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Currency, tipping and Bargaining in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Business | Chiang Mai business

The basic monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht (THB). One Baht is divided into 100 Satang. The use of the Satang as a monetary unit is rare nowadays because of its small value.

The following coins and notes are currently in use:

  • Coins: 25 and 50 Satang; 1, 5 and 10 Baht
  • Bank notes: 10 (brown), 20 (green), 50 (blue), 100 (red), 500 (purple) and 1000 (gray) Baht

All major foreign currencies can be exchanged for Thai Baht at the banks and authorized money changers. Major credit cards are also widely accepted especially in resort areas.

Visitors may freely bring in foreign currencies and other forms of foreign exchange. Cheques or drafts brought in must be negotiated through a bank.

Upon leaving Thailand, visitors may take with them all foreign exchange that they brought in. For residents of Thailand, no more than US$ 20,000 in bank drafts or cheques may be taken out of the country at one time. Currency however, is not limited.

Foreign visitors may bring in an unlimited amount of Thai currency. For travelers leaving Thailand, up to THB 20.000 may be taken out without prior authorization. However, if the journey is to one of Thailand's neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Burma, the limit is THB 500.000 per person.

Tipping and Bargaining

Although tipping is not expected or required in most cases, it is considered a nice gesture to leave a small amount when you receive good service.

Most restaurants, bars, supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, public transport (except taxis and tuk-tuks), and larger hotels do not offer discounts, and operate on a fixed price basis. You may have to pay extra for Credit Cards though! On the other hand, nearly any independent small business, from jewelry stores to street vendors, are open to bargaining. But of course, you cannot take a discount for granted right from the start, so all discussions should be done in a friendly manner.


Last Updated: 03 Oct 2007