Most Common Tourist Scams in Thailand You Should Avoid

The ‘Land of Smiles’, as Thailand is known, should be the on the wish list of all travellers and holidaymakers with its rich culture and beautiful island beaches and luxury resorts – at what most would consider dirt cheap prices. But beware, dirt cheap prices often masquerade as scams and present themselves out of nowhere to the inexperienced traveller. So, use this rough guide to common scams, keep your eyes open and you should conveniently avoid being scammed.


The Grand Palace is Closed

The Grand Palace is one of Thailand’s most popular attractions, and if you find it closed for a ‘special ceremony’, then a scam is probably underfoot. The person making the claim will either try to take you out of your way to another location of apparent interest (which it won’t be) and overcharge you for the ride, or an alternative place of interest where they’ll try and get you to purchase novelty gifts you don’t want, whether you planned on making the trip on foot or not.


Damaged Jet Ski or Motorbike

If you plan on visiting any of the exotic islands, it’s a lot of fun to hire a small motorbike to get yourself around and explore, or hire a jet ski and enjoy the open waters. Both of these share a similar scam because once you return the motorbike or jet ski, you are presented with a bill for damages, which you know for a fact you didn’t cause. Ensure that you take pictures of any dents and scratches before taking them out and don’t leave your passport as deposit under any circumstances.


Fake Money

One of the most common scams in Thailand is that of fake money. Get yourself familiar with the feel and look of the Baht currency to avoid being given fake notes as change and then not being able to exchange or spend them later on. Similarly, look out for receiving the wrong change. Most traders are honest but some will try to give the unsuspecting tourist change for a 500 when they in fact handed over a 1000.  Vendors also tend to prey on the elderly travellers, so keep your wits about you if you are 60+.


Broken Taximeter

In many cases, you will find that taxi drivers claim that the taximeter is broken. This allows the driver to charge whatever he wants even if the trip is short. So, either search for a taxi with a working meter, or familiarise yourself with the rough costs of travel and negotiate with the driver for a reasonable fare.


Gem Scam

Avoid buying what you don’t want. Worthless gems are often plied to tourists as genuine. The safe bet is that any gems being offered are worthless. Furthermore, you may find your hand suddenly in someone else’s, and your hand will suddenly contain bird seed, or a bracelet is on your wrist. You can’t give these back without spillage or breakage so will have to pay. So don’t take anyone’s hand.


Keeping in mind all these tips should help you avoid potential scammers. So, go now and enjoy paradise in Thailand!


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