Phuket is littered with forex booths – at the airport, outside your hostel, at the OTOP Shopping Paradise, and along main streets such as Thaweewong Road (watch video below).
But since their buying rates vary – ranging from 0.5 THB to 0.7 THB for 1 PHP – your challenge is to look for a booth that gives you the highest value for your travel money.
To find the best foreign exchange rate, my friends and I decided to do the following:
– using Philippine money, buy Thai bahts at our airport of departure, which was NAIA 3;
– exchange Philippine pesos to Thai baht at a forex booth in Patong, Phuket; and
– withdraw Thai bahts from an ATM in Phuket.
Here’s what we discovered.
1. At NAIA 3, there are several booths to choose from, but the best offer was 1.51 PHP = 1 THB. I decided to buy 10,000 THB, costing me 15,100 PHP.
2. At Phuket International Airport, booths buy Philippine money at a really low price. The exchange rate last December 6, 2016 was 1 PHP = 0.5 THB. Meaning, if I bought 10,000 THB at the airport, I would’ve shelled out 20,000 PHP.
3. In Patong area, the best rate we were able to find was near the beach, along Thaweewong Road. The rate was 1 PHP = 0.65 THB. Had I waited until we got to Phuket, 10,000 THB would have cost me 15,385 PHP.
4. Two of my friends made separate withdrawals using their BDO atm cards. Even if you factor in the bank fees, ATM withdrawals gave the biggest value for our Philippine money. Withdrawing 10,000 THB cost around 13,700 PHP.
Based on the observations above, here are some useful tips to remember when buying Thai bahts using Philippine money.
1. Withdrawing from an ATM in Phuket is the best option. But remember, before your flight to Thailand, call your bank and have the overseas withdrawal feature of your ATM card activated.
2. If you’re flying from the Philippines and really need bahts, buy some at the airport, but just enough to cover basic expenses such as airport-to-hotel fare, local SIM card, and maybe some food.
3. If you’re unsure, it’s safe to bring US dollars because they are readily exchanged both in Phuket and in your home country.
4. If you’re within Patong, check out Thaweewong Road for the best rates.