Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But did you know that you should be aware of some popular scams in Thailand before you plan a trip to this exotic country?
Thanks to its pristine white beaches, stunning landscapes, exotic islands, beautiful Buddhist temples, and spectacular wildlife, Thailand paints a perfect picture.
But remember that no rose is without thorns. There are some popular scams in Thailand that you should be aware of before planning a trip to the otherwise incredible country.
While I had done intensive research by reading the many experiences that tourists had to share, unfortunately, I also fell prey to a couple of them.
Popular Scams in Thailand
There are many popular scams in Thailand and here are the top seven.
1. The Grand Palace is closed
It is a common scam, where the tourist is informed by Tuk Tuk or taxi drivers, a local, or often a random stranger nearby the Palace, that the Grand Palace is closed because it is a National Holiday.
While you contemplate what you should be doing next, the TukTuk driver offers you a ride to a nearby temple such as Sitting Buddha/Lucky Buddha which is open only once a year (oh, you are so lucky!). Listen to them and you will end up in some gem or tailor shop.
2. Tuk-Tuk Scam
Now that you’ve ended up in a gem shop, you are coerced into buying something. The Tuk-Tuk drivers will insist that they get a meager commission out of it and that you are doing a big favor to them. But in reality, it would be his relative’s shop.
Something kind of this happened with us.
After the Grand Palace visit, we had decided to walk down to Wat Pho which is close by. However, the sun was in his unforgiving self and I couldn’t walk any further.
| Read a detailed post on the Temples in Bangkok
We were approached by a Tuk-Tuk driver who said he’ll drop us for just 10 Baht. We happily settled on the pretty looking rickshaw and then he started listing his demands; that he would take us to other temples in the vicinity for an additional 10 Baht provided we also go to a gem shop on the way.
Well, thank God I had read about this scam and we politely declined his offer. Well, his tone changed the next moment and said, “You start walking then”. Phew! That brings me to the next scam in Thailand.
3. Thai Gem Scam
You will be told that gems in Thailand are abundant and that you will get it at real cheap and wholesale prices; that you can sell it for a fortune in your home country.
They may even scare you trying to lure you into buying the gems for health reasons.
But trust your instincts.
4. Patpong Sex Show Scam
Walk at night through any Sois in Sukhumvit, you will be shown by Thai men or taxi drivers, a laminated list of Ping Pong shows – the Menu, where you get to see different acrobatic prowess which you dare to imagine.
Patpong is the red street in Thailand. While experiencing a Ping Pong show may mischievously be on your bucket list, beware of the scams that come with it.
You will be offered free shows for just 100 Baht for a drink and you will be led to some shady place. This turns into a nightmare as you’ll be asked to give a generous tip for some meek trick.
You’ll be given a bill of few thousands in the end and you’ll have no other go than paying them. Things could get violent here as the bouncers tower over you.
5. Watch Repair Shops in Pattaya
We were astounded to see a row of watch repair shops in Pattaya.
As fate would have it, the husband’s watch had to be repaired and we went into a small shop. God knows why we acted so stupid by not asking how much it would cost for the repair. The guy literally looted us. Thank God, at least he had put in some original Tissot parts, else I think my husband would’ve been heartbroken all the more.
Always remember to ask beforehand how much they would charge if you go for a watch repair. They could loot you!
6. Taxi Scams
Avoid taxis without meters or broken meters. Negotiate the price beforehand. Taxis at airports cost more than those that are outside.
| Here’s a detailed post on Bangkok- Where to stay- How to move around
7. Motorbike Taxis in Pattaya
If you take a bus from Bangkok to Pattaya, you will be dropped in a bus stand. There will only be motorbike taxis and you will be charged a couple of hundreds for getting to your hotel which could hardly be a few meters away. Make sure you’ve pickup arrangements by your hotel. There is no other way!
Also, never hand over your passport as collateral when renting a motorbike. Give a photocopy if they insist.
How to avoid getting scammed in Thailand
- Trust your instincts always.
- Do not act too touristy or inexperienced.
- Thai people are rather shy. So watch out for those who try to start a conversation with you.
- Thai people are not so fluent in English (most of them, except maybe the receptionist at my hotel in Bangkok! ). Be wary.
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Shilpa Garg says
Yeah, all tourist places are breeding grounds for such scams. Have heard that things can become really ugly and nasty in Thailand. Thanks for the heads up.
Shilpa Garg recently posted…ZZZ… #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z
Good post,=. My rules for travelling – see less places but stay in good hotels and use registred tours. While it’s nice to be adventurous it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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SHALINI BAISIWALA says
Oh my god. after all the joyous posts this one is like a bucket of cold water in your face Shalzz! How awful for peeps to behave like this? WHy dont they realise they will ruin their tourism which is what gives their economy the much needed boost!!
SHALINI BAISIWALA recently posted…[Z] Zen in the Glen |#atozchallenge 2017|
Yeah, wherever there’s tourism, there’s bound to be some scam or the other. Thank you so much for sharing this. Super useful and informative.
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Shrinidhi Hande says
Good list. I have a similar list for Bali . Unable to paste the link here…
Shrinidhi Hande recently posted…Dialogue In the dark-experience life without light!
Thank you, Srinidhi. I will check that on your blog!
David from travelscams.org says
Great article, thanks for the tips! Thailand is indeed a fascinating place to visit, but there are many crooks who target tourists here.
Do also be wary of the grand palace/place is closed scam, jet ski scam, tailor scam, gem scam, bar/cafe scam, sombondee seafood market scam, patpong sex show scam, tuk tuk scam, gang at hua lamphong train station scam and many more!
Anindya Sundar Basu says
very nice and helpful list I must say. Will remember these when I will travel to Thailand. Love the way your travel writing is also shaping up.
keerthi vydyula says
Thank God! Me and my friend did not face these during our trip! We planned before hand and first thing we did was take 2 thailand SIM’s, through out our trip we used those numbers and one of the postpaid sim had internet data available. And secondly, we researched about the mobile app’s which offer taxi services and installed one. We used taxi services only to reach airport or a bus stop, apart from that through out our trip we walked. Hell lot of pains because of that but it was an awesome experience! We opted to stay in hostels and there we meet few foreigners who advised us what not to do, their kind advise helped us a lot and we did not had any bad experiences. Yes! the Tuk-Tuk part…they always asked more than 100bhat! so we never could actually get into one 😀 (we were on tight budget and wanted to spend our money more on activities )
Wow! This one really caught my attention. However, I must say that I was lucky and I did not fall for any such scam. If fact, nothing like that happened to me at all! But this is surely a very helpful post! Great work! 🙂