It’s a common sight in Pattaya and elsewhere at all times of the day, a foreign man withdrawing some hard earned funds from the ATM to provide to his new lady friend. For the more frequent traveler We have a guide to opening a Thai bank account that will make storing and using your currency easier while in the Kingdom. Typically, Thai ATMs charge a 220 baht foreign card fee, on top of any fees that might be charged by your home country bank. For Americans a card like Chase or Charles Schwab with no fees is good, for Australians a card like Citibank debit and for UK visitors Barclays platinum have no foreign fees.
While this may not seem much, 220 baht is enough to buy a sit down meal in a restaurant, or a lady drink, or a couple of beers. So why give your hard earned money to the Thai banking system. If you open an account with Bangkok Bank, SCB, Kasikorn or one of the other banks with plentiful ATMs you can access money at your leisure, and can withdraw small sums at a time instead of having to make bulk withdrawals. In addition, if a ladyboy steals your card or you are robbed to pay for surgery, then having a Thai bank account will make the problem of no longer having your card easy to solve by going to the branch and getting a new one, not so easy if your home bank is 5000 miles away.
In addition, not having to exchange money saves the hassle of carrying your passport to the exchange all the time. Usually it is a pain in the butt traveling around comparing the rates at the money changers and in addition there are many scams involved. It is generally better to avoid it altogether and change your money at the Super Rich exchange in the basement at Suvarnabhumi. If you must insist on carrying money around remember that pickpocketing is a possibility especially if you are visibly intoxicated.