Conventional wisdom says it is always a bad idea to change money at an airport because most airport money exchange counters anywhere in the world offer the worst exchange rates for tourists. The premium charged by airport exchange counters varies between 8% and 13% over the inter-bank exchange rates. But to be precise, this kind of horrible rates are offered mostly at exchange counters located in the transit or departure areas of airports. I feel compelled to state an exception here after seeing the several exchange counters at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport that are located neither in the transit area nor the departure area of the airport. These counters are located at level B1 (basement) just next to the Airport Express Train ticket counters. While arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok, after you clear visa / immigration, collect your bags, pass through Customs and are heading for the airport train express or city line for going to Bangkok city, you will come to level B1.
Similarly, if you are leaving Bangkok and want to change your left over Thai Baht into another currency, it will be a good idea to come to level B1 before going to the check-in counters.
Also read: Best Money Exchange Rates in Bangkok
Arrival / Departure Time is Important
You will certainly get some extra Thai Baht in exchange for your money at the exchange counters at level B1 but you need to keep your time of arrival in mind. The exchange counters in the transit area are always open but those at level B1 will close at night. I will give exact timings a little later in this page. While arriving into Bangkok, let us assume it will not be possible for you to get to level B1 by 9.45pm, it will be good to exchange some your money into Thai Baht in the transit area for your immediate needs. Once you are out of the transit area, exchange rates almost anywhere in the city will be better than the transit area rates. In other words, either you change money at level B1 or in the city, you benefit from better exchange rates as compared to the transit area rates. While departing from Thailand, if you need to get rid of your left over THB, please read this article of mine to see where you can get the best exchange rates in Bangkok city.
Exchange Counters at level B1
During one of my visits there, I counted at least six exchange counters at level B1. My favourite Super Rich (Thailand) and the second favourite Super Rich (1965) were both there. Super Rich (Thailand) is the exchange company that offers the best exchange rates in Thailand. That was true even at their Suvarnabhumi (B1) exchange counter. As expected, Super Rich (1965) followed closely. Two types of exchange rates are displayed at these counters – Buy Rates and Sell Rates. For example, Super Rich (Thailand) displayed USD Buy Rate as 35.57 and USD Sell Rate as 35.65. This means that if you want to buy THB in exchange for USD, you will get 35.57 THB for every US Dollar. If you want to sell your left over THB, you will need to pay 35.65 THB for every US Dollar. The buy-sell spread between the rates at these exchange counters is really narrow and the the best exchange service for a customer is always the one that offers the minimum spread. Worst exchange services like those in the airport transit areas always keep the spread at the maximum. They charge highest premium while selling a currency to you but offer the lowest rate while buying a currency from you.
Thanks to these exchange counters at Suvarnabhumi level B1, if you are arriving or leaving at the right time, you can take advantage of the best possible exchange rates.
Level B1 Exchange Counter Open – Close Timings
Super Rich (Thailand) exchange counter at level B1 of Suvarnabhumi Airport opens everyday between 6.30am and 10.00pm and Super Rich (1965) counter opens everyday from 6.00am to 11.00pm. Apart from these two the other exchange counters are likely to observe similar timings. The several ATMs next to the exchange counters are, however, available 24/7. Also read: Best Money Exchange Rates in Bangkok / Pattaya / Chiang Mai