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Banking and ATMs
Opening a Bank Account

If you stay in Thailand for extended periods of time I would suggest opening a Thai bank account. I went for years without one but I should have opened one way sooner. One benefit is no ATM fees, so I can draw out smaller amounts at a time. With an overseas ATM  you tend to draw out more money at a time because the fees are the same if you draw out a thousand Baht or twenty thousand. It was not uncommon for me to carry 20,000B around with me just for that reason. Now days I  never have any more than 5,000B at a time. For me to get out 20,000 from an ATM using my home country ATM it would cost 200B from my bank and 150B from the Thai bank over the course of a year this can add up to about 8,000B.

The bank I bank with is Bangkok Bank. Firstly they opened my account with just my passport and my 30 day visa on arrival stamp inside it. It only took about 20 minutes from the time I walked through the front door, times will vary.  Secondly they have a branch in New York so it makes electronic transfers easy and cheap. I can transfer 25,000 dollars for a fee of just 3 dollars. They also have a branch office in London. You need to setup electronic transfers with your bank at home but when I did this it was fairly painless. You can also link your Pay Pal account to the New York or London Bangkok Bank. Last but not least, if you are a pensioner you can have your benefits directly deposited into your Bangkok Bank account.

To get started first get your account opened at any full service branch, the small branches in shopping malls are not full service branches. There is a full set of instructions for setting up the rest on the Bangkok Bank website.   http://www.bangkokbank.com/   

 
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Koh Larn
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