Travel and Money in Phuket
Phuket Business | Different options for carrying money on Phuket
Visitors travelling to Phuket are faced with a choice of travel money options from travellers cheques, travel cards, cash and debit and credit cards. All have their own merits and are better suited in different locations.
In general I would advise a mixture of two or three as follows:
Nothing beats having cash in your pocket but you don't want to carry more than you need as that starts to feel uncomfortable which is unnecessary these days. I prefer to travel with my regular currency in my pocket since all airports accept all major currencies and you generally receive a better exchange rate once you arrive in Thailand.
ATM Debit Card
My preferred choice for getting local currency. There are ATM cash points everywhere in Phuket, in addition to all the usual places you'd expect to find them like banks and shopping centres they are also outside 7/11 and Family Mart convenience stores, petrol stations, money exchangers and everywhere in-between.
You should make yourself aware of any charges your bank will impose on overseas withdrawals and at the same time you should inform them that you plan to use your card during your holiday in Phuket. Otherwise they may freeze your card if they didn't expect you to be using it from Thailand. Get the best exchange rates with your ATM debit card.
Great for payments like car rental hotel bills and even large purchase items although many stores do pass on the a 3-5% credit card charge. This is a charge that is normally paid for by the merchant although for some reason it's passed on to the customer. On the up side you may also be able to claim 7% VAT back at Phuket Airport when you return home with VAT Refund for Tourists.
YYou can also use credit cards to withdraw cash from an ATM however you should also remember that credit cards usually have a much higher interest rate on cash withdraws than on regular purchased items.
Handy for emergencies if you don't have a credit card and an ATM machine temporarily swallows your only card. It's also piece of mind to always know you have hands on access to money if needed.
These are relatively new and are currently being positioned to replace travellers cheques, they basically consist of a pre-paid card which you can top up over the phone or online. Different banks and companies offer different rates and restrictions. They do follow similar replacement guidelines as with traveller's cheques with the FREE replacement (but you pay delivery charges).
YThe preferred combinations of Cash, Debit Card and Credit Card will generally keep your money matters in hand during your stay on Phuket. For more tips for using ATMs in Phuket, see our conveniently titles Tips for using ATMs in Phuket article.
Last Updated: 18 Oct 2011