Best Thailand Travel Scams
In our short time in Thailand, we have been lucky enough to encounter some of the best Thailand travel scams, so we though we would share them with you! The thing about getting scammed is – You always feel like an absolute idiot, and that it would have been SO EASY to avoid if you had only thought about it a little bit more. The thing about a scam artist is – They are professionals!! They have practiced and perfected their particular scam, so there is honestly no way of you knowing you are in it, until its been done, and you are left feeling like an absolute idiot!
So for anyone planning a trip to Thailand (or anywhere abroad) in the near future, here’s some of the best travel scams to watch out for – We may, or may not have been subject to each of them!
Price of Anything / Everything
Always pre-discuss price of anything before hand. If you are getting a taxi, or going on a day trip, or purchasing something or other. This is an easy one, but always pre-discuss the price before hand so you are not left with a big bill at the end!
Taxi Drivers – No Metres
A lot of Taxi drivers turn the metre off – So again pre-discussed price is best! You can often get a rough idea of how much a fare should cost from a local, or someone working where you are staying.
Tuk Tuk Drivers
Tuk Tuk’s are a popular way for tourists to get around in Thailand – Everyone wants at least one ride in a Tuk Tuk when visiting a Thai city or town. Watch out! Our very first ride in a tuk tuk ride in Bangkok and we ended up in completely the wrong place! We wanted to go to the ferry pier in Bangkok to get a 30 Baht ($1) ferry, but ended up being taken to the local pier, where we were offered canal rides for 3000 Baht ($120) and then when we said no, we wanted to go to the ferry pier, he said he would take us to “do some shopping” on the way at his friends markets. We got out, and walked! Beware of the rumour’s of the Tuk Tuk drivers saying the Grand Palace is closed – This is another common one to take you shopping! It is a common scam apparently for the Tuk Tuk’s to be payed commission for bringing tourists to certain shops or markets, or ending them up in completely wrong place!
We went to buy a train ticket a Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok and straight away were approached by a lady with an “official” looking name tag and jacket on asking us which train we wanted to get then attempting to write a ticket. She was quite convincing, but luckily we headed inside to the REAL ticket office to buy a REAL ticket – Since this happening, we have found out this is a famous group of scam artists, who will either take your money and give you a fake ticket, or tell you the train is booked out, and offer you other form of transport (taxi, bus etc who will then give them commission.)
Yes! We did get scammed by ladyboys. Walking past them they asked do we want a photo? Then proceeded to let us take their photo. Once done, they told us it was 100 Baht per ladyboy in the photo (there was at least 5). When opening our wallets, they ended up grabbing money out of our wallets saying “That will do” taking even MORE money than they were asking! If getting a photo of ANYONE make sure you pre-discuss how much the photo will cost!
Kids on the beach asking you to play thumb wars with them – Then charging you if you lose. These kids are brutally the best thumb wars players IN THE WORLD plus, it is hard to say no to a 5 year old. Quite convincing.
Damaged bike/ jetski/ car
This is a common one, when hiring a jet ski, scooter, or motorbike, the company telling you it is damaged when you return it, and charging a massive repair fee. If you refuse, threatening to get you arrested. Best way to avoid this is a) to not hire jet ski, scooter, or motorbikes b)don’t let them hold your passport, only ever give a photocopy c) inspect the vehicle and take photos of before taking it out for the day.
Overnight bus/ overnight trains
Plenty of luggage goes missing when catching an overnight bus/ or train, falling asleep and waking up to missing gear. We have been travelling with “bag locks” which have been amazing for locking up our luggage in overnight trips, (sleeping peacefully) or in any rooms and bungalows that might not have a safe.
Wrong Change Given
Yep! This is an easy one – This has happened to us~! Always check your change. We went out for the night only bringing exactly the amount of money we planned to spend. 1000 Baht, after the first drink realised we’ d been given change for 100 baht, and had less than $2 to get home~! A mistake? MAYBE or another common travel scam!
Then the general pickpockets. We luckily haven’t encountered any, and have felt generally quite safe everywhere we’ve been. But in the busy cities etc there are pickpockets around, so always keep your valuables somewhere safe – (like in a safe!) and don’t head out for the evening carrying too much cash, or anything you don’t want to lose (i.e. passports etc)
There’s plenty of scam artists in every country, and I’m sure many tricks to the trade. Its all a bit of fun, feeling like a fool – But know you are just dealing with scam artists at their best, who have practiced and perfected their lovely little ways. It really just adds to any authentic adventure in the end! You have kindly (even though unwillingly) helped someone go home and feed their family.