Is it Safe to Use Credit Cards in Thailand?

Travelling is no fun without money, so you'll want to protect your cards from dodgy ATMs, identity-swiping vendors, counterfeit currency AND avoid rip offs.


Counterfeit Currency

Fake 1000 Baht notes are in circulation. The note is Thailand's largest paper denomination, and is widely avoided by street vendors and transport operators.

It's a common occurrence to have shop owners question the validity of the bill, given the propensity of counterfeit notes and also the relative difficulty to break the bill.

How to Spot a Counterfeit Thai Baht Banknote?

Genuine 1000 Baht notes, (roughly the equivalent of 30 US Dollars, so not to be sneezed at) can be verified by a range of security features.

  • A watermark of Thai King Phumiphol situated in the white space on the right hand side of the note. The watermark can be seen if held up to light. Fake bills usually will not have this watermark.
  • On the opposite side of the note, you will see 6 markers which have a metallic sheen. Fake bills will usually not contain this feature or if they do, the markers will not have a metallic sheen.
  • A genuine note feels dry and smooth. Counterfeit bills feel 'greasy' or 'slippery' due to the cheapness and freshness of the ink used to print them.
  • The fiber of a genuine bill is sturdy and made with strong materials. A counterfeit bill uses cheap paper and is easy frayed or torn.

Is it Safe to Use Credit Cards in Thailand?

Card skimming is very common in Thailand.

Make sure you read our tips on using ATMs and the guide on shopping safely with credit cards to keep your hard-earned in your bank account.

You Will Get Ripped Off in Thailand

How to not get ripped off. Ha! Good luck with that. Thailand is cheap, really cheap, unbelievably cheap – if you‘re a local. Everyone else is fair game. You will pay more for everything. You can call this a rip-off and let it bother you, or you can call it an unofficial tourist tax and cop it with grace. It's usually only small change.

But there are other rip-offs which cross the line:

Entry Fee Rip Offs

The fare or entrance price is on a board written in English for foreigners and in Thai for locals. If you could understand the Thai script you‘d see how much more you‘re being charged.

Menu Rip Offs

Same goes with bar and restaurant menus, the price for farangs is often higher. Have a look at the Thai language script, the numerals are usually decipherable. Compare the menus side-by-side - items are usually in the same order on the page or board so, you can spot the corresponding prices. Even if th prices are written in words instead of numerals, use the World NomadsThai language app to find them (it's free).

Tuk-Tuk Rip Offs

Tuk tuk drivers give you change in scrunched up notes. By the time you‘ve unfolded the bills, counted them up and worked out you‘ve been short-changed the tuk tuk is gone.

Taxi Rip Offs

Taxis are one of the biggest sources of complaint. If the driver won‘t use the meter, get out and find one that will. The fares they quote are always at least double the metered fare.

Learn more about using Thailand's taxis and tuk-tuks with our Thailand transport guide. It'll save you from being ripped-off!

Tout Rip Offs

Touts and “travel agents“ acting as middlemen or ‘fixers‘ will inflate the price of tickets astronomically. Often it‘s hard to spot them because they‘ve set themselves up in official-looking offices with names very similar to the legitimate business. There‘s even a fake tourist bureau near Bangkok‘s airport where taxi drivers on commission deliver you. The bureau agent will say they‘ve never heard of your hotel, hinting it‘s a scam, but the real scam is the alternative accommodation where they send you – a less-than-adequate overpriced and poorly located establishment.

Are You Covered For Rip Offs?

If you are swindled, scammed, hustled or bustled out of your money – then sorry, we can‘t help you here. But say you cop a spatula in the face from an angry chef who wants you to pay $300 for his specialty rice, and you are injured. You are able to make a claim based on any medical costs you sustain.

If a crazy tuk-tuk driver carts you at warp speed to a gem shop, and you have a crash and get injured – you are able to make a claim.

If you get food poisoning from a shifty restaurant and fall violently ill you could potentially miss a flight or a pre-booked tour. If this is the case, contact your tour provider or airline to see if you can reschedule, or get a refund. If neither of these are possible (but most of the time they are), you can make a claim to be reimbursed for any deposit you may lose.

It basically works like this – we can‘t insure you for acts relating to your gullibility. But if you get preyed upon by dubious Thais and get hurt, you are able to claim.

Get a travel insurance quote for Thailand

You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.

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