Travelling to Phuket and need some dollars / euros / rupiahs / what-have-yous changed into local bahts? Fear not. Changing money in Phuket is pretty straightforward – but as always, there are a few points to consider before departing from your hard-earned cash. Here’s what you need to know about changing money in Phuket.
Changing Money in Exchange Bureaus
There are countless currency exchange booths dotted across Phuket. All of them are working under strict government control.
Before changing money, make sure you check the current exchange rate in two or three outlets as this can differ from booth to booth. Exchange bureaus in Phuket accept a wide range of international currencies.
Some exchange bureaus might require an ID when changing money. If you don’t want to carry the original document with you while exploring the island, it’s a good idea to get a photo copy of your passport.
Some moneychangers might try to sneak a hidden commission of 3%, so make sure you always check the terms and conditions and read the fine print before changing money in Phuket.
Changing Money in Banks
Another option for changing money in Phuket is to visit a local bank.
The opening hours for most banks in Phuket is between 8.30 am – 3.30 pm from Monday to Friday. Some banks are open seven days a week, usually until 7pm.
The exchange rate in local banks is usually equal to the rate you’ll get from moneychangers.
The largest local Thai banks include Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Kasikorn Bank and Krungthai Bank. All of these banks have several outlets across the island, so finding a bank won’t be difficult while cruising around Phuket’s main commercial hubs.
Changing Money at the Airport or Hotel
Phuket International Airport offers a few exchange booths as well as some ATMs on arrival.
Changing money at the airport might be convenient, but the exchange rate you usually get here is less favourable than the rate in other exchange bureaus.
You can also change money at your hotel, which is simple and easy but again, the rate is usually lower than what you would get in an exchange booth.
Withdrawing Money from the ATM
There are plenty of ATMs in Phuket, so withdrawing cash is probably the easiest and the fastest way to get your hands on some Bahts.
Before maxing out your card at local ATMS though, take into account that many banks impose a fee for every transaction, which is usually not more than 2% of the withdrawal amount.
Another thing to consider is the possibility of your card getting skimmed at an ATM. To be on the safe side, it’s best to use ATMs that are centrally located inside a bank, mall or shop with constant surveillance.
ATMs use exchange rates set by the Central Bank which changes daily. For this reason, it’s impossible to know the exact exchange rate at the moment of withdrawing money from an ATM.