If expatriates are accustomed to living in Thailand and know all the existing schemes, this may not be the case for the thousands of tourists each year. Some will remind you of memories and you will laugh, others will annoy you even with the distance … here are the 10 scams to avoid in Thailand! 😉
Tourists freshly arrived in Thailand, you decide to visit the famous Wat Pho, also known as the Sleeping Buddha. It is without counting on this stranger who approaches you on the way, and who explains to you that this temple is closed for prayer …
« Damn! »
Do not panic ! Another temple is exceptionally open today, and a tuk-tuk is waiting for you around the corner to get there. And then, after all, the Thai man is very nice to have warned you!
FALSE! This scam is very common in Thailand for temples or other attractions, especially to the Royal Palace of Bangkok. The temple you want to visit is certainly not closed, and the tuk-tuk in question will take the opportunity to stop at all the costume shops and other expensive jewelry on the way before arriving at a temple much less interesting than the one you had planned.
ADVICE? Follow your way, and go directly to the temple to see yourself if it’s closed. 😉
After a good evening in Khao San Road, you decide to take a tuk-tuk to get back to your hotel which is 10 minutes away … after all, nothing more typical! Once arrived, surprise! the driver asks you to pay 400 baht for the race, so about 10 euros.
« Well, still cheaper than in France, and it’s certainly a night rate! »
You agree to pay and you even give him a small tip of 50 baht so that he ends his night with a smile.
FALSE! Another victim of “the tuk-tuk mafia”! A normal taxi-meter would have certainly asked you 10 times cheaper. This scam is very common in the main tourist places in Thailand. Note that regardless of the distance, the number of people or the time of day, tuk-tuk remains the most expensive means of transport in the Kingdom!
ADVICE? Privilege taxis or buses, and exit out of tourist areas to pick them up. 200 meters of walking are enough to divide a price by 2!
After a day of walking in the bustling streets of the capital, you only have one desire: take a taxi back to your hotel and enjoy the pool. A driver stops at your level, and informs you that his meter is broken.
« Well, not a big deal, as long as the car isn’t! »
You settle in, take the road and try to talk with your new friend. Once arrived at your hotel, the driver claims 300 baht for the trip. Having no idea of the usual fare, you pay without complaining and wish the driver a good day.
FALSE! An honest taxi-meter would have cost you 10 times less than this one. Many taxi drivers claim that their meter is broken, or simply refuse to use it with tourists in order to make them pay an excessively high price.
ADVICE? Insist that the taxi driver sets the meter and if he refuses, do not hesitate to look for another one. You can also use the Grab mobile app, which works like Uber for your trips.
You have just eaten a hearty Pad Thai after spending hours skimming the Chatuchak market and you pick a motorcycle taxi to get back to your hotel and digest calmly. After a 20 minute drive, the driver suddenly stops and looks at you sadly, mumbling a “do not know, do not know” …
« It can happen to anyone … I am going to take another one. »
One of his colleagues magically comes behind to relay his friend. Unfortunately, you have to pay for your first driver’s race … 300 baht for a 20-minute drive that took you away from your destination. WELL … the poor guy didn’t know your neighborhood well after all.
FALSE! There are two options here. 1. The driver knew the way perfectly but got lost or took longer routes voluntarily to pass on to his buddy and steal your money. 2. The poor really did not know where your hotel was, did not dare to admit it and prayed for 20 minutes that a virtual Google Map appear in front of his face … then resigned himself. Option 2 is often the right one!
ADVICE? Keep a close eye on your Google Map. If you do not have internet, there are offline maps to upload, or special applications such as Maps.me. Some Thai notions for directions are also very useful. 😉
13 hours of flight later, you arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport and you decide to take a taxi to go to your hotel. A Thai driver stops you at the exit gate of international flights, and offers his services for the modest sum of 500 baht.
« Great, taxis are really not hard to find! »
You agree without asking any questions. The driver takes you to the airport lift and takes you to the car parks located on floor -3. 30 minutes later, you finally arrive at your hotel. You give his 500 baht to the driver, with a supplement of 100 baht for his tip because “it probably does not represent so many euros than that”.
FALSE! The same trip with a recognized driver would have cost you 10 times less. Taxi drivers waiting at the airport are not official. They sniff patiently international tourists who know nothing about Thailand to make them pay for their race at excessive prices.
ADVICE? Ignore the drivers who walk into the airport and get off to have an official taxi-meter. Also note that there is an Airport Link within the airport that takes you to Bangkok for around 40 to 100 baht – so 1 to 2.50 €.
Your stomach screams famine, it is 10am and you are too tired to venture too far. Fortunately for you, a 7/11 is in front of your hotel. Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese in hand, you pay 30 baht at the checkout with a 50 baht banknote. The cashier gives you a few coins and a beautiful smile.
« Kop khun khrap ! »
Proud to have picked up a few words in Thai with a rather successful accent, you go back to your room. This is where you realize that the nice cashier forgot to give you 10 baht. Well, she was nice, and you’re not very good at math yourself.
FALSE! Well, for once, she probably did not do it on purpose. Let us plead the cause of all those cashiers of 7/11 who are simply void in mental calculation. On the other hand, this is certainly not the case for sellers in the markets. Watch out for those professional hustlers who put on their best smile and give you 20 baht less.
ADVICE? Simply a quick check when the cashier or merchant gives you back your money will prevent any such problem.
You walk quietly in the famous Soi Nana of Bangkok, when a pretty young Thai girl takes your arm and offers you to go for a drink. So you spend the evening with her, and decide to see her again.
« I think she really likes me. »
Restaurants, bars, nightclubs … you have a truly amazing stay in a charming company. Only problem, your new girlfriend never pays anything and even asks you for money for no reason at all. You do not refuse, after all, you are a true gentleman.
FALSE! Love and sex are extremely popular scams in Thailand. Many girls are targeting tourists and other international expats as they represent financial security for themselves and their families. It happens very often that a girl has several “boyfriends” at the same time in order to have more money. Feelings are very rare here.
ADVICE? Just go away.
The evening is approaching and you decide to spend some shopping at Bangkok’s Ratchada Night Market. A booth filled with sneakers attracts your attention. In the midst of Gucci and other Nike, you find the pair of Adidas Superstar you’ve been dreaming of in secret for months. You ask the seller if they are true.
« Same same. »
You take that for a yes, and decide to buy them for 800 baht, or about 20 €. It’s really cheap, but hey, you’re in Thailand after all!
FALSE! No, finding Adidas Superstar at 20 €, it is not possible! These are counterfeits, very successful indeed, but counterfeits all the same. Beware of “same same” that often hide a “… but different”.
ADVICE? The products on the markets are for 90% of the cases counterfeits. For authentic items, go to major shopping centers. Note that prices will be closer to those in your home country.
You have arrived at the second leg of your trip: Phuket. In order to be completely free of your movements, you decide to rent a scooter for the day in a kind of small shop next to your hotel. In exchange for 150 baht and your passport as a deposit, the seller gives you your new car.
« GREAT, adventure here I come! »
You come back at the end of the day to make your scooter. The seller looks at the machine with a puzzled look, and points to a scratch that, according to him, was not there before. He orders you to pay 2000 baht of damages, and will only return your passport once you have done so. Not being able to leave without your precious, you are forced to pay.
FALSE! The scratch was definitely there before you even got to this shop. The seller had already planned his trick when he asked you to keep your passport as a deposit.
ADVICE? Never give your passport as a deposit, but rather plan a photocopy of it. To avoid any problem of accusation, take pictures of the scooter from all angles before going on an adventure with.
You enjoy a stroll along Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road to smoke a cigarette. You notice the police officer who was at the corner of the street 5 minutes ago walking slowly behind you, but you do not pay any more attention. Once the cigarette is finished, you throw the butt on the floor.
« Sir, stop ! »
The police officer shouts you to stop, and to come with him. He informs you that it is forbidden to throw his cigarette butt in the street in Thailand, and you have to pay 2,000 baht, about 50 €, for a fine. You can not really protest, and pay the agent.
FALSE! It is strictly forbidden to throw cigarette butts on the ground in Thailand, or you will have a fine of 2000 baht. As great as this law is, the scam here is the police officer who follows you as your shadow once he spots you smoking in the street, just for the sake of giving you a fine.
ADVICE? Never throw your cigarette butt on the floor.