We all love to travel, for some of us it’s in our blood. There is a wanderlust that takes over and calls to us.
We dream of seeing far off distant lands while meeting new and interesting people.
But, no one wants to get scammed, we don’t want to get taken for a ride and fleeced of our money or belongings.
Yes, Thailand is relatively safe. Heck, it’s safer than some places in the United States. However, every place has its bad side. There is no perfect place you can go that’s nothing but sunshine and rainbows.
Thailand is no different. The vast majority of the people are incredibly warm and welcoming. They don’t call it the land of smiles for nothing.
Before you go there take a little time and learn as much of the language as you can. You’ll be absolutely amazed what a little effort in speaking to them in their native tongue will do. Even if you hack it up so bad you wonder if they can even get the gist of what you’re attempting to convey, they will greet you with smiles.
The locals really appreciate the effort and once you show you’re trying they will help you with your Thai, help you solve your problem, buy what you need or find the right directions.
The Thai people are awesome.
However, just like anywhere you have some bad apples. Most of the scams are physically harmless, they just want to get some money and see you as being rich.
99% of the Thai people would never scam you, but, there is always that one you have to watch out for.
The Top 10 Scams In Thailand And How To Avoid Them
- The Tuk Tuk Scam
Tuk tuk scams usually involve taking you on a tour where you’re told it will be all palaces and temples.
In reality you get taken to jewelry stores, tailors and other merchants he’s made commission deals with.
If you tell them no, that you don’t want to stop there, they give you a song and dance about how it will just be for a minute while he uses their phone to call home about his sick kid or another excuse to get you to go in there.
Once inside, they pressure you into buying something,
The best way to do this is not to go inside. Tell him that if he has a sick kid to give you your money back and you’ll find another tour driver so he can go be with his kid.
Never give them all of the money up front. Give them half up front. If they don’t like it find another driver. There are tons of them.
The other Tuk Tuk scam is taking you out to the edge of town and demanding a high price to bring you back. If this happens just tell him that you’re not getting out of his Tuk tuk until he brings you back and you’re not paying another dime.
- The Grand Palace Scam
When you go to the grand palace in Bangkok there are two gates for entrance. One is for foreign visitors and the other is for Thai residents only.
When you go up to the resident gate you’ll get denied entry by the guards who don’t tell you why, they just say go away.
You’re then approached by a guy who says that the grand palace is closed today until much later.
But, lucky for you there is a special tour going on today only and he has just the tuk tuk driver to take you there.
You then get taken to all the shops or to the outskirts of town as in the scam #1 mentioned above.
- The Spilled Product Scam
Here you’re just walking down the street and a lady bumps into you spilling here rice all over the ground.
She then asks you to pay for it and the price she wants is 10 to 20 times the real price she paid.
The way to avoid this is to know the local price of things and offer to pay her that price only.
You could tell her to take a hike, but she will be carrying on and wailing quite a bit.
She will have only spilled a kilo or so. In this case it’s better to give her the .60 cents and move on.
- The Taxi Scam
Here you go to get into a taxi and the driver informs you that the meter is broken.
He then says for you to just get in and that he’ll take you. Once there he asks for a super high price.
The way to avoid this is when they say the meter is broken just get out of the car.
They will always tell you ‘wait’. Then you negotiate a price in advance of how much the trip will cost and you can go or leave, it’s up to you.
- The Bird Poop or Mustard Scam
You’ll be approached by a friendly person offering to clean up something on your clothes (that they put there without you’re knowing they did).
While they are helping you clean up they and or their friends pick pocket you or steal stuff from your bags.
To avoid it, tell them NO when they offer help. If you do accept watch your stuff and put your bag around to the from to you.
- The Motor Bike Scam
You rent a bike, you have to give them your address and they come at night and take the bike.
When it’s time to return it, they make you pay for it.
The way to avoid this is to chain the bike up at night with keys you keep on you. Or park it inside a paid parking spot with security.
- The Jet Ski Scam
Everything looks fine, the jet ski looks great.
When you go out on the water the water-soluble paint they covered up all the scratches and dings with wears off and when you come back they show you that you damaged the just ski and they have the proof because they have your picture with it looking perfect.
The way to avoid this is to take a really wet rag and wipe down the front area of the jet ski very aggressively. If you see stuff coming off on your rag then you can walk away from the deal.
- The Baht Swap Scam
For the most part this is played out with 1,000 baht notes or higher. It just wouldn’t be worth it to them to do it for less.
You give them a note and they look at it very suspiciously and then go behind a partition or into the back room. They then come back with a fake baht note and hand it to you saying that this is fake and then tell you to be on your way.
There is almost nothing you can do. It would be very hard to prove anything and it’s their country.
The way to avoid this is to not let them leave with your money. Never let your money out of your sight.
If they insist, tell them no, collect your money and leave.
- The Empty Bar Drink Scam
You’re walking down the street and are invited into a bar. You go in and it’s now very populated at all and in many cases quite dimly lit.
A girl comes over and asks you to buy here a ‘lady drink’. You say sure, why not. Then her friend comes over and asks for the same thing. You agree. Then another and another start asking you all piling up on you rubbing you etc.
You aren’t even saying yes, but they are signaling the bartender that you are.
You’re then shocked when you get the bill.
The best way to avoid this is to only go into the popular places that are well lit and look legitimate.
- The Visa Problem Scam
The problem is, for a 30 day stay there is no visa required for U.S. citizens.
The way to avoid this is to ask to go to the police station and talk to their superiors about this. They will almost always back off, unless there really is a problem with your entry stamp or your passport has expired.
As mentioned above, the Thai people are wonderful, you’ll really like them. But, no matter what country you’re in, be sure to keep an eye out for the scammers.
Then, please realize that most people in any country are not like that. It’s just the few jerks that make everyone have to be on guard.