AskDefine | Define baht

Dictionary Definition

baht n : the basic unit of money in Thailand [syn: tical]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The official currency of Thailand, equal to 100 satang.

Extensive Definition

"Tical" redirects here. For the Cambodian tical, see Cambodian tical. For the album, see Tical (album). The baht (, symbol ฿, ISO 4217 code THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang (). The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.


The currency was originally known as the tical; this name was used in the English language text on banknotes until 1925. However, the name baht was established as the Thai name by the 19th century. Both tical and baht were originally units of weight and coins were issued in both silver and gold denominated by their weight in baht and its fractions and multiples.
Until 1897, the baht was subdivided into 8 fuang (), each of 8 ath (). Other denominations in use were: The present decimal system, in which 1 baht = 100 satang, was introduced by king Chulalongkorn in 1897. However, coins denominated in the old units were issued until 1910. One hangover from the pre-decimalization system: the 25 satang (¼ baht) is still colloquially called a salueng or salung (). It is occasionally used for amounts not exceeding 10 salueng or 2.50 baht. A 25-satang coin is also sometimes called salueng coin (, pronounced '').
Until November 27, 1902, the tical was fixed on a purely silver basis, with 15 grams of silver to the baht. This caused the value of the currency to vary relative to currencies on a gold standard. In 1857, the values of certain foreign silver coins were fixed in law, with the 1 baht = 0.6 Straits dollar and 5 baht = 7 Indian rupees. Before 1880 the exchange rate was fixed at eight baht per pound sterling, falling to ten to the pound during the 1880s.
In 1902, the government began to increase the value of the baht by following all increases in the value of silver against gold but not reducing it when the silver price fell. Beginning at 21.75 baht = 1 British pound, the currency rose in value until, in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound was established of 13 baht = 1 pound. This was revised to 12 baht in 1919 and then, after a period of instability, to 11 baht in 1923. During the Second World War, the baht was fixed at a value of 1 Japanese yen.
From 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U.S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht = 1 dollar and at 20 baht = 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1984 until July 2, 1997, when the country was stung by the Asian financial crisis. The baht was floated and halved in value, reaching its lowest rate of 56 to the dollar in January 1998. It has since risen to about 32 per dollar.


Before 1860, Thailand did not produce coins using modern methods. Instead, a so-called "bullet" coinage was used, consisting of bars of metal, thicker in the middle, bent round to form a complete circle on which identifying marks were stamped. Denominations issued included , , , , ⅛, ½, 1, 1½, 2, 2½, 4, 4½, 8, 10, 20, 40, and 80 baht in silver and , , ⅛, ½, 1, 1½, 2, and 4 baht in gold. Between 1858 and 1860, foreign trade coins were also stamped by the government for use in Thailand.
In 1860, modern style coins were introduced. These were silver 1 sik, 1 fuang, 1 and 2 salung, 1, 2 and 4 baht, with the baht weighing 15.244 grams and the others weight related. Tin 1 solot and 1 att followed in 1862, with gold 2½, 4 and 8 baht introduced in 1863 and copper 2 and 4 att in 1865. Copper replaced tin in the 1 solot and 1 att in 1874, with copper 4 att introduced in 1876. The last gold coins were struck in 1895.
In 1897, the first coins denominated in satang were introduced, cupro-nickel 2½, 5, 10 and 20 satang. However, 1 solot, 1 and 2 att coins were struck until 1905 and 1 fuang coins were struck until 1910. In 1908, holed 1, 5 and 10 satang coins were introduced, with the 1 satang in bronze and the 5 and 10 satang in nickel. The 1 and 2 salung were replaced by 25 and 50 satang coins in 1915. In 1937, holed, bronze ½ satang were issued.
In 1941, a series of silver coins was introduced in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 satang, due to a shortage of nickel caused by WWII. The next year, tin coins were introduced for 1, 5 and 10 satang, followed by 20 satang in 1945 and 25 and 50 satang in 1946. In 1950, aluminium-bronze 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang were introduced whilst, in 1957, bronze 5 and 10 satang were issued, along with 1 baht coins struck in an unusual alloy of copper, nickel, silver and zinc. It should be notes that several Thai coins were issued for many years without changing the date. These include the tin 1942 1 satang and the 1950 5 and 10 satang, struck until 1973, the tin 1946 25 satang struck until 1964, the tin 50 satang struck until 1957, and the aluminium bronze 1957 5, 10, 25 and 50 satang struck until the 1970s. Cupro-nickel 1 baht coins were introduced in 1962 and struck without date change until 1982.
In 1972, cupro-nickel 5 baht coins were introduced, switching to cupro-nickel-clad copper in 1977. Between 1986 and 1988, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of aluminium 1, 5 and 10 satang, aluminium-bronze 25 and 50 satang, cupro-nickel 1 baht, cupro-nickel-clad-copper 5 baht and bimetallic 10 baht. Cupro-nickel-clad-steel 2 baht were introduced in 2005.


  1. The 1, 5 and 10 satang are very rarely seen in circulation . Even though the satang-denominated coins are legal tender, small shops usually don't accept them anymore.
  2. Older coins, some of which are still in circulation, only had Thai numerals, but newer designs also have Arabic numerals.
  3. The standard-issue 10-baht coin has, at the 12 o'clock position on the reverse, raised dots corresponding to Braille cell dot 1 and dots 2-4-5, which correspond to the number 10.
  4. 10-baht coins are very similar to 2–euro coins in size, shape and weight, and are likewise bi-metallic. Vending machines not equipped with up-to-date coin detectors might therefore accept them as €2 coins.
  5. Many commemorative 10-baht coins have been made for special events.


In 1851, the government issued notes for ⅛, ¼, ⅜, ½ and 1 tical, followed by 3, 4, 6 and 10 tamlung in 1853. After 1857, notes for 20 and 40 ticals were issued, also bearing their values in Straits dollars and Indian rupees. Undated notes were also issued before 1868 for 5, 7, 8, 12 and 15 tamlung, and 1 chang. 1 att notes were issued in 1874.
In 1892, the Treasury issued notes for 1, 5, 10, 40, 80, 100, 400 and 800 ticals, called baht in the Thai text. On September 19, 1902, the government introduced notes for 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 ticals, with 1 and 50 ticals notes following in 1918. In 1925, notes were issued with the denomination baht used in the English text, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 100 and 1000 baht.
In 1942, the Bank of Thailand as founded and took over responsibility for the issuance of paper money. 50 baht notes were briefly reintroduced in 1945, with 50 satang notes issued in 1946. The 1 baht note was replaced by a coin in 1957 and the 5 baht was replaced in 1972. 50 baht note were again reintroduced in 1985, with the 10 baht note replaced by a coin in 1988.
It is considered rude to put baht banknotes in a wallet that sits in the back pocket, as this allows someone to sit on the image of the King, which is considered highly disrespectful. Similarly, stepping on a baht banknote (or coin) is considered disrespectful. Some shops in Thailand, especially in rural areas, display low-denomination banknotes in front of the shop, both as a charm for wealth and out of respect for the King.
In addition to the Bank Notes currently in circulation (above) numerous commemorative notes have been issued:
  • 60 baht - 1987 - H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th birthday
  • 50 baht - 1990 - Princess Mother Srinagarindra's 90th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 50 baht notes)
  • 500 baht - 1990 - Princess Mother Srinagarindra's 90th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 500 baht notes)
  • 1000 baht - 1992 - HM Sirikit's 60th birthday (commemorative text added to regular 1000 baht notes)
  • 10 baht - 1996 - 120th anniversary of the ministry of finance (commemorative text added to regular 10 baht notes)
  • 50 baht - 1996 - H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne
  • 500 baht - 1996 - H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej's 50th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne
  • 1000 baht - 1999 - H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej's 72nd birthday (a different emblem)
  • 50 baht - 2000 - Wedding Anniversary Commemorative
  • 500,000 baht - 2000 - Identical previous, except denomination
  • 100 baht - 2002 - 100th anniversary of Thai Currency
  • 100 baht - 2004 - H.M. Sirikit's 72nd Birthday
  • 60 baht - 2006 - H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej's 60th Anniversary of Accession to the Throne

Unit of mass

The baht is also a unit of weight for gold, commonly used by jewellers and goldsmiths in Thailand. One baht = 15.244 grams. Since the standard purity of Thai gold is 96.5%, the actual gold content in one baht is 15.244 × 0.965 = 14.71046 grams, or about 0.4729523 troy ounce. 15.244 grams is used for "raw" gold or bullion; in the case of jewellery, 1 baht should be more than 15.16 grams.

Exchange rates

There was no significant difference between offshore rate and onshore rates until they were introduced by Reserve Requirement on Short-Term Capital Inflows on December 19, 2006. Since then, the divergence has become marked, with the smaller offshore rates being up to 10% or more higher than large turnover onshore rate. It seems that ATM withdrawals get the onshore rate.

See also


  • Cecil Carter eds., The Kingdom of Siam 1904, reprint by The Siam Society 1988, ISBN 974-8298-13-2, Chapter X Currency and Banking

External links

baht in Arabic: بات
baht in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Бат
baht in Catalan: Baht
baht in Welsh: Baht
baht in Danish: Baht
baht in German: Baht
baht in Estonian: Baat
baht in Spanish: Baht
baht in French: Baht
baht in Galician: Baht
baht in Korean: 타이 밧
baht in Bishnupriya: থাই বাট
baht in Indonesian: Baht
baht in Italian: Baht thailandese
baht in Georgian: ბატი
baht in Hungarian: Thai bát
baht in Marathi: थाई बात
baht in Dutch: Baht
baht in Japanese: バーツ
baht in Norwegian: Thailandsk baht
baht in Polish: Bat (waluta)
baht in Portuguese: Baht (moeda)
baht in Russian: Тайский бат
baht in Finnish: Baht
baht in Swedish: Baht
baht in Thai: บาท (สกุลเงิน)
baht in Vietnamese: Baht Thái Lan
baht in Tajik: Баҳти Тай
baht in Ukrainian: Бат (валюта)
baht in Wu Chinese: 泰铢
baht in Chinese: 泰銖
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