For hundreds of years, gold in Thailand has been used for jewelry, utensils and religious amulets. In ancient times statues in many Buddhist temples were made of thick layers of gold. Wealthy nobles and merchants wore jewelry made of bracelets, chains and rings.
When Bangkok was built over 200 years ago, gold was more popular than ever. As the population grew and Bangkok flourished, small traders, mostly of Chinese descent, purchased chains or bracelets with any spare money to prevent bad times. If conditions became more difficult, they would exchange valuable chains for cash to continue the business. People who emigrated from the chaos to other parts of relatively peaceful Bangkok knew firsthand that a bar, not paper, was a real treasure.
Early precious metal traders in Bangkok were concentrated in Bangkok’s Yaovarat district, as well as the Silam area near the Chaofrai River. After visiting these two areas, you will still see several old two-story buildings, where the shops on the ground floor are painted bright red, lined with glass cabinets filled with yellow metal chains of all sizes. They also wear rings, bracelets, talismans and pins.
More well-known stores also carry ingots of various sizes – from half an ounce to kilogram pieces. Created stores are trustworthy. Tang To Kung and Hua Seng Heng are the two main yellow metal traders in Bangkok. These two giants have branches all over Bangkok and other provinces.
Today, these traders are really metal traders and brokers. They sell gold in jewelry format and in bars. They will also redeem them from their customers in both formats. If they buy from you, the transaction fee is small, at current prices about a hundred baht per half ounce. Half an ounce of yellow metal in Bangkok today is about twelve thousand five hundred baht. Thus, the transaction fee of one hundred baht is quite small if you trade ingots for cash.
For foreigners in Thailand one of the confusing aspects of the Thai bar is the measurement system. The weight unit of Thai gold is called the baht. One baht is about half an ounce or 15.16 grams. Even more confusing, the Thai paper currency is also called the baht. Thus one baht is about twelve thousand five hundred baht. This sounds confusing, but nonetheless true.
Gold in Bangkok has a high level, although slightly less than the standard international level of investment. The net ingot is 96.5%. On the contrary, Swiss ingots are 99.99% pure. Jewelry such as a wristwatch may be less clean to increase strength.
The price of the bar is set daily by the Thai Gold Traders Association. Almost all legal transactions are carried out in cash. You walk into a metal store, tell them how many baht a yellow piece you want, and pay in cash. By the way, most metal stores also accept credit cards.
With all the uncertainty in international markets, it may not be a bad idea to hide a few bars for a rainy day. It has stood the test of time as a stock of value. It will continue to be popular in Bangkok for a long time to come.