The lowdown on the Thai baht
The baht has been the official currency of Thailand since way back in 1897, although back then it was known in English as the tical – right up until 1925. In fact, when it was first around, the baht was a unit of silver and one baht was worth 15g.
One thing you need to know before you pick up your Thai baht: there are national laws regarding how you treat your notes and coins! In Thailand, you see, the King is an incredibly important figure and any disrespect towards him and his family is highly punishable – and this reaches to his image on currency too. The main things to remember are not to step on a coin with your foot if it’s rolling away, or the same with a note that’s flying away in the wind. Don’t burn or tear your notes (although that probably goes for every currency!), and certainly don’t throw money down in a disrespectful way.
A look back at US dollar to Thai baht rates
After WWII, the baht began to be pegged to the US dollar at a rate of 20.8 baht to one dollar, lasting from 1956 until 1973, and 20 baht to one dollar until 1978. The strengthening of the American economy meant that the baht was repegged at 25 to the dollar from 1984 up until 1997. When 1997 hit, Thailand was stung by the Asian Financial Crisis and was no longer pegged to the dollar. It lost half its value and fell to a value of just 56 baht to the dollar by January 1998.
The baht today
Over the last ten years, Thailand’s economy has remained relatively steady against the US dollar. The world financial crisis of 2008 saw the dollar fall against the baht, with the exchange rate changing from 29 THB to 1 USD in January of 2008 to 36 THB to 1 USD by March 2009. These days, the baht is ranked 10th in the world’s most used currencies, and as of June 2017, exchanges at a rate of 33.9 THB to 1 USD.