Some people, however, dislike this vigorous Thai capital after their very first visit due to the scams, tourist traps, boiling heat, traffic jam and pollution, etc. After our current trip back to Thailand, we decided to write down all the travel tips you must know to avoid the most common scams in Thailand and ensure a pleasant experience in this bustling country.
You’ve heard it – One of the most common scams in Thailand – the one that still exists after a decade and is still widespread. Even though countless pages have been written to keep naïve visitors away from this scam, some still fall for it eventually. It happened to us twice on our way to the Grand Palace.
A guy approached us with his friendly gesture, “Guys, don’t wear your backpack on the back and beware of pickpocket.” To make it even more impressive, he started with some small talks in our languages and ask if that was our first time in Bangkok or not. Knowing that we were on the way to the Grand Palace, he said “My friends, it’s already closed today. Come back tomorrow. But if you want, I can suggest some alternative locations: the Golden Mount temple and other temples nearby. 200 Baht per person only. Not far, not touristy, not expensive.”
And, from a middle of nowhere, a Tuk Tuk was pulled over in front of us. “You know Tuk Tuk? Iconic and beautiful. You see this police badge on the windshield? It belongs to the Government, meaning these drivers are trustworthy. And only 80 Bath for 2 people,” continued the guy.
Damn. We knew it. It was way too good and organized to be true. As we noticed, people like him talk really fast so you have no chance to interrupt. He took out a map and circled some spots for suggestions and acted like he would dispense all tips about the city for all people he meets on the street. Sound too nice?…Yes! It was so obvious that he was in collusion with the Tuk Tuk drivers to scam people, so when we smelled a rat, we said thanks and walked away.
When this scam happened again near the Grand Palace under another version, it really got on our nerves. One walked towards us saying that the place was closed for a special national event and pointed to the entrance where only Thai people can enter. He recommended some other options which sound really good (again!!!).
What happens if you believe and take his suggestions? According to people who reported these common scams in Thailand: you will end up visiting nearby small temples that you can actually walk to, gem or souvenir stores. They would bring your back to the Grand Palace at around 3 PM something when it is actually closed for the day. We were irritated and tired of that shit. We just frankly said No and moved on.
Recognize a scam:
One of the most common scams in Thailand that annoyed us so much were the taxi driver inasmuch as they always wanted to give a fixed rate instead of turning on the hardware meter. Oftentimes, they offered a price which is 3 to 4 times higher than the metered fare. They know that it is illegal but I guess they think they are the boss.
On a raining day or in rush hour, it is really hard to get a cab/tuk tuk. Drivers, especially on these occasions, know how to burn a hole in your pocket. Some drivers agree to go with meter but ask for >100 Baht more because “the traffic is bad, or you get off”. Some claim that the meter is broken, you then have to agree on the bloody awful price. Take it or leave it, up to you!
What you should do:
Wandering around Thailand on a scooter can be so much fun, but it is not recommended for a complete novice, especially in big cities. Riding a motorbike in Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, etc. is way easier; however, you should bear in mind that some common scams in Thailand can kick your ass anytime.
It commonly goes like this: when you bring back the rented scooter, you have to shell out thousands of cash for some hidden scratches or broken elements on the scooter that you don’t even make. Some other people reported that their rented bike was “stolen” by the owner who has the spare key. Luckily, this scam didn’t happen to us.
Our advice if you want to rent a scooter: