Thailand is home to a rich culture, old traditions, lush scenery, and unfortunately the most ingenious scams in the world. As a hot foreign spot, people have learned to trick mostly expats into giving them money in some form.
The main reason why scamming is rampant in the streets of Thailand is because of poverty. Majority of Thais live only on 300 baht or lower everyday. This leads to a number of people seeing scamming as a legitimate way of life. And because Thailand is a popular destination for tourists who don’t know the language nor the place, it is only logical that it’s mostly foreigners who fall for these tricks.
While we are not denouncing the beauty and the brilliance that is Thailand, it doesn’t hurt that you know the tricks so you don’t fall for them.
1. Short Change Scam
Simple and effective, the short change scam is common among marketplaces that tourists flock to such as restaurants, bars, and convenience stores. What they do is purposely give you short change. If you pay 1000 baht, they give you change as if you gave 500 baht. Sometimes they just conveniently forget a hundred baht or so. So always count your change!
2. Vehicle Renting Scam
Thailand is composed of cities and towns that are relatively easy to roam around in if you have a vehicle. So what most tourists do is rent a bike, a car, a boat, or any kind of vehicle.The scam happens when they return said transport. The local renter would blame the tourists for the dent, scratches, or damages that the vehicle has apparently acquired while in the tourist’s possession when the truth is that this damages have been there all along. To overcome this scam, makes sure to document how the vehicle’s status before renting it. Take pictures in different angles and whatnot.
3. Temple – Tuktuk – Jewelry Shop Scam
Imagine yourself walking toward your next tourist destination which is the famous Buddha temples. However, even before you get to the gates, you are approached by a tuktuk (local vehicles of Thailand) driver saying that the temple that you want to visit is in fact close because of a Buddhist holiday. As a foreigner, of course you want to believe the locals. So then they invite you to a marketplace for jewelry, gems, and silk. They then urge you to buy these exotic products saying that it is way cheaper sold there. They tell you that you can be a reseller in your home country. Thinking this as a smart idea, you buy. You are then ripped off with the truth being that such materials are overpriced.
4. Ping Pong Sex Show Scam
Something that Thailand is famous for is its red light district where anything can happen. One such event is the ping pong sex show in the country’s oldest red light district Patpong. The scam happens when the tourist is invited by local at a night market. That person then promises you of the most amazing ping pong show with cheap beers at 100 baht per bottle and a generally wild but affordable time. So you drink and become amazed. After the drinks and the high, you get your bill and be amazed once more. The alcohol you thought was priced at 100 baht was in fact costing you thousands. Now, you can’t do anything more but pay up or else face legal charges, or worse, violence.
5. Price Discrimination Scam
Going to a different country is a bit difficult because of the various fees that has to be paid. There’s fees for the visa, travel charges, accommodations, good food, etc. However, in Thailand you still have to bear another travelling burden: the price discrimination charges. Apparently, entrance fees for any attraction is more expensive if you’re foreigner. Just try to see a Muay Thai fight as a foreigner. Locals can watch for 180 baht but for expats, it’s a whopping 2000 baht.
Avoiding scams in Thailand is easy if you’re alert and cautious. Don’t be discouraged to experience the amazing country that is Thailand.