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03 September 2014
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Travelers Essentials : Money Matters


Money Changers


Most foreign currency and traveler’s checks are cashed easily at hotels and tourist shops, as well as all provincial banks, shopping centers and money changers. Traveler’s checks are best changed in banks, which will often require your passport. Rates of exchange at banks or authorized money changers are better than those at hotels and department stores, whether you want to exchange Thai baht or purchase Thai baht with foreign currency.


Currency


The Thailand currency is the baht. One Thai baht is divided into 100 satang, though the tiny golden satang coins are rarely taken or given outside of shopping malls and convenience stores. Bank notes are in denominations of 1,000 (beige), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and the less common 10 (brown) baht. Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht.  Both Thai baht bank notes and coins are sized according to denomination, with larger value notes and coins correspondingly larger than lesser value ones.Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may takeforeign currency out of Thailand, but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travelers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 Thai baht per person in Thai currency.


Credit Cards


Credit cards are widely accepted, though using a credit card may incur a usage fee of 2-3% which the vendor will typically inform you of before running your card.  Furthermore, while most cards give reasonable exchange rates, many credit card companies charge an additional fee for foreign charges.

For lost cards :
American Express Tel : 66(0)2-273 5100 or 66(0)81-559-5888
Diners Club Tel : 66(0)2-238 2920 or 66(0)2-238 2680
Master Card Tel : 66(0)2-256 7326 to 7
Visa Tel : 66(0)2-256 7326 to 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. At restaurants, Thais will often leave the coins as change, though it’s becoming more common to leave 20-100 baht (up to 10%) in addition to coins. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but a gesture of tipping the leftover change is appreciated, and 20 baht is acceptable for porters at hotels and parking attendants. 


Bargaining


Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other shops 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.


VAT Refund


Visitors entering the kingdom on tourist visas are entitled to a refund of the 7% V.A.T. on goods purchased at registered retail outlets.  To qualify for VAT refund a visitor must purchases must total at least 2,000 baht per store per day, with a total value of at least 5,000 baht.  You must bring your receipt (and passport and flight information) to the VAT Refund counter at the store you purchased goods from on the day you purchased them.  At the airport you must produce these forms as well as the goods to the customs officials at the VAT Refund counter in the departures terminal prior to passing through customs.