My exchange problem in Bangkok

Unsurprisingly, there is not a huge demand for foreign exchange when foreigners are not allowed to enter a country. While Thailand is gradually reopening, most money changers have not. Beware of this if you need to change money in Bangkok.

Currency exchange office in Bangkok

I made the mistake of leaving my ATM card at home on my trip to Bangkok last month. Although I can usually get by with my credit card, several of the cafes I visited required cash or debit card for payment and would not accept credit cards.

Faced with the prospect of drinking bad coffee, I quickly opted to trade USD for THB.

Slight issue though: as I drove through town, every exchange office I came to was closed or closed.

I spent over an hour wandering around before finding one in a tailor’s shop. After exchanging my money I let the guy know he could probably charge a bit more as he was the only money changer open…

Admittedly, it was a Saturday, but it was in the middle of the day.

Later I found another place near the Grand Hyatt Erawan that was open…but most places were closed.

I generally avoid exchanging money, but when I do, I certainly avoid exchanging it at the airport, where the rate is rarely that good. Here it would have been easier to change money at the airport and you should consider doing so.

Bangkok lags a bit behind other East Asian cities when it comes to reach everywhere for credit card payment. Expect to pay cash in many places, especially if it’s not a chain.


I was surprised how few exchange offices were open in Bangkok. Most were closed, many permanently. Although they will likely return when tourists return, be sure to bring your ATM or exchange card ahead of time before heading to Thailand.

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