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Big adventure for first time travellers

Travel Forums Asia Big adventure for first time travellers

1. Posted by TedNJennie (Budding Member 6 posts) 5y

Hi there! we are planning an 8 week trip through thailand, cambodia, vietnam and laos. Were in need of a lot of advice, and also have many questions to ask. Were starting in Bangkok and from there going across to siem reap and anghor, then down and around n allover! one of the first things we are having some trouble finding out is how much money should we get exchanged in the uk before we get to thailand, and how much maximum is it smart to have on you at any one time?

2. Posted by kichikacha (Respected Member 328 posts) 5y

Hello!

No point exchanging money beforehand. At bangkok airport, there are cash machines, so you can easily withdraw money.

I usually carry like two hundred US$ as a safety money and to have US$ to pay visas, etc. But I always withdraw cash locally - as it offers better exchange rates, even if I have to pay the fee. But for Laos and Cambodia - it makes sense to bring some extra.
Euro and GBP are less popular, however they still accept them at major cities, tourist spots.

In thailand, you use thai bhat, wirthdraw from ATM.
In cambodia they widely accept US$ even in the smallest shops and return change in local currency. Just make sure you have small notes, as they may have difficulty accepting a 20 dollar note. Cambodia has few ATMs only, in Siam Reap and Phnom Penh, especially for Visa (MasterCard a bit less accepted, but still possible). So, better to stock up on US$ to use that for Cambodia. You can also exchange thai bhat at bigger and border towns.
In Laos, beside capital city Vientien - it is difficult to find ATMs. Even if you do, they may be out of service or allow you to withdraw only small amounts. So, better to get thai bhat and exchange it in a big city along the border. Inland, they will not be able to accept thai bhat. However, US$ is more accepted, but still get it exchanged at a bigger place, later you may have difficulties.
Vietnam, malaysia, etc are easy, like thailand. Before you leave Vietnam, should you have some local money left, you can exchange it to foreign ccy only on the black market. I.e. in a gold/jewelery shope. But make sure, you agreed on the exchange rate and check every banknote at least twice before you accept them. They may try to rip you off and give you fake notes.
I haven't been to burma - but i guess same thing would apply as in Laos. Bring US$.

Good luck on your journey!

3. Posted by TedNJennie (Budding Member 6 posts) 5y

Thanks very much for some detailed information you have lifted a bit of stress from Jenns shoulders lol.

:) thanks very much

4. Posted by kichikacha (Respected Member 328 posts) 5y

Hi there again,

You can check out the exchange rates: xe.com/full

When you arrive at the airport in bangkok, don't listen to anyone approaching you. You go out of the terminal and there will be buses that will take you to downtown. It costs about 160-200 bhats. If you want to take taxi, the charge should be bhat 400 per car, so you can even join some other travellers to share it. Make sure you agree on price, including highway toll. You get a ticket, and don't hand it over to the taxi driver as long as you haven't reached your destination. If the driver asks for more money at the end, just be firm and decline it.
You have already overpaid anyway...

Tourists spots and transit routes in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam are full of scams. Read fco.gov.uk, wikitravel for details. Don 't ever accept any offer from any strangers, no matter how gentle, well dressed and official they look. Never accept invitations. And don't take tuk-tuk in Bangkok. They will say you pay only small money, the place is closed, the bus/train is not running or full, etc - just be firm and reject it gently.

Visas: Cambodian custom officers are very corrupt, so arrange via beforehand at home or in bangkok. Laos visa can be picked up at border but make sure you have US$ to pay visa fee, otherwise you will pay much more. Vietnam: use agents in siam reap, phnom penh to get your visa. Easy, a lot of agents will advertise it.

It is very easy to get ripped off and become victim of a scam. So, just always be alert and suspicious. Otherwise, locals are very friendly. Save that for vietnam, where you can meet more annoying dudes.

Also, bus rides and taking a stroll in saigon or hanoi can be a bit scary.

But, don't be discouraged by this, it will be just part of the adventure. :)

Have a safe trip.

5. Posted by lequan (Budding Member 7 posts) 5y

Hey!

My name is Le'quan I just made a new thread not long ago, Im going backpacking in thailand in novemeber, will you be there then ?

6. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1656 posts) 5y

Quoting TedNJennie

Hi there! we are planning an 8 week trip through thailand, cambodia, vietnam and laos. Were in need of a lot of advice, and also have many questions to ask. Were starting in Bangkok and from there going across to siem reap and anghor, then down and around n allover! one of the first things we are having some trouble finding out is how much money should we get exchanged in the uk before we get to thailand, and how much maximum is it smart to have on you at any one time?

Yeah, wait until you get to Thailand to convert your money over to Thai baht because you will get a better rate there than your country. Banks available at the airport 24 hours a day. No problem converting UK pounds to Thai baht. Only bring currency that is not old and ratty looking, newer series and without writing or other stray marks on them Bring the largest denominations of UK pounds to cut down on a huge pile of low value notes.

If you intend to use an ATM in Thailand keep in mind that there is a 150 baht surcharge per ATM withdrawal. This is on top of your normal ATM bank charges. You don't want to make a lot of small withdrawals with big fees. Notify your bank that you will be using their cards overseas before you leave home or your withdrawal may be denied. Thailand is the best country in that area for cashing travelers checks! Some credit unions and savings banks sell them to their members without charge. The fee to cash a travelers check is only 33 baht! Only bring the largest denomination travelers checks for Thailand so you don't pay 33 baht for low value checks.

I prefer to leave valuables in the safety box at the hotel and only keep enough cash on me to see me a day or two of shopping. But I don't use dorms or places without air. (With air conditioning you can keep the windows locked and and also lessen street noises. Windows shut means no mosquitoes too!)

When I went to Cambodia I flew to Phnom Penh first and took the boat up to Siem Reap where Angkor Wat is. There are buses available from Phnom Penh too! Don't leave Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with their currency because once you leave those countries no one wants that money!

From Suvarnabhumi Airport there is excellent transportation available. There is even a new Airport Rail Link too! But if you arrive after midnight there is only the Public Taxi (meter taxi) from the airport. In Bangkok city area a meter taxi, when you only use the meter, is cheaper than a tuk-tuk. The fare you pay for a ride in a meter taxi is for everyone in the taxi not per person. The meter starts at 35 baht.

If you need hotel recommendations also mention how much per night you want to spend on a room. This way you will get suggestions that will fit your budget. Young travelers to Bangkok often stay in Khao San Road area. Other travelers prefer the Siam or Sukhumvit Road area so they can also use the Skytrain and also be able to connect with the subway and new Rail Link.

Good luck.

7. Posted by marchel (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y

Hi,

Newbie Here, wants to say hello, i am scarlet from UK and interested in Internet Surfing, Forum Posting and Listening Music as i thought forum posting is one of the best way to enhance knowledge and grab new things.

I found this forum very interesting and valuable, it is really great to be a part of this forum.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

8. Posted by TedNJennie (Budding Member 6 posts) 5y

Quoting lequan

Hey!

My name is Le'quan I just made a new thread not long ago, Im going backpacking in thailand in novemeber, will you be there then ?

Im not too sure... we may well be! if you drop me a pm on here with your email ill be in touch :)

And thanks for all that advice too kichikata and karazyel much appreciated :)