A rather alarming story for someone like me who enjoys going to Thailand but hates carrying cash: some western tourists are being refused entry or even detained for not bringing sufficient hard currency along.
Thai Law requires tourists to arrive with a minimum of 10,000 Baht (~300USD) per person or 20,000 Baht per family (~600USD). I’ve never heard of that until I read this piece (warning: Daily Mail). You do not need actual Baht: the equivalent in your own currency will work.
In an effort to crack down on what Thai authorities call “begpacking” immigration agents are now more rigidly enforcing the minimum currency requirement. Begpacking is the act of backpackers (mostly from Europe and Australia) performing for cash (or outright begging) on the street.
During my last trip to Bangkok, I arrived with only about $20 cash in my wallet two crisp $100 bills I always keep for back-up in my suitcase. That would not have been enough had I been checked.
One German traveler reports that Thai authorities do not permit travelers to visit an ATM. That traveler was allegedly placed into a cockraoch-infested airport prison for 8hrs.
Be warned. Bring enough cash, out of an abundance of caution.
While I have not personally witnessed any “begpacking” in Thailand, I don’t fault Thai authorities to reacting to its proliferation by enforcing the law. Do yourself a favor and carry sufficient cash when you visit the Kingdom of Thailand to avoid any headaches.