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Kyle C

Travelled to 18 countries / regions

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Currently living in Chiang Mai

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Asia > Thailand > Chiang Mai > Useful Info
Updated on Aug 10, 2018 Useful Info

How to pay for things in Chiang Mai

  • 3 main payment methods in CM:
  1. Cash remains king by far
  2. Credit card acceptance is mixed. Acceptance of credit cards other than Visa or Mastercard is almost non existent (AMEX or JCB is accepted in some rare occasions but don't count on it)
  3. Alipay or WeChat Pay mobile payments: most places that cater to tourists also accepts Alipay (and WeChat Pay to a lesser degree). Only Chinese tourists will be able to use this option as Alipay and WeChat Pay are not available to anyone without a Chinese bank account
  • In terms of getting cash, there are 2 ways to go about it:
  • 1- Bring foreign currency and exchange it:
  • This will be cheaper for you than using ATMs to get cash (because ATMs essentially has 3 fees with any withdrawal you do, see below)
  • Bring USD if possible as you get the best exchange rates with it compared to other currencies
  • The exchange shop at the airport arrival actually offers a decent rate. It's actually pretty similar to what you get in the city
  • 2- Use ATMs:
  • There are a lot of ATMs all over the city (especially in the Nimman area or the Old City, two areas tourists are concentrated), and you don't have to worry about not being able to get cash
  • Almost all ATMs are part of either the Plus, Maestro, or Cirrus networks, which means that your regular bank card from North America, Europe or Australia will almost certainly be able to withdraw money (can't speak for other areas). Just double check your card has one of these logos on it (Plus, Cirrus, Maestro)
  • Most ATMs charge a flat fee ranging from 200 baht to 240 baht ($6-7 USD) per transaction regardless of how much money you take out. But most ATMs also have a 20,000 baht withdrawal limit per transaction ($600USD). Krungsi branded ATMs are the only ones that have a limit of 30,000 baht ($900) from what I've seen.
  • There are 2 additional "hidden" ATMs fees that you need to consider: 1) whatever your own bank charges you for international withdrawal, usually ranging from $5-$10 per withdrawal depending on the bank but most waive this if you have certain types of account, and 2) the 3-4% disadvantage in currency exchange rates that these ATMs typically give you compared to the wholesale spot rate you see on Google
  • Here are some examples of the places that accepts Visa or Mastercard:
  • All the international chains (McDonald's, Starbucks, etc.)
  • Most hotels, local or international
  • Service apartment rent payment
  • Most of the non-food court shops and restaurants in malls
  • Boutiques in the Nimman area and Old City
  • All major supermarket chains (Tesco, Rimping, Tops, Big C)
  • Gas stations
  • Grab (the taxi hailing app equivalent to Uber used here)
  • More expensive massage places
  • 7/11 (but they have a 300-baht ~10USD minimum spend to use CC)
  • Most mid to upscale restaurants and cafes
  • Some examples of places where credit cards aren't accepted:
  • Non-Grab taxis and other local transportation methods (like those red mini buses)
  • Non-chain, locally-run convenience/corner stores
  • Cheaper restaurants and cafes