Tourist scams are plenty in Thailand, so knowing what these scams are would really help to avoid your holiday turning into a disaster. On top of that, it also saves you money.
According to TravelScams.org, there are not less than 33 common scams in Thailand which concern tourist. They are listed below.
- This place is closed – You are told that the place is closed and would be offered optional tours instead. Sometimes you are brought to a gate meant only for locals to prove its closed. An optional ride is offered as a replacement. These rides are part of the scam and it usually ends up with the tourist being brought to jewelry shops and pressured to buy overpriced items. Avoid by checking opening hours of tourist locations.
- Jet ski scam – You rent a jet-ski, but the renter claims its damaged upon return. They damage compensation. Avoid by renting only from license and reputable operators, or based on recommendations by your hotel.
- The gem scam – You are informed of a special celebration hence making the prices of gems to be too good to be true. Sometimes, accomplice to the scam also act as tourist to make it even more convincing. The gems are actually worthless. Avoid by knowing deals that are too good to be true must likely be a scam.
- Bird food scam – Happens near the Grand Palace. You will be handed a bag of seeds to feed the birds for free only to be charged at the end of the session. Avoid by firmly rejecting the offer.
- Bird release scam – Happens in Pattaya. You will be offered to free birds for good luck for free only to be charged after doing so. Avoid by firmly rejecting the offer.
- Sombondee Seafood Market scam – Happens in Bangkok. An imitation of the Sombondee Seafood Chain which is pricier and less tasty. Tuk tuk and taxi drivers get commissions to bring tourist. Avoid by doing better research on places to eat in Bangkok.
- Tailor scam – You are persuaded to make cloths like suits etc at ridiculously cheap prices and pay upfront. What you will get is a poorly quality clothing and not what is promised. Avoid by not paying upfront for any items.
- Scam tour agencies – Individuals will pose as representatives of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and offer you cheap tours, but you will likely end up at places for shopping, poor accommodation, and unexpected fees. Avoid by booking your tour with reputable tours at KLOOK instead.
- Massage tout scam – Happens in alleys of Sukhumvit. So called ‘agents’ offer you cheap massages, but ask for pre-payment before you get your massage. These agents leave after you pay. You end up not getting the massage as these agents aren’t affiliated to the massage shops. Avoid by not paying up-front. Massages are usually paid after its completed.
- Patpong sex show / ping pong show scam – Happens in Patpong. Here you will be approached by a Menu which list acts you can see. Once you agree, you will be led to a bar, and the show begins with tips being asked. If you try to leave early, you might be charged with a hefty bill.
- Bar / cafe scam – A local girl ask you to accompany her drinking at a particular bar. Once the bill comes, the bill is excessive. Avoid by suggesting other bars when approached by the girl.
- Extra bills scam – Happens in Pattaya. It happens because in Pattaya bills are put in buckets when you add a drink. The scam begins when you are distracted and ‘other’ bills are poured into your bucket. Avoid by paying for your drinks up-front.
- Spiked drinks – Drinks are spiked so that you pass out. Once you wake up, your valuables are gone. Avoid by being aware of your drinks and only open bottles/cans that are opened by your eyes.
- Pickpockets – They can work in groups and will use any method to distract you before striking. Avoid by keeping your valuables in your front pocket and clutching them when you are in crowds.
HOW TO AVOID ACTIVITY SCAMS?
While most tourist activity scams can be avoided by being extra careful, scams which involve tours and travel in Thailand maybe difficult to avoid if you are not prepared as these scammers can be very convincing. To avoid such scams, check for reputable tourist activities using KLOOK which is the best day tour platform in Asia.
- Tuk tuk scam – You are asked to pay exorbitant prices for a tuk tuk ride or led to a spot you do not wish to go.
- Airport security theft – Items in bags are stolen at the airport by workers
- The khlong scam – A friendly local recommends you take a boat ride by his friend. The ride stops in the middle of the river and you are forced to pay the ‘new oficial rates’ or be left stranded.
- Gang at Hua Lamphong train station scam – Official looking person claims your train is full. Recommends another ride for a fee, but payment is again demanded once you are on the ride.
- Taxi scam – Charges you for use of their trunk space, demands more money midway the ride, claims meter is broken, says he doesn’t have change.
- Motorbike scam – Similar to the Jet Ski scam. In some cases, they will send someone ‘to steal’ your bike and demand you pay for the loss.
- Overnight bus / train / private bus theft – Belongings are stolen while in the bus, or when you are sleeping. In some cases, your food and drinks may be spiked.
- Get off the bus scam – The bus attendant shouts to ask everyone to get off the bus as the bus is heading to a new bus station. When you disembark, a taxi driver offers to send you to your destination at inflated prices.
- Cambodia Thailand border crossing visa scam – Dishonest tuk tuk or taxi drivers bring you to what seems to be the ‘Cambodian Consulate’ which is fake (despite the presence of a huge sign that says so).
HOW TO AVOID TRANSPORT SCAMS?
Most transport scams can be avoided by being extra careful but renting your transport from reputable sites like RENTALCARS can not only ensure you are safe, but also save you money.
- Snatch thefts
- Bird shit / spilled liquid scam
- Corrupt police
- Fake police
- Timeshare scam
- Wrong change given scam
- Home gambling / cards / poker / blackjack scam
- Fake Baht scam
- Laundry scam
- Hotel scams