One British pound is worth around 39.5 Thai baht right now. What a great time to be going back to the UK on holiday!
The comments sections of notable news sites and forums are full of people bemoaning the fate of tourists arriving here, as well as Thai exporters and those expats being ‘forced out’ of the country because of the exchange rate. However, I can’t wait to get back to England in two weeks time where I’ll have roughly 25% more in my pocket than when I traveled back in 2014.
Whilst there are those on pensions and salaries in USD / GBP / EUR etc who are struggling, it really is a fantastic time to get paid in baht.
Eat, drink and be merry!
My local pub back home sells proper beer for around £3.50. That means I’ll be paying around 140 baht a pint, just slightly more than happy hour prices here, and getting a much better drink.
I’ll be able to go into clothes stores, which I find are normally cheaper than Bangkok anyway, and get a few more items than I planned.
Those multi-packs of chocolate, biscuits and other snacks from the Pound Shops are now even better value than they were before.
It's visit the UK year for everyone!
Sure, I don’t have to pay for accommodation or transport whilst home which are probably the two biggest money drainers for tourist in the UK. Even so, with the large number of free to enter sites, and passes to attractions, it must be an attractive time for Thai people (and other expats working in Thailand) to visit the UK.
Personally, I’ll visit a couple of museums in London (free), take in a pre-season football match (£12) and enjoy the parks without worrying about costs. It’s a great time for Brits in Thailand, who are paid in baht, to go home for a trip!
Even trips to restaurants will be comparable to eating in Thailand. At a half decent place here in Thailand it’s pretty usual for me to spend around 300 baht a head for food and drinks. I’d guess it’s not too hard to get a main course and drink for the same price, or perhaps slightly more, in the UK.
Sure you could argue the 40 baht street food places aren’t available in the UK but I don’t go to those anyway. I’ll probably even cook a little at the family house too, with all those ingredients that you can’t get in Thailand and it’ll be pretty reasonable too. Certainly I’ve noticed my shopping bills creep up year on year in Thai supermarkets.
The mighty Baht
Talk of ‘manipulation’ of the baht is rife in the comments section of many news sites and forums. I’m not an economist so don’t really know the forces behind what’s going on. In the end, the situation is currently benefiting me so I’ll just smile when I transfer money over to the UK. In the future it might change and when it does, I guess the savings on this trip will be evened out.
I’m sure there are also plenty of teachers who are benefiting from the current exchange rate. The baht is the strongest performing ASEAN currency, this is obviously helping teachers from these countries who are based here and support family back home. Those teachers paying back student loans and other debts are also smiling at the moment with the current exchange rates.
Over a five year period the baht has gone from around 53 baht to 39.5 baht versus the pound. Sure there must be people who are feeling the pinch but hopefully they’ve planned for this and not just hoped the exchange rate would remain static.
If people are forced to leave the country because of this then it’s unfortunate but shows that, perhaps, they weren’t really in a financially secure position to come here in the first place.
The exchange rate conversations online might look all doom and gloom but there are times when it works in your favor. When it was 70 odd baht to the pound I’m sure people weren’t complaining that the baht was too weak when they were bringing money over from other countries.
You take the rough with the smooth. Right now is the time to make the most of your baht and use it to travel or move money abroad. Lets hope the baht gains a little more over the coming weeks before I travel back!
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