IS CASH STILL KING IN BANKGOK?
During the trips I’ve taken to Bangkok, cash seemed to be “king” in Bangkok. Cash only at most (if not all) American fast food restaurants and at the BTS Skytrain. This is difficult as a tourist to adjust to as in the west, plastic (cards) are accepted nearly everywhere. Plus, when you’re a traveler, you don’t want to carry tons of cash to pay for your everyday transactions.
Although, Bangkok is considered to be in the more advanced development stages compared to other SE Asia capital cities, there is still improvement to be made. I tend to get agitated when at the BTS Skytrain for a number of reasons, but mainly because it is mandatory to have change. Let’s face it not every Millennial Traveller can be bothered to keep a heaping wad of cash in their wallet and it is not advisable to do so either.
This is one destination in which I always need to ensure that I take additional cash knowing that I can spend over 100 bhat per day on public transport. When you stay long-term that can really add up and you may find yourself spending that 1,000 bhat of cash on transport rather than on street food, for example. Cash on hand is a must here because you never realize how much it costs to travel until you are out exploring nearly daily.
With that said, there were maybe a couple of BTS stations I noticed (to my surprise) that did indeed have new machines that would accept…notes!? Yes, I could not believe it myself that finally I would not need to stand in line at the ticket office waiting ages for coins or to purchase my ticket direct. The irony of the newfound note-collecting ticket machines was that they were always “out of order.” Therefore, I can’t report how effective these machines were, but hopefully the bugs get fixed because the BTS stations definitely need to accept cash other than coins.
On the upside, credit/debit cards worked fine at supermarkets, movie theaters, and most other restaurants. But, there was normally a minimum required at certain restaurants which makes one think it is better to pay in cash after all. The debate is still open as to when these updates will be made to accommodate locals and travellers alike. As for Millennial Travellers, we certainly are “card people” and look forward to future updates to the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok in terms of ticket transactions.