So your next trip is to Thailand? Awesome! I will share some of the best places to exchange Indian Rupees (INR) to Thai Baht (THB).
I am writing this from my personal experience in my recent (and first) trip to Bangkok. So this should be useful information for all those who are planning a trip to Thailand.
Can you Make Purchases with INR in Thailand?
Short answer no. As with any other country, Thailand has its own currency. Thai Baht (THB) is the currency of Thailand and its value is about INR 2.17 at the time of writing this.
So if you’re travelling to any place in Thailand, you will have to exchange your INR into THB in order to make purchases during your stay.
There are many places you can exchange your currency and we’ll get into those details.
Best Places to Exchange INR to THB
Although there are multiple places you can exchange INR to THB currency, not all places offer the best rates. In order to minimize your loss, here is a custom list for you.
This should ideally be your first approach. Banks offer the best currency exchange rates with minimal fee. While you will not get the exchange rate available on Google search, you will get the closest rate with minimal fee.
You can approach any Forex Branch of a nationalised bank – both public and private. You should not have any issues as long as the bank has currency notes.
Thomas Cook India
Thomas Cook is my second choice after banks for exchange currency. You can exchange INR to THB at Thomas Cook local office near you.
I have personally exchanged INR to Euro at Thomas Cook in Guwahati before my trip to Germany couple months earlier, so I can tell you the experience was awesome.
I asked them if they have Thai Baht and the executive at the counter informed that they did not have at the moment but should be available in the next month.
But if THB is not available, you can go for USD. Exchange your INR to USD and take the USD with you which you can exchange to THB very easily and with minimal loss due to the stability of the currency value.
Thomas Cook offers one of the best currency exchange rates and you should definitely try out.
Call them in advance before visiting the office to make sure the currency you want is available with them. If not, they can always issue Forex Cards although that will take a few days to process.
Super Rich (Thailand)
If you are not able to exchange your currency while in India, you can still exchange when you reach Thailand.
Super Rich is one of the best place I must suggest for currency exchange. They offer better rates than any other Forex service providers.
You can find Super Rich at major Airports and Shopping malls. Visit them, check out the exchange rates they have on display, and exchange over the counter.
If at all, you have no THB with you, you can exchange about 500 THB at your departure airport in India for emergency requirements such as taxi to hotel etc.
Do not exchange large sums or all of your money at the airport because of the high forex rates.
Exchange INR to THB at Airports
International Airports have currency exchange counters. These may belong to Banks or private operators such as Ebix Cash etc.
I would strongly advised to to not exchange whole of your money for your trip at the airport.
Currency exchange at Airports are costly, maybe because it’s the last opportunity before you depart and they are taking advantage of your desperate need.
For instance, back in Mid June I checked the Ebix Currency Exchange counter at Kolkata Airport. They were charging INR 87 for 1 USD while the Google rates showed INR 76 for 1 USD.
See the amount you’re going to lose if you were to exchange say upwards of INR 20,000.
Currency exchange at Airport in Thailand are also the same. You will be at a huge loss so avoid them as far as possible.
Exchange INR to USD if THB is Not Available
One useful tip in case THB is not available with the exchanger is to convert your INR to popular currencies such as USD, British pound or Euro. In such cases, I’d always recommend converting to USD.
USD is a stable currency used worldwide and every exchange or forex dealer would love your USD.
You will get better exchange rates. By better, I mean a higher value of your desired currency. It’s never a problem exchanging USD to any currency in any country. Thailand is no exception.
However, remember to exchange USD to THB, because you will not be able to spend USD directly anywhere.
Using Credit Cards in Thailand
Most credit cards issued by your bank in India can be used as long as you enable international transaction. While credit cards come convenient in many ways, there are forex markup fees associated with them.
This fee may range from 1.99% to as high at 3.5% of the total transaction amount. Yet it’s better than currency exchange at Airports. (I have nothing against them, I just want you to get the most out of your local currency).
If you have a credit card with lower Forex markup fee, you can use them for necessities.
Important Things to Note Before your Trip
I am sharing the following important tips before you start your trip to Thailand, based on my experience.
- Plan well in advance (travel, accommodation, estimated shopping budget etc)
- Visa is not an issue. You can get EVOA (E-visa on arrival) applied before your trip or simply VOA (Visa on arrival) at the Airport in Thailand
- Exchange your currency in advance (Banks or Thomas Cook)
- Avoid large amount currency exchange at Airports due to higher fees.
- Forex cards offer even better exchange rates for you. However nothing as versatile as currency notes.
Currency Notes over Forex Cards
My personal preference of currency notes over Forex cards is because currency notes does not depend on technology.
You can use them anywhere, in the city, in the village etc. It’s versatile and nothing beats them. With Forex cards, you need a machine to make a transaction.
To me that just unnecessarily complicate things. The advantage is that you will get more for your local currency if you opt for a Forex card rather than currency notes.
Although it was my first trip, I had a good first hand experience of exchanging INR 20,000 to THB.
I did not have time to visit Thomas Cook or local bank as I had to plan my trip 2 days after my arrival from Germany on a weekend.
The only forex counter available at Kolkata Airport was Ebix Cash. No THB there, USD was costly at INR 87 per USD. So I went ahead thinking I could exchange on arrival at Bangkok Airport.
I did, but the charge was so high and the exchange rate so bad, I got only THB 7410.
Back to Kolkata few days later and I did a quick calculation on Thomas Cook website. I could have exchanged them for 1000 THB at least!
So you can learn from my experience and prevent huge loss like the one I suffered. Anyway, hope you find this piece useful. Signing off.