Money and Costs

Business Hours:

Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public holidays.

Currency and Currency exchange :

The thai unit of currency is the baht 1 baht is divided into 100 satang. Note are in denominations of 1,000 (brown), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and 10 (brown) baht. Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht.

There is no black market exchange rate, so you should only exchange money at a bank or similar foreign exchange facility, which give the best rates. All airports in Thailand have currency exchange facilities.

Hua Hin has many foreign currency exchanges counters. Try not to use those in hotels, as their rate is always much lower than the real rate of exchange.

Major currency bills and travellers cheques are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centres and money changers.Travellers cheques are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorised money changers are better than those at hotels and department stores.

Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may take foreign currency out of Thailand, but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travellers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 baht per person in Thai currency.

Credit Cards:

There are various ways of getting a credit card in Thailand. Each bank will have different rules and regulations. If you have work permit you might get unsecured credit card with a credit line dependent on your monthly income. Unsecured cards are difficult to obtain without an established work history.

Some banks will offer you options of placing a large deposit with them first or buying bonds that are held. It might be a good idea to visit your local branch and find out what is available.

For lost cards :
American Express Tel : 0 2273 5100 or 0 2273 0022
Diners Club Tel : 0 2238 2920 or 0 2238 2680
Master Card Tel : 0 2256 7326-7
Visa Tel : 0 2256 7326-7

Tipping :

Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated and 10-20 baht is acceptable for porters.

Bargaining :

Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.