I recently went on a short holiday to Bangkok and I was wondering if it’s better to convert INR to Thai Baht in India itself, or does it make sense to buy THB once in Bangkok.
Based on my research – I decided to buy USD in India, and then use that to buy THB once in Bangkok.
The factors that made me go with this option are as follows:
- The first thing I did was to look for what rate I was getting on THB in India itself, and the best rate I found was 100THB for Rs. 203.25. Quick calculation and some guess work seemed to indicate that this is worse than what you can get from buying USD in India and then converting that to THB in Bangkok.
- Money changers are ubiquitous in Bangkok and it seemed very likely that the USD to THB rate that you can get in Bangkok would be much better than the INR to THB rate you would get in India.
- You can shop around for a good rate to buy Dollars in India, specially cities like Hyderabad, but you may not get that much of an opportunity to do that once in Bangkok. For instance, I was able to buy dollars at a rate of Rs. 64.4 to a dollar in Hyderabad.
- It wasn’t clear to me how much THB I’d actually need in Bangkok and they charge a fee to convert it back to USD, which would be a complete waste, and it would be ideal if you converted only that amount which is close to what you plan to spend.
Eventually, I got the following two rates to get from INR to THB. The first one was Rs. 64.40 to a Dollar which I got in Hyderabad by using BookMyForex and 32.55 THB to a Dollar which I got at Super Rich at a mall in Bangkok.
The rate that I was getting in India to convert INR directly to THB was 100 THB for Rs.203.25 and the effective rate that I got by buying USD in India and THB in Bangkok was 100 THB to Rs. 197.84, so that shows you that the best idea is to buy USD in India, and then use those USD to buy THB in Bangkok.
The table below gives you a comparison.
|Buy THB in India using INR||100 THB = Rs. 203.25|
|Buy THB in Bangkok using INR||Not a viable option|
|Buy USD in India and THB in Bangkok (64.40 Rupees to a Dollar and then 32.55 THB to a Dollar)||100 THB = Rs. 197.84|
Other things to Consider
You have to pay 1,000 THB as visa fee upon arrival in Thailand and this fee has to be paid in Thai Bahts itself. This is quite an annoying thing as the last thing you want to do after a long flight is to find a currency exchange and change money. However, as annoying as it might be, it is not very hard. You can find money changers before you get in the immigration queue and change a small amount to cover the visa fee and taxi because you will get a better rate once you are outside the airport.
Also, keep in mind that they need you to have a passport photograph to staple on your application, and take that with you or you will have to cough up a ridiculous amount to get that photo.
The last thing I want to point out is that although people told me you could buy THB in INR in Bangkok, I couldn’t see such money changers myself, and I would certainly not recommend that option to anyone. If you are traveling abroad, it is better to change INR to USD at home itself, and not fall into a situation where you have to a pay a ridiculous amount to buy local currency in INR.