Thailand Scams in Thailand , This article reviews the top Thailand scams and most common frauds in Thailand, to inform and warn you in advance. The heads-up will hopefully help you avoid these tourist scams, save a considerable amount of money and precious time, and most importantly – enjoy your trip throughout.
- Thailand scams : The Grand Palace/Wat Po is Closed Scam– This scam can happen near other tourist attraction but it mostly happens a lot outside the Grand Palace and Wat Po. As you approach these sites by foot, a local will tell you that the palace is closed for various reasons. At the same time, he will offer a Tuk-tuk parking nearby and offer you some alternative. The solution: Ignore him and keep walking towards your destination.
- Thailand scams : Pigeon-Food Scam – around the same area, at the square by the Grand Palace (Sanam Luang) there are many pigeons. A nice local will approach you with a bag of bird food and offer you to feed the pigeons. Once you’ll take the bag from his hands and feed the pigeons, you’ll find that it cost you 300 baht (its real worth is some 10 baht). The Solution: don’t be tempted to take the food bag from his hand, and if you want to feed the pigeons, ask for the price in advance.
- Thailand scams : Extra-Cheap/Free Tuk Tuk Ride Thailand Scam – for a ‘cheap’ price, the Tuk Tuk driver will get you to a place where he will get a nice commission while you will pay a lot of money – usually a gem or jewellery store, which leads us to the next scam. The Solution: don’t be tempted to take cheap rides, since they will ultimately cost you a lot of money.
- Thailand scams : Thai Gem Scam– If you are no expert on gems, I strongly urge you not to buy them, falsely thinking that you’ll get a lot of money from selling these gems upon returning to your home country. This common scam results in people losing a lot of money every day. Don’t be one of them.
- Thailand scams :Cheap Rides Scam – some famous sites like the Dream World and Siam Park pay decent amounts of money to a taxi driver who will get there, which is why he’d be willing to drive you for a very low price. Of course, it requires you to purchase full priced tickets once you get there!! So, if you already have the tickets (which you have purchased in advance at some agency), the driver will get nothing from the site, and he’ll be sure to find it out during the ride. If he realized you already have the tickets – he’ll take you back to your hotel, or in the worst case – kick you out of the taxi! The Solution: don’t count on the possibility that the driver won’t ask you in advance, because he will. If you’ll try to trick him, won’t tell him you already have the tickets, and he will learn about it only when you get to your destination – it might end very badly!! If you already have the tickets, tell the driver right away before entering the taxi and pay the regular cost for the drive (meter + toll fee if there is one).
- Thailand scams :Wrong Change Scam– I’ll begin by saying that I haven’t witnessed this scam, but I will hereby quote the website I’ve previously mentioned. A common scam at places like 7-Eleven and Family Mart in tourist areas, involves giving you less change than you should receive – as if you paid a 500 baht note when you gave a 1,000 baht note. The Solution: pay close attention to the bill you gave at the counter, and carefully check your change!
- Thailand scams :Jet Ski Scam– Many people in Pattaya, Ko Samui and Phuket are being scammed after renting jet skis. When you come back after your fun ride, they will point out damages you have allegedly caused, such as scratches and dents in the jet ski. Then, they will demand large sums of money. What they fail to mention is that a dozen other customers have already paid for those very same scratches. If you refuse to pay – you may find yourselves brutally assaulted and beaten. I do not mean to argue that this will happen anywhere and anytime you’ll rent a jet ski, but the chances are higher in the above-mentioned locations. By the way, this might also happen when renting motorcycles or cars from shady, unknown agencies. The Solution: simply refrain from renting jet skis in Pattaya, Ko Samui and Phuket. Another possible, yet partial solution, which won’t necessarily work in all cases, it to document the rented vehicle and take pictures of it from every angle and direction.
- Thailand scams : Patpong Sex Show Scam– Don’t believe the touts outside who invite you to watch a free sex show, where you’ll only have to pay 100 baht for a drink. You will end up paying a bill in the thousands. Stay clear, especially if you are alone as they can turn violent if you refuse to pay. The Solution: stay away from Patpong. As I wrote in my review of the place, it used to be nice, but with time, became a crime zone. Instead, if you are looking for similar entertainment, you can visit Soi Cowboy, which is far safer and much more pleasant.
- Thailand scams : Hualamphong Scam–Here too, I’ll begin by saying that I haven’t witnessed this scam, but I will hereby quote the website I’ve previously mentioned. Outside the train station you will meet people in uniform who will propose to help you book the train seats. They will take you to their nearby travel agency and pretend to call the train booking office. They will then say the train is full and your only way to travel is on one of their buses. The Solution: buy your tickets at the train station of from an agent you trust. As a rule, don’t trust or believe people who approach you on their own initiative and present all kinds of offers.
- Thailand scams : Airport Taxi Scam– Immediately upon your exit, official looking touts (some of them in uniform) will pretend to be meter taxi drivers. They will greet you and make all sorts of ride suggestions (including limousines and such) to downtown Bangkok and elsewhere. As the meter taxi outside will cost you less than half their price, simply ignore anyone who asks if you want a taxi. Follow the ‘Public Taxi’ signs and only there, take it. Your destination will be listed, and the reasonable price will be determined by meter+50 baht+ toll fee.
- Thailand scams : Blackjack Scam– Here too, I’ll begin by saying that I haven’t witnessed this scam, but I will hereby quote the website I’ve previously mentioned. This usually starts when someone asks you where you are from. If you say, New York, for instance, he will tell you that his sister plans to study or work there soon, and has a couple of questions. Then, he will take you to their house, where you’ll somehow end up playing blackjack. They will ask you to help them cheat someone, but don’t get tempted!! it is you who is being scammed. The Solution: the general rule is as follows: the Thai people are shy, and do not tend to initiate and engage in conversations with strangers. If a local person approaches you and makes a certain offer – in most cases, it’s a scam, and the best you can do is simply refuse.
- Thailand scams : Sick Buffalo Scam – this may not be a scam per say, but it’s a famous old story, which is usually told after the sick parents’ tales have worn out. The sick buffalo story is used mostly in 2 scenarios: 1. to receive money which will allegedly be used to properly treat a sick buffalo. 2. When you keep in touch with a Thai girl (with whom you casually hanged out for a couple of days) and she communicates with you (and 10 others) over the internet. You can arrive at Thailand when another one of her “friends” shows up and she will use the “sick buffalo” story to avoid meeting you, claiming that she must go to the village and take care of it.
- Thailand scams : Ladyboy Scam – a Pattaya trend, where you pick up a girl/ladyboy at the bar, for a fun night at a designated hotel room, and while you are ‘entertained’ on the bed, below it hides a ladyboy who empties your pockets and wallet. The Solution: make sure to check under the bed.
- Thailand scams : My Girlfriend is Pregnant Scam– Here too, I’ll begin by saying that I haven’t witnessed this scam, but I will hereby quote the website I’ve previously mentioned. your long distance ‘girlfriend’ (with whom you spent no more than a couple of nights) writes to tell you she is pregnant with your child. She either asks for your help in paying for the abortion, or for ‘much needed’ money to raise the baby. What she doesn’t tell you is that she already wrote to five other foreigners telling them the exact same story. The latest gimmick is a medicine circulating in Isaan, which swells the girls’ belly to make them look pregnant, in case you fly in to visit them. The Solution: an ultrasound examination.
An Important Note: if anyone comes across a scam that doesn’t appear on this list, you are more than welcome to update me (contact through the website), so I can add its detail.