Anyone have any good stories to tell about the scams they have experienced or heard of?
Scams in Thailand: Generally in Thailand (as elsewhere in SE Asia) there's a locals price and a much higher Farang price. Is it a scam - no. Is it a rip-off - not really. It's just a matter of fact. think of it as an unofficial tourism tax levied directly by the Thai people.
Thinking you've paid more than you OUGHT to will leave you feeling ripped-off. A tourist trap restaurant where the rice costs as much as a whole meal on the street. A knock-off t-shirt you didn't haggle hard enough for. The tuk tuk ride which costs more than an air-conditioned taxi. The pushy Bangkok travel agent who loads you up with trips and accommodation you didn't want (and at a breath-taking mark up!) These are all rip-offs - but you'll never lose more than a few dollars.
But there are SCAMS where you risk losing a substantial amount of money. The Gem Scam: those underpriced gems will make you rich at home, right? Wrong, they're glass.
The time share real estate deal, could cost you thousands of dollars. Don't fall for it.
And the Grand Palace BIRD SEED scam won't lose you a lot of money, but it gets ugly and h=threatening. The bird seed vendors literally thrust the seed on you, and when you refuse to pay they bring in the heavies to threaten you. Just walk away, or call the Tourist police on 1155.
Richard Barrow is an excellent journalist who's lived in Bangkok for umpteen years and writes about Thailand life. he's written about the Top Ten Scams here:
And the NZ embassy in Thailand identifies the most common scams here:
Unfortunately you need to be wary of "friendly strangers" - which is a pity.
And unless you get caught in one of the big scams it's unlikely you'll lose more than a couple of dollars - don't let it ruin your enjoyment of a great country. almost 10 years ago
If you get a tuk-tuk near the Palace in BKK always agree a price first. If they tell you the Palace is closed today, they're lying. It closes at about 3pm everyday and is very rarely closed all day. If they tell you they'd like to take you on a tour of Bangkok, don't agree to it. They will most likely try to take you to tailor shops and jewelery shops because they get a commission for taking tourists in.
However, this doesn't mean never take a tuk-tuk, they're really great fun. Just make sure you agree a price first and if they try to take you somewhere you don't want to go just take another one.
Thailand's a pretty easy going and generally safe place to travel around... just use your common sense and you'll be fine. If in doubt, ask someone... people are friendly and willing to help. Don't be over cautious. The best adventures happen when you just go with the flow :-)
Have fun! almost 10 years ago
This is a bit more of an inconvenience, but there are some taxis that wait outside hotels, offer you a good fare, then will make up some excuse to "get petrol" or "drop something off" and take you to a jewler or clothes store. They will keep trying to take you to stores and make you feel guilty if you don't buy anything. Best just to get out (somewhere on the main street!) of the taxi and find a genuine one! almost 10 years ago
Of course, the obvious one is that your Rolex (or Lolex as I saw recently) that you only paid $20 is only going to be worth about $2 and isnt genuine! My friend thought she had got herself a huge bargain !!
I agree with Phil - you should pay the price that you are happy with but if you walk away and think you have been scammed then you probably have. There is definitely more than one price for anything so pick a price that you want to pay and stick to it, even if you end up walking away.
Agree about sorting out the price for the tuk-tuk in advance although I prefer to take a cab - less hassle and there is AC.
I have heard on KSR about accommodation that was not as promised and things that were included, suddenly were not. A little bit of investigation perhaps on websites such as this one, Lonely Planet Thorn Tree or just a simple google search would tell you which ones to avoid. A friend was told she was paying $5 for a delux room in a 4* hotel including breakfast - she got the room, but hadnt quite realised that she would be sharing the room with 5 others and her "bed" was a mattress on the floor.
And of course, if you visit a "club" be very aware that you are paying for everything at hugely inflated prices! almost 10 years ago