buy other currencies if you are heading to another country. There are Foreign Currency Exchange services in just about every bank in Thailand, but the best rates are given by the currency exchange businesses scattered throughout the city. There are no commissions or fees, just the exchange rate listed. Most offer about the same rates, but if you are exchanging a large amount or super rate conscious, the best place is Sakol Currency Exchange (SK Currency Exchange).
A Few Recommendations:
– Bring two different cards and a small amount of cash. If you’re prone to losing things, it may be worth looking into a prepaid card, otherwise your regular cards should be fine.
– Notify your bank/credit card company that you will be travelling and where you will be travelling.
– Keep the cards in two different locations/bags/wallets/etc. If you lose one, you’ll still have the other.
– Have the contact numbers for each card issuer in case you need to call in that is has been lost. *See our Calling Home post for help on making calls.
– Any cash you bring should be a major currency (think USD, EUR, GBP and the likes) and in good shape. No tears, writing etc.
***MAR 2016 Edit:***
For those of you Americans out there, I have been using a Charles Schwab account for the past six months. No fees, PERIOD! No minimum deposit, no monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, no ATM fees, …AND… ATM fee reimbursement!!!! Yes, at the end of every month, they credit your account for any fees charged by other ATM’s throughout the month. (You still get charged at the ATM in Thailand, but get it back as a credit at the end of the month)
If you have any questions, suggestions or other tips to add, please let us know in the comments below!