Bring More Cash to Thailand Than You Think You’ll Need!

Most of Asia does business in cash and Thailand’s no exception. You’ll need to carry cash with you at all times in Thailand unless you want to use a local debit card. Using foreign cards is very, very expensive and only a last resort. So bring cash to Thailand! Lots of cash!!

Shortly after I moved to Thailand I experienced card skimming and bank blocks on my US account. Those painful memories, though now distant, were reawakened this week when 3 of our relocation clients found their home bank accounts suddenly inaccessible and had to ask semi-strangers to lend them money. I experienced exactly the same humiliation a few months after I moved here and, as you can imagine, it’s stressful and embarrassing.
The moral of the story is:

  1. Bring enough cash to cover ALL your expenses – including rent – for your first month.
  2. Deposit all of it in your new Thai Bank account and don’t touch it. Instead,
  3. Draw money for all your needs from your home bank account.
  4. Leave that cash in your Thai account. Your bank manager will think highly of you and you’ll have a rainy day fund.

To recap: avoid frustration, humiliation and embarrassment. Bring cash when you come to Thailand. Deposit it. Don’t touch it unless you have to. Paying cash for everything is normal in Thailand. Thais expect cash and large amounts of it are commonly used for things like buying cars. Get used to cash again!

2 Responses

  1. Please be extremely careful of withdrawing cash from your bank. I withdrew a large sum of money from Bank of America in California, to bring to Thailand. On the way home, I was followed from the bank and robbed.
    Bangkok Bank has an office in New York and, I think, London so in the USA and England, Bangkok Bank is a domestic bank and easy to transfer funds electronically, fast and at very low fees.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.