How to get THB in Chiang Mai

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How to get THB in Chiang Mai

Category : LiveInCM Tips/Tricks


*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
Krungsri Bank Yelllow 30,000B 220B
Bangkok Bank Blue 25,000B 220B
Kasikorn Green 20,000B 220B
SCB Purple 20,000B 220B
Aomsin Pink 20,000B 220B
Krungthai Light Blue 20,000B 220B
Aeon Purple 20,000B 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.***

Counter Withdrawals

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!).


Cash Exchanges 

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!


Jason Nesbitt

March 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

Nice post! I did some research before coming out to SE Asia and have a couple of tips that I think could be useful:

1. Use Citibank to draw out money from the ATM machine whenever possible! They appear to be the only bank in Thailand that don’t have the 200B charge. We found a couple in Bangkok. I’m not aware of there being any in Chiang Mai though.

2. Get a Revolut card. They are a relatively new company and have worked PERFECTLY for me so far. I am so happy I signed up and got the card. Below is how it works:

– Download the mobile app and sign up:

– Upload a bank card so you can make payments straight into your Revolut account

– Top up your Revolut account using the card mentioned above. I just did £10 at first to try it out

– Order a debit card (Mastercard) from the app

– Use the card to take money out at ATM machines or pay for items/meals using your card

– You won’t get any of the usual bank charges and the money will be converted straight into the local currency for free, at a very good exchange rate. It seriously works and has saved us a lot of money already




    March 3, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Thanks for the tips Jason. I’m sure this will be very helpful.


October 20, 2016 at 5:24 am

Thank you for this information! This was the clearest answer I’ve found! Do you know if Charles Schwab charges for the Counter withdrawals and what their maximum withdrawal is?
Thank you!


    October 20, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I’ve never tried a counter withdrawal with my Schwab account, but would assume they do not charge (best to call and check first). The maximum withdrawal through ATM for Schwab is set by simply calling their call center. I would assume the same for counter withdraw. It you find out, can you give us an update? Thanks!

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