Banking/Money/Cost Of Living In ThailandBy
“There’s a very sound reason the Tourism Authority of Thailand keeps around the description of Thailand as the ‘Land of Smiles.’ As you are encouraged to spend billfold after billfold in Thailand, the locals are smiling all the way to the bank.” Doug Knell, Doug’s Republic
What you will be encouraged to keep spending in Thailand is, of course, their national currency, the baht. The currency was originally named the tical. However, when foreign shoppers heard the name, they laughed. Tical sounded more like the name of a type of wood or stone than a currency worth spending. Thai authorities wanted to get people in a mindset to use, gamble, and tank their national currency. “How would people feel after they bought things with a trendy currency?” they asked. And there they had their answer. The currency would be called the baht as a testament to go out and buy. Most Thais preferred to spell the past tense of buy as ‘baht’ anyway as a more literal phonetic transcription. So Thais bought the baht name hook, line, and sinker in the nineteenth century, though the tical persisted as the official name in English on the bank notes up until 1925. At that point, Thai senior officials felt that enough beta-testing on the name had been done to prove the new name viable.
The royal-feeling baht comes in 5 different notes, each with a unique color, but all with the same young portrait of King Bhumibol. The 20B is green; 50B purple; 100B red; 500B purple; and the 1,000B note brown. There are beautiful coins to go with those kingly notes. As you cruise about the kingdom, you’ll be spending 1B, 2B, 5B, and 10B coins. The 1B and 2B coins used to look almost identical and plenty of consumers, including myself, were bilked by handing merchants 2B coins we thought were 1B. King and company cleaned up the act and altered the color of the 2B coins to gold to make them distinct.
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