When visiting Thailand, it helps to know a little about the local currency, the Thai baht, to understand the actual price of lodging, food, and any items you buy while you're there. The baht, which is often represented by the symbol ฿ on price tags at stores, has fluctuated over the years, so use a currency app or website to find the most up-to-date exchange rate with the money of your native country. Familiarize yourself with the current rates before arriving in Thailand, so you aren't caught off-guard by a triple-digit taxi ride from the airport.
While you can use U.S. dollars and some other major currencies in some countries, they're not widely accepted in Thailand. You will need to exchange any other currency you are carrying for baht.
Thailand's Coins and Notes
Thailand has 1, 2, 5, and 10 baht coins and 20, 50, 100, and 1,000 baht notes. The most common coin in Thailand is the 10 baht, and the most common note is the 100 baht.
Baht are broken down into satang, with each baht equal to 100 satang. Satang coins only exist in 25 and 50 denominations, and even these are rarely used anymore for most transactions because of their low value.
How to Get Baht
Travelers can withdraw Thai baht from ATMs, which are not hard to find in Thailand, and most accept most major debit and credit cards. However, you will likely have to pay a fee if you are using a foreign card and there may be additional fees from your bank at home.
Thai banks and currency exchange businesses typically also accept travelers' checks.
To be safe, some travelers exchange some money (a small emergency stash) before they leave home—although you will typically get a better exchange if you do it in Thailand—and keep both bahts and other currency on them during travel until they are situated. Exchange the rest of your cash upon arrival or withdraw what you want to use at an ATM. You can find currency exchange kiosks in most international airports in Thailand, or make exchanges at many Thai banks.
Credit Cards in Thailand
You don't need cash for every purchase in Thailand, however. Many hotels, restaurants, and businesses (including those at airports) accept major credit cards, especially in big cities like Bangkok. But if you plan on making purchases at markets, eating on the street, or traveling outside of Bangkok, you'll likely need to have baht on hand.
Before you use your credit card in any foreign country, make sure you let your bank and credit card company know that you will be there on vacation and how long you plan to stay. Otherwise, the activity may be seen as suspicious and your card may be temporarily locked, making your money inaccessible.