Money matters are made simple when visiting Thailand, and Krabi in particular. You should seldom have problems withdrawing Thai baht while in Krabi province, and there are numerous exchange bureaux and ATMs in Krabi Town, Ao Nang, and on Phi Phi and Lanta islands.
Even when you arrive at the airport, you’ll find a well developed banking infrastructure with currency exchange and cashpoint machines on hand for instant cash, 24 hours a day. The exchange rates are reasonable and the fees minimal. There is very little need these days for travellers checks, while debit card use is the most efficient means to get money while on holiday.
Drawing money out of ATMs is most recommended, since the commission rates are just 2 per cent, as well as a single 180 baht ($5) transaction fee, with rates set by the central bank. However, the default maximum amount per day that can be drawn is 20,000 baht – more than enough for a few days of fun. These are quite safe and fraud at these points is minimal. However, there are reports of some ATMs in Thailand being fitted with card scanning devices by fraudsters, so try and use those within banks or enclosed booths and pay attention to the machine you are using.
Exchange bureaux are found in all the major tourist areas and allow you to exchange cash, travellers cheques, or withdraw larger amounts using a credit/debit or electron card. They generally open late. The fee here is 3 per cent, and the exchange rates on cash and cheques slightly less favourable. Those attached to banks, such as in Ao Nang or Krabi Town, are most trusted for a good rate, while private currency exchange and hotels offer less favourable rates.
Thailand is a safe country and you can easily travel around with a wad of cash in your bag. In fact, this is often necessary since many businesses prefer cash or are unable to process a card payment, and even if they can they may insist on charging you the 3 per cent process fee. Hotels, good restaurants, travel agents and larger shops accept cards, but prefer using cash since credit card fraud is prevalent in Thailand.
There are ATMs and exchange bureaux on Phi Phi and Lanta islands, and even on Railay Beach. When buying everyday items, it’s best to keep smaller notes in your wallet (buy something from a 7-Eleven to break down thousand baht notes). As a general guide; 1 US$ is about 35 baht, a Euro gets you 40 baht and a British Pound buys you 50 baht.