Where to Get the Best Exchange Rates in Phuket?
Where is the best place to change money in Phuket? This is one of the most frequently asked questions on our Phuket blog. If you are travelling on a budget, exchange rates can make a significant difference for your holiday. We try here to list the different options available on the island, and we try our best to gather useful information. Of course, things vary a lot, but these guidelines should help to get the big picture, and we will keep updating them as we go.
In any case here is a good tip: if you need to get an idea of what a reasonable exchange rate is like, go to this page: ‘SuperRich’, these rates are among the best you can get on the island, and always updated. You may find a little cheaper in those ‘unofficial booths’, but at least you will come armed with some info!
1. Changing Money in Your Home Country
Usually, not a good idea as rates are not advantageous. It may vary from country to country, but so far no one reported it as better or even worth it.
2. Changing at Airport on Arrival
In Thailand, changing at the airport is not as bad as in other countries we tried. If you are on a budget, only change what you need for the taxi and a bit of extra cash until you reach the best option: changing in the streets.
3. ATM’s (at the airport or anywhere in Phuket)
ATM’s exchange rate is a little higher than in the streets, but it offers two benefits: ATM is a convenient way not to carry too much cash around. Pickpockets are not a problem in Phuket, but It’s more about losing your money, or spending all of it after one beer too many! The second advantage is based on a question we get A LOT: “How much money should I take with me for a week in Phuket?”. We have no idea what your lifestyle is, and we try to answer the best we can, but with an ATM you never have to worry if you brought too little or too much… withdraw as you need! ATM’s are EVERYWHERE and accept Master and Visa and other international cards (not American Express).
A small word of advice based on our own experience and almost every expat we know: at the contrary of most countries, when withdrawing in a Thai ATM, your money will come first, then your card will be ejected AFTER! After a few beers and with friends having fun at the bar next door, a lot of ATM cards have been forgotten this way! Also always make sure no one is watching over your shoulder while you are entering your pin code, especially in Bangla road where travellers are a little careless.
4. Official Street Money Changers (Banks)
You will be surprised to see how many currency exchange booths you will see when walking the streets of any beaches of Phuket. There are two types of cabins: The official bank’s booths, identifiable by some kind of official logo and bank name (like K Bank on this photo), and the unbranded ones. Banks offer a decent rate but can’t beat the unbranded booths. As those booths are often near each other, you can walk from one to the next and see the rate for yourself, then change where the price is best.
5. Unofficial Street Money Changers Booth
We hate to say that unofficial money changer booths offer the best rates, but they often do. We’ll update you as soon as possible with a few examples of what the margin is for some major currencies. We tried to take a mobile photo of their exchange rate electronic board, but they always switch it off with an angry look when we do! Must be good! As you can see from this photo, there are no bank logo or brand… it’s safe to use them. Here are some samples of price difference we found on that day:
Bank USD: 32.35 – Booth USD: 32.63
Bank EUR: 37.38 – Booth EUR: 37.75
Bank GPB: 41.20 – Booth GPB: 41.80
7. Superrich Phuket
Superrich is an official money changer in Thailand, and it always has the best possible rates, no idea how they do that (yet). The problem, and why we don’t talk about it right away, is the remote location in the suburb of Phuket Town, making it quite inconvenient for tourists to reach. A tuk-tuk ride to Superrich, even when visiting Phuket town would cannibalise your benefit! Below is a map of Superrich Phuket just in case you still want to go and check it out it for yourself.
Location: 52, 12 Chaofa Road, Phuket Town 83000 (near Rama Park)
Phone: 076 246 288
Map from Thalang Road Historical Street to SuperRich
6. Changing Money at Your Hotel?
Well known to be the worst possible option.