Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to offer travelers. From stunning beaches and Buddhist temples, to vibrant night markets and flavorful cuisine, it’s no wonder Thailand remains such a popular destination.
One question that often comes up when planning a trip there is how much cash to bring.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Bring at least $500 to $1000 USD in cash, mainly for arrival expenses and any activities that require cash. But it’s wise to also bring a credit/debit card for withdrawals at ATMs around Thailand when needed.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how much cash to bring to Thailand for a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Cash for Arrival Expenses
When traveling to Thailand, it’s important to plan ahead and bring enough cash to cover your arrival expenses. This will ensure a smooth and hassle-free start to your trip. Here are the main expenses you should consider:
Upon arrival at the airport, you will need to arrange transportation to your hotel or accommodation. While there are various options available such as taxis, private transfers, or public transportation, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand to pay for your chosen mode of transportation.
Taxis in Thailand usually accept cash only, so be prepared with the local currency, Thai Baht, to avoid any inconvenience.
Most hotels in Thailand require a deposit upon check-in, which is usually refunded when you check out. The amount of the deposit can vary depending on the hotel’s policy and the length of your stay. It’s advisable to have some cash available to cover this deposit, as some hotels may not accept credit cards for this purpose.
Food and essentials
While credit cards are widely accepted in many establishments in Thailand, it’s always a good idea to have some cash for smaller purchases, street food, or in case you come across a place that doesn’t accept cards.
Thailand is known for its vibrant street food scene, so having cash on hand will allow you to indulge in the delicious local cuisine without any worries.
Additionally, having cash available for essential items such as bottled water, snacks, or toiletries can come in handy, especially if you’re in a remote area where card payment options may be limited.
It’s important to note that the amount of cash you should bring for arrival expenses will depend on your personal preferences and travel plans. However, having a reasonable amount of Thai Baht in cash, equivalent to around $100-200, should be sufficient to cover your initial expenses.
Cash for Daily Spending
When traveling to Thailand, it is important to have enough cash for your daily spending. While credit cards are widely accepted in big cities and tourist areas, having cash on hand can be more convenient, especially in rural areas or when dealing with small vendors.
Here’s a breakdown of how much cash you should bring for different aspects of your daily expenses:
Meals and drinks
Thailand is famous for its delicious and affordable street food. You can find a variety of local dishes from as low as ฿40 ($1.20). If you’re planning to eat at local eateries or street stalls, it is recommended to set aside around ฿200-฿300 ($6-$9) per day for food.
Of course, if you prefer dining at upscale restaurants, the cost will be higher. Don’t forget to budget for drinks as well, whether it’s a refreshing coconut water or a night out at a rooftop bar.
Thailand is a shopper’s paradise, with bustling markets and modern shopping malls offering a wide range of products. If you plan on indulging in some retail therapy, it’s a good idea to allocate a budget for shopping.
The amount you should set aside depends on your shopping preferences and the items you’re interested in. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, clothing, or electronics, having around ฿500-฿1000 ($15-$30) per day for shopping should be sufficient for most travelers.
Activities and entertainment
Thailand offers a plethora of activities and entertainment options for travelers. From exploring ancient temples to enjoying water sports and experiencing the vibrant nightlife, there’s something for everyone. The cost of activities and entertainment can vary greatly depending on your preferences.
Entry fees for popular attractions can range from ฿100-฿500 ($3-$15) per person, while organized tours or special experiences may cost more. It’s wise to research and plan ahead for the activities you’re interested in and set aside an appropriate budget.
Cash for Emergencies
While traveling to Thailand, it’s always important to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. This includes having enough cash on hand to deal with emergencies that may arise during your trip. Here are some situations where having cash can be essential:
Lost credit/debit card
Imagine you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Bangkok and suddenly realize that your credit or debit card is missing. Panic sets in as you think about how you will pay for your accommodation, meals, and transportation. In situations like these, having a backup stash of cash can save the day.
It is recommended to keep a separate emergency fund of at least $200 to $300 in cash. This will ensure that you have enough money to cover your immediate needs until you can resolve the issue with your bank or get a replacement card.
If you are traveling with a partner or in a group, consider splitting the emergency fund between yourselves to mitigate the risk.
Theft or other unforeseen costs
While Thailand is generally safe for travelers, unfortunate incidents like theft can occur anywhere in the world. If you find yourself in a situation where your belongings have been stolen, having cash readily available can help you deal with immediate expenses such as reporting the incident to the police or arranging temporary accommodation.
Aside from theft, there may be other unforeseen costs that you need to address during your trip. It could be a medical emergency, unexpected transportation expenses, or even a last-minute change in plans.
Having a sufficient amount of cash ensures that you have the flexibility to handle these situations without unnecessary stress.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Carrying some extra cash for emergencies can provide peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your trip to Thailand without worrying about unexpected financial hurdles.
Getting Cash in Thailand
When traveling to Thailand, it’s important to have enough cash on hand to cover your expenses. While credit cards are widely accepted in many establishments, having some cash is always a good idea, especially when visiting smaller towns or local markets.
Here are three popular ways to get cash in Thailand: ATMs, banks, and money changers.
ATMs are widely available in Thailand, even in remote areas. They offer convenience and accessibility, allowing you to withdraw cash using your international debit or credit card. Most ATMs in Thailand accept major card networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
However, it’s important to check with your bank before your trip to ensure that your card will work abroad and inquire about any associated fees.
Using ATMs in Thailand is generally safe, but it’s always a good idea to use machines that are located in well-lit and secure areas. Additionally, make sure to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any issues with your card being blocked for suspicious activity.
Banks in Thailand also offer currency exchange services and can be a reliable option for getting cash. Most major banks have branches in popular tourist areas, and they usually offer competitive exchange rates.
It’s important to note that banks may have limited operating hours, so it’s advisable to plan your visit accordingly.
When exchanging money at a bank, you will need to present your passport for identification. Some banks may charge a small fee for currency exchange, so it’s worth comparing rates and fees before making a transaction.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to notify your bank about your travel plans to avoid any complications with your accounts.
Money changers, also known as currency exchange booths or kiosks, are another option for getting cash in Thailand. They are often found in busy tourist areas, airports, and shopping malls. Money changers offer the convenience of quick transactions without the need for a bank account.
When using a money changer, it’s important to be cautious and choose reputable establishments. Look for licensed money changers who display their rates openly. It’s advisable to compare rates between different money changers to ensure you’re getting a fair exchange rate.
Additionally, always count your money before leaving the counter to avoid any discrepancies.
Tips for Handling Cash Safely
When traveling to Thailand, it is important to handle your cash safely to avoid any potential risks or loss. Here are some tips to keep your money secure during your trip:
Use a money belt
A money belt is a small pouch that you wear around your waist, hidden under your clothes. This is a great way to keep your cash and important documents safe from pickpockets. By keeping your money close to your body, you can minimize the chances of theft.
Remember to only take out small amounts of cash from your money belt when needed, and always keep an eye on it.
Spread out cash
Instead of carrying all your cash in one place, it is advisable to spread it out in different pockets or compartments. This way, if you happen to lose one portion of your cash, you will still have some left.
Additionally, consider keeping some cash in your hotel safe or in a secure location as a backup.
Notify bank/credit card company
Before traveling to Thailand, it is crucial to inform your bank and credit card company about your travel plans. This will prevent them from flagging your transactions as suspicious and potentially blocking your cards.
You can usually do this easily through your bank’s online banking portal or by calling their customer service. It’s also a good idea to make note of their contact information in case of any issues.
Have emergency contacts
It’s always a good idea to have emergency contacts saved in your phone or written down on a piece of paper. This includes the contact information for your bank, credit card company, and any other important numbers you may need in case of lost or stolen cards.
Having these contacts readily available will make it easier for you to take immediate action and minimize any potential financial loss.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your cash is handled safely during your trip to Thailand. Remember, it’s always better to be cautious and prepared when it comes to handling your money while traveling.
Deciding how much cash to bring to Thailand requires careful planning and consideration of your trip details. While every traveler’s needs differ, following the tips in this guide will help ensure you have the necessary cash on hand for any situation, while avoiding carrying excess cash that could be lost or stolen.
With the right amount of cash, paired with credit/debit cards and travel insurance, you can look forward to an amazing trip to Thailand!