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  • 3 Questions

    I am going to Thailand for the first time in February 2018 and have a 3 questions I am seeking answers to.
    1) Exchanging Canadian money to Baht - I have heard it is best to do this in the airport in Bangkok. You get a better rate, Is this right or should I bring Baht with me.
    2) On the topic of Baht - Carrying cash and having cash on hand. I hear different opinions and warnings about this. I like cash and use cash at home and would like to do the same in LOS. My thoughts are to keep cash in the safe in my room and take out what I plan on spending each time i go out. Is this a good philosophy or am I asking for trouble? Thoughts?
    3) Getting from Bangkok to Pattaya - What would the recommended form of transportation be? Bus or taxi? I hear the cost of a taxi is only B2000

    Any info would be appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    It is cheaper to change your money in Thailand.
    There is many exchange booths in the airport and there is many in Bangkok and Pattaya, even the banks are a good rate.
    Some of the ones like Super rich in Bangkok have the best rates, however all the rates are quite close so hunting around for rates isn't really necessary. Some people like to bring only cash and exchange it as they go because that is the absolute cheapest way to go.
    Hauling around all the cash for your vacation is probably not a good idea in my mind.
    Normally I take some cash then leave the rest in the bank and use my ATM cards to get additional money.
    There is ATMs everywhere in Thailand so it is not an issue to get cash, you just have to consider the service charges when you withdraw. Normally take out the maximum amount to minimize the affects of the fees. Normally it is a couple bucks fee to the Thai atm and $5 fee to your North American bank for international withdrawals. I also take more than one ATM card in case one gets cut off by your bank, then you can move your money to the other one, for example. Most places in Thailand do not take credit cards anyway, except hotels.
    Normally i try to pay for my hotels in advance and then keep some cash in my safe and in the Bank. When i go out I take the appropriate amount for what I am doing. Never carry more than you need but always enough in case of an extra surprise. Have an ATM card for backup hidden in your shoe or something.

    I have never had any problem with theft in Thailand whether in my room or elsewhere.
    Generally people are quite honest, especially those with jobs. Muggings are not common in Thailand (except by the police)
    The general populace is fairly brainwashed, subdued and scared of getting in trouble with authorities. So most just tow the line and stay honest.
    Generally don't go places alone late at night where you could find your self alone amongst a bad crowd like the beach at night in Pattaya.

    You can get a car from central Bangkok to Pattaya for 1000 - 1500 baht. Check what your hotel charges for cars, sometimes they have deals.
    Then ask around at taxis and transportation stands. You should never have to pay more than 1500 for a regular taxi or car. Right from BKK airport we paid 1400 for a regular taxi from the stand no bargaining in November. It may be more for a luxury car, van or minibus.

    There is many other threads on this you can read.
    https://theladyboyforums.com/asiaboa...ollars-to-baht
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    • #3
      Thanks Crag. Appreciate you passing on that info. I feel a little better prepared now.

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      • #4
        Regarding the ATM fees, there's a great way to avoid it:

        https://www.thebudgetmindedtraveler....fees-anywhere/

        You set up a Charles Schwab investment account (you never have to use it) and link your current checking account to it. Takes a little time but it's worth it in the end.

        After you deposit money into the new Schwab account - as much money as you think you'll need for your trip - you request an ATM card which you will use on the trip. At the end of the month, all ATM fees are reimbursed back to your Schwab account. Bottom line: it's free to withdraw money in Thailand, any ATM, any amount, any time.

        I'm going through the application right now in preparation for my March trip.

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        • #5
          1), there are money changers in Bangkok Vasu and Super Rich that give better rates than the banks; check this thread: What's the best way to change dollars to Baht?

          2) Also discussed in the linked thread - however the room safe is not as secure as you think it is: Hotel safe safe?


          3) if you are not in a hurry you can take the bus from the Bangkok Ekkamai Bus terminal (can easily get there using the BTS Sky Train) on the Sukhumvit line - cost is about 150 Baht for the express bus (be sure to specify as the other bus stops at almost every small town between and takes more than twice as long), or you can just flag down a taxi and negotiate a price. You might have to ask a few as they will generally not have a fare on the return to Bangkok.

          There is a lot of information in the Thailand Travel Information forum as well, just a quick browse through can answer many of your questions.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by magical View Post
            Regarding the ATM fees, there's a great way to avoid it:

            https://www.thebudgetmindedtraveler....fees-anywhere/

            You set up a Charles Schwab investment account (you never have to use it) and link your current checking account to it. Takes a little time but it's worth it in the end.

            After you deposit money into the new Schwab account - as much money as you think you'll need for your trip - you request an ATM card which you will use on the trip. At the end of the month, all ATM fees are reimbursed back to your Schwab account. Bottom line: it's free to withdraw money in Thailand, any ATM, any amount, any time.

            I'm going through the application right now in preparation for my March trip.
            If that works, you still will have to pay the 200+ baht fee at the Thai ATMs.
            My Canadian Bank has all ATM fees in Canada for free, even at other Canadian Banks.
            However the do not cover foreign ATM fees and charge the International withdrawal fee of $5 or more.
            You should check if they refund the international withdrawal fee because this is different than ATM charges.

            You could also load prepaid credit cards which don't charge an international withdrawal fee.
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            • #7
              I'm pretty sure the Schwab account perks are only for Americans.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rxpharm View Post
                I'm pretty sure the Schwab account perks are only for Americans.
                You're probably right - they did a credit check on my social sec #. But you'd have to call them to be sure of that.

                Foreign transaction fees also waived.
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                • #9
                  Confirmed by Schwab online chat - only Americans can open one of these accounts.

                  But I'm sure you Canadians have some good stuff up there as well

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone. Everything I'm reading here is an education and much appreciated

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by magical View Post
                      Confirmed by Schwab online chat - only Americans can open one of these accounts.

                      But I'm sure you Canadians have some good stuff up there as well
                      Yes but this is not a bank account so you may be paying in other ways. This is a brokerage account.
                      http://content.schwab.com/web/retail...rted/checking/

                      On this page and every page it warns this is a brokerage product with no FDIC insurance.
                      This may be fine for short term but I don't think they are comparing apples to apples in your chart.
                      The other banks appear to be offering fully insured regular bank accounts.

                      Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Value

                      "Unlimited ATM fee rebates apply to cash withdrawals using the Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card wherever it is accepted. ATM fee rebates do not apply to any fees other than fees assessed for using an ATM to withdraw cash from your Schwab Bank account. Schwab Bank makes its best effort to identify those ATM fees eligible for rebate, based on information it receives from Visa and ATM operators. In the event that you have not received a rebate for a fee that you believe is eligible, please call a Schwab Bank Customer Service Representative for assistance at 1-888-403-9000. Schwab Bank reserves the right to modify or discontinue the ATM fee rebate at any time."

                      If you use a credit card cash advance from an ATM in Thailand you won't pay the international fee either.
                      However you will get charged a cash advance fee and interest if you don't pay the balance within 20 days usually.

                      This appears to be a VISA ATM Transaction, so check if there is cash advance fees.

                      They mention "Eligible fees" in the small print.
                      You may find Thailand does not fall into "Eligible"

                      I have other cards like:
                      http://www.paxum.com
                      http://www.payoneer.com

                      They are technically pre-paid credit cards.
                      It costs me money to load the credit cards but there is no cash advance fee or international fee.
                      I still pay the ATM fee.

                      The cheapest option of all is to open a bank account in Thailand and wire a ton of money to it.

                      I just check my bank account and they no longer charge an International flat fee.
                      They charge 2.5% above the posted exchange rate now
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CRAG View Post

                        Yes but this is not a bank account so you may be paying in other ways. This is a brokerage account.
                        http://content.schwab.com/web/retail...rted/checking/

                        On this page and every page it warns this is a brokerage product with no FDIC insurance.
                        This may be fine for short term but I don't think they are comparing apples to apples in your chart.
                        The other banks appear to be offering fully insured regular bank accounts.

                        Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Value

                        "Unlimited ATM fee rebates apply to cash withdrawals using the Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card wherever it is accepted. ATM fee rebates do not apply to any fees other than fees assessed for using an ATM to withdraw cash from your Schwab Bank account. Schwab Bank makes its best effort to identify those ATM fees eligible for rebate, based on information it receives from Visa and ATM operators. In the event that you have not received a rebate for a fee that you believe is eligible, please call a Schwab Bank Customer Service Representative for assistance at 1-888-403-9000. Schwab Bank reserves the right to modify or discontinue the ATM fee rebate at any time."

                        If you use a credit card cash advance from an ATM in Thailand you won't pay the international fee either.
                        However you will get charged a cash advance fee and interest if you don't pay the balance within 20 days usually.

                        This appears to be a VISA ATM Transaction, so check if there is cash advance fees.

                        They mention "Eligible fees" in the small print.
                        You may find Thailand does not fall into "Eligible"

                        I have other cards like:
                        http://www.paxum.com
                        http://www.payoneer.com

                        They are technically pre-paid credit cards.
                        It costs me money to load the credit cards but there is no cash advance fee or international fee.
                        I still pay the ATM fee.

                        The cheapest option of all is to open a bank account in Thailand and wire a ton of money to it.

                        I just check my bank account and they no longer charge an International flat fee.
                        They charge 2.5% above the posted exchange rate now
                        Spoken by the man who's been to LOS 27 times! I'm sure you've seen a lot of phony product promises over the many years of your foreign travels, and your note of caution is well taken.

                        Yes it's a brokerage account, but you don't have to trade your money on deposit, there is no minimum deposit, there are no non-activity fees or other charges, and it can be effectively used as a "checking account". It also garners 0.13% interest on your money.

                        It's worth a follow up chat with one of the Schwab people to talk about Thai ATM machines and whether there's a certain class of machines I should avoid. I don't foresee any problems - there are a lot of reviews about this product and all positive.

                        Thanks for the feedback Crag!

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                        • #13
                          I use the Kasikorn Bank on the 4th or 5th floor of the Central Festival Shopping Center which is most upscale place to be for shopping and eating. Actually 4 banks up there and only 2 will change money. Even shows a rate for North Korean money! It contains the skyscraper Hilton right on Beachwalk. Easy to change greenbacks but still have to bring your passport. I like to bring ?US$10K in traveler's checks in $500 denominations. There is a B150 charge per transaction so I change $1K at a time. Really hate to have to store so much greenbacks in my luggage or hotel safe so it's TC's. I do bring my credit cards and cash for emergencies like it there's another coup and all the airports get shut down for a few weeks (2010). Be very careful when punching in your hotel safes 4-digit code you make up yourself. The numbers show up in big red numbers at the end of the locking process. That's when a guest can see and rip you off if they ask you to shower alone. For your return taxi ride to Suvarnabumi Bangkok airport, go see the two Thai gas at the 7-11 store right across the Sunshine Hotel on Soi 8. They are cheaper and more honest. They have always delivered on my taxi rides late at 2 AM in the morning. Remember that when you check out the hotel returns you B1000 key deposit. That's about US$30 so plan to eat something good before boarding your plane. Airplane food is JUNK! Can actually make you sick on arrivals. Be aware of your surroundings and don't get run over. I remember my first visit in 2012. Next early November you may want to see the Ladyboy Water Volleyball contest at the Areca Hotel. Ask Crag for details. To start off you may want to walk up and down Soi 7 for some ladyboy action. I like the Lion Women Bar where there are 3 20-year old horny Katoeys (Bebe,Nicky, and Benz. All are surprisingly good in bed. After 3 photo sessions I think they got tired of me. Try also Piggy's Bar and look for Num. Looks plain but a devil on top of the sheets. Goes both ways. I don't like the older ones because the female hormones start to cause shrinkage and limpiness. Look for the young ones and do NOT waste your time with children under the legal age of 18. Ask to see their ID's. Usually they're regular blue sized plastic cards and not driver's licenses. Or they're brown Thai passports. If they got photocopies, forget 'em. The hotels will not accept them. Soi 8 has pretty much gone dead. Less hostesses and not so attractive. Might try Soi 5 next which required a cheap B10 baht bus ride. 4 or 5 Katoey bars but big tall bangers. They can be pushy for drinks. Again I prefer the younger and slender ones who have not yet be corrupted by dirty ripoff tricks. Expect to pay B4-500 for bar fines and B1000 for short times. I think long times (LT) are B1500 and up. Pretty cheap so you better have a lot of sperm. They sell Kamagra which is Thailand's Viagra. Don't buy the boxful. Just try one and buy in 5's if you think they help. They are flavored syrups in aluminum packets you rip with your teeth and swallow about 30 minutes before the show begins. Try 'em. Soi 8 has surprisingly gone downhill. The younger crowd has thinned out. Too bad Obsessions Pattaya on Soi 13/4 closed up for good. Loved their lapdance rooms and very pretty K's. Seriously the bar scene is decreasing in Pattaya. I have to look around and explore more for the action. Do go to the Bhukao street scene right at the intersection of Bhukao and Soi 11. Some Katoey bars and aggressive hostesses. Wish they showed their photos of their nudity on their cell phones so I don't get fooled so many times. Lastly try the Beachwalk scene right across the street from the 7-11 store (right next door to the Hilton). Ask the ladyboys if they can call BAITONG to come over. Very cute little K. Huge cock but soft. Body like a child. You will like. Have fun. You are lucky to come AFTER the Xmas and New Year's. Too crowded and noisy.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks George. You are a fountain of valuable information for a gentleman going hunting in Thailand. Appreciate you taking the time to share that knowledge with us rookies.

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                            • #15
                              At some point trying to find the cheapest rate for a car can get frustrating.
                              So in the end 100 or 200 baht difference isn't really a big deal, you just should never have to pay more than $1500 between Bangkok and Pattaya.
                              In Bangkok regular taxis will take you to Pattaya but not all regular taxi drivers will go there, and they may not quite know where they are going in Pattaya.
                              Some hotels offer cheap transportation to their customers but other hotels try to profit and charge too much extra.
                              However the best deals I have had for cars have come through my hotels.
                              Honey's at the View Talay condos in Pattaya got me a car for 1200 baht to Bangkok which saves me having to find it myself.
                              i did have to pay the toll fees myself which is about 100 baht.

                              The other option is pre-booking the round trip with some company online then you only have to worry about it once.
                              Many websites offer 1000 baht to Pattaya.
                              http://www.pattaya-taxiservice.com/
                              http://www.tomtaxiservice.com/
                              http://www.cherrytaxiservice.com/

                              or you can book it one way and make a deal with the driver to come pick you up for the return trip.
                              I have found when you book these cars the drivers often want to made a side deal with you so they don't have to pay the company.
                              They will give you their card and say to call them directly, not go through the website or company again.

                              I've used this company before on two trips to Koh Chang and they are quite good but not the cheapest.
                              However their rates include all fees taxes and tolls and you can contact them through their facebook page if there is issues.
                              They are reliable and offer 5% off return trips.
                              https://www.limousine.in.th/
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