Currency for travelling Bhat/USD/Credit Cards/Travellers.

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by enveetee, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Can anyone share their experiences re what currency to use and what form to carry it in for Thailand and Laos.

    USD or ATM machines

  2. In Thailand,

    Only the very big department stores allow you to make a purchase in something other than Baht.

    ATMs are everywhere, and Visa/Maestro/Cirus are widely accepted...

    I Usually over pay my Visa Bill just before I leave (make it in credit), and withdraw 20 thousand from any ATM as soon as I arrive at the airport, then Pay for as much as I can with Visa... plus I usually carry in cash in AUD and change it as I need once the Baht runs low. Money changers are everywhere... sometimes you can find a changer that will do a bit better rate than the bank owned ones, the bank owned ones aren't bad (they display their rates outside so you can shop around)... hotels are as always, the worst...

    Don't know about Laos, but I would assume the same, although ATMs probably less prolific...

  3. ATM for cash as much as possible.

    Credit cards are just fine but the only problem I have found is that when I come back to NZ I get a letter from the Card issuer saying that I have used it in an insecure country and they put a $500 limit on it for any future foreign transactions. The answer then is to accept the limit or get a new card.

    Cash is generally King and probably less of an audit trail for your spending habits after the event :wink:
  4. Cash and Credit card

    but remember, in some places when you pay in CC there will be i think abt 3% charge.

    Visa usually charge free, Mastro almost every place where i tryed to use it, charge.

    Also, i know you guys travel a lot but just a reminder,, try to not pay with your card where it's taken to out of your sight (Yeah,,right, easier to say that done) there has been cases that card has been copied and then later on used by some one,, not so frequent now day but in the yr or so go.

    I dont know your banks in your countries but as we use Kasikorn bank here thailand i have sms alert system to my mob every time my card has been's really good to have and will minimize damages as it alert me seconds after card been used.(sms free of charge)
  5. Is that the ATM card or the credit card where you get the SMS. That sounds like a very good system to me.

    Personally, I don't like to use any credit card where i have to leave an imprint with anyone. I much prefer the PIN number system we use here. Nothing is 100% safe. I agree, don;t let the card (or your passport at hotels) out of your sight.


  6. Tony

    Credit card, i dont use ATM so i dont know,,it might work in there as well,, i checked oout from wife when she "wakes" up..will let you know and if she dont know,, i can try to make it official..

    UPDATE: Wife confirms that IF card is used 2500thb and more it will tricker alert on our phone, how ever if card is used 2499 or less there is no alert.

    ATM checked later as we dont use that, but will call and check from the bank...
  7. Before I leave the 'States I get the card cleared for the countries I'm going to and get my daily maximum withdrawal limit adjusted at my bank to avoid any possibility that my card will not be honored just when I might need it most. I also sign a couple of wire transfer slips at the bank to keep on file "just in case". I try to buy everything in baht and only use the card for withdrawals at the ATM. I realize that every country's-and bank's- card rules may vary-these are just the ones I follow to get, up to now, trouble free service from mine.
  8. Last time I was in Laos there were VERY few ATM's. Take cash there. Hotels will take Thai Baht but you will lose a little on exchange.

    Maybe open a second bank account just for the trip and get a second atm card just in case. It would be a pain to get another one.
  9. just inform ,
    in Combodia they use $US laos thai bath popular.. :p
  10. Until a few years ago there were NO ATM's in Laos. One could make a cash withdrawal by credit card at a bank. Now there are some machines in the larger cities but that is all.

    I would say that the use of credit cards in Thailand and Laos is least desirable. Excess charges and not many shops accept them.

    In Laos the dollar is accepted almost everywhere and most places accept the Baht. I usually carry Baht as it is easily attainable, Dollar for use at Immigration and larger purchases and Lao Kip for smaller everyday items. The Lao merchants are great at figuring exchange rates. You may get your change in Kip however. Out of the way places are an exception and you should have enough Kip to buy fuel if needed.
  11. Hi Folks,

    After 30+ years of world travelling, for work, not pleasure until I could afford it !! I have to say that I have used almost every method, however nowadays the ATM is the way to go.

    My UK Bank does not charge for cash withdrawals wherever I am in the world and checking my statement I find I always get the best possible direct exchange rate on my money.

    I have Security set up with a drawing limit of $500 per day which I find ample unless I am having a really crazy time. The reason for this is that if my card is ever lost, stolen or cloned, by the time I discover it I should be able to minimise my losses.

    I have Internet banking and check my account regularly for any signs of 'misuse'. For this I always connect via my own Laptop, never using internet cafes or any other such places. I have heard of instances of them having 'Keyloggers' installed which harvest passwords etc and can easily be used for fraud.

    I use my card for purchases and paying Hotel Bills etc, but only in respecatable establishments (I do frequent other less respectable ones too !!) There is rarely an issue with Card Payment as mine is not a Credit, but a Debit Card. Any problems are usually resolved by calling the '24 Hr Card Hotline' and getting the payment authorised.

    Apart from the above I have a few simple rules:

    1) I use my card to draw from ATMs regularly and usually carry between 10000 and 20000 THB in cash.
    2) I only use major bank ATMs and if there is a branch with one inside, then that is my preferred machine.
    3) I use ATMs in daylight/business hours so if there is an issue I can go into the branch and hopefully sort it out.
    4) If going out at night, or to less respectable establishments I take only cash and my card etc remain secure in my accommodation.
    5) Other than above, I never allow my card out of my sight. If a retailer needs it he can bring the machine to me or I go with the card.
    6) I have a seperate bank account, with another card (same rules as above) and this is my 'get out of trouble' option should my primary card be lost stolen or damaged.
    7) MOST IMPORTANT - My girlfriend does not know the PIN number of any of them.

    Other methods may work, but you can come unstuck - Travellers Cheques are a pain and not accepted in a lot of places. Cash always works, but exchange rates are dodgy and it is easy to lose without possible recovery.

    The ATM is king.

    Cheers, MH

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