9 Scams to Watch out for in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most tourist friendly countries in the world and it has become very popular with Western travelers in the recent years.

The travelling is not excessively expensive; the culture is rich and colorful; the people are warm and welcoming and the shopping is excellent. However, there are always a few opportunists who are ready to take advantage of the tourists. So, if you are planning a Thailand tour, you should be aware of some of the common Thailand scams that you may face.

Some common  scams in Thailand to avoid:

Here are short descriptions of some of the most common scams in Thailand and how to avoid them.

Tuk tuk - Thailand1 It is recommended that you ride this vehicle at least once to get the essence of Bangkok. However, this also offers the opportunity of being scammed.

The tuk tuk driver may drive you very slowly and take you to gem stores or tailor shops where you will be showed every type of merchandise until you buy something just to get out. It wastes a lot of time.

It is not unheard of for tuk tuk drivers to take tourists to out of the way places and then demand a very high price for returning them to the city. It is best if you flag down a tuk tuk outside the tourist areas and negotiate the price beforehand.

2 Be prepared to face two tiered pricing if you are a western tourist in Thailand. You can engage in some lively haggling, but it is probable that you will still end up paying more than a local.

3 The gem scam is one of the most common Bangkok scams. Your tuk tuk driver takes you to a gem shop where you will be offered a beverage. Maybe the effect of this beverage or the persuasive powers of the shopkeeper makes you buy a “precious gem” which you soon find out, is not so precious after all.

Taxi Meter in Thailand4 Do not get into a taxi where the driver claims the meter is broken. This is definitely a scam and you will be charged an exorbitant amount of money.

Board the taxi and ask the driver to turn on the meter. If he says that the meter is broken, get out and catch hold of another taxi.

5 Tell your driver clearly what your destination is and what spots you wish to visit. A vague generalization will most likely land you in the famed red light district of Bangkok and you might be charged a very high rate to get back to your hotel.

6 Unfortunately, you may be fined by the Bangkok police as well, often for minor offences like smoking in public. This is prohibited by law but this is not commonly enforced. If you are caught, there is nothing to do but pay the fine. Hence the safe thing to do is not to light up.

7 Another scam that you may face is that your taxi driver tells you that the Grand Palace is closed and instead he “will take you to a few shops or temples” that he knows. Actually, the Grand Palace is practically never closed – even during the holidays.

8 A surprisingly effective Thailand scam is best described as the bird shit scam. Bird shit lands on you and suddenly, a friendly local arrives with a smile, a towel and offer of help. You will soon find your valuables missing as you accept his help.

9 If you are hiring a motorbike in Thailand, carry around a set of chain and locks as well as your passport. Someone in your rental company may “steal” the bike and make you pay for it. This has also happened to people renting cars from unscrupulous rental companies.

This does not mean that travelling in Thailand is fraught with danger. Just keep your eyes open and exercise solid common sense and you will have a wonderful trip.

For more tips and advice on doing it on your own in Bangkok you can download our small guide that is guaranteed to teach you a thing or two about Thailand so that you do not have to be caught up in one (or more) of the scams in Thailand.

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