Thailand is a very beautiful country and everyone can find something interesting there. If you love mountains and wild life, the North Thailand has to offer to you beautiful forested mountains and villages like Chiang Mai or Pai, as well many places inhabited by old tribes. If you like beach and relax, Southern Thailand offers to you it’s beautiful islands like Koh Tao, Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and dozens more, where you can visit natural parks, dive and snorkel with amazing underwater fauna or simply relax on the beach. All this and it’s cheap life makes Thailand one of the most wanted places to go. Simply paradise.
However you must to know few things which you should to avoid if you don’t want to feel cheated and stupid…like I did.
Bangkok it’s one of the biggest cities in SE Asia, full of Temples, shopping malls, food markets etc. The easiest way to visit all of those places is simply to use a taxi. However if you are on budget or just want to see the real Bangkok, you should use local buses. For those who are opting to take a taxi you have to always ask before getting in, if they will use a meter otherwise you will have to pay double or triple price for your ride. For example to get from Siam center to Khao San Road they will ask you to pay 500THB (14$), with taxi meter you’ll pay…70THB(1,95$).
Long distance/Overnight bus scam
In SE Asia countries the most popular and cheapest way to move between cities is a bus ride. Unfortunately they can take sometimes up to twenty something or more hours, which converts many of them in overnight buses. During your travel you may heard some stories of being robbed during those rides. All of them are true and I have to admit that there is no way to avoid it, just keep all your valuable things with you inside the bus. Your big backpack will be all the night in the trunk, where one of the drivers will have access. He will have whole night to search all luggage up and down. Once I left few bucks in my vanity case which was almost at the bottom of my backpack. When I got to the hostel and opened my bag I realised that my clothes are really messy and remembered about the money I left there. I got really angry at myself for being so stupid. Luckily for me they didn’t take my Mac(I almost got a heart attack).
This happened to me two more times during my travel(one during the three hour day bus ride!), even though I knew about robbers and I didn’t leave any valuable stuff inside it was obvious that they went through all bag. Taking more expensive V.I.P buses won’t change anything believe me, they are everywhere.
Ping pong show touts
Who didn’t hear about ping pong shows in Thailand. When a friend took me to the Patpong Night Market area to show me around, I almost went to one but I really didn’t want to. Place was full of Ping pong show touts offering various shows for various prices. Many of them offer you a free show, but you have to know that there’s nothing for free especially in Thailand. Once you are inside to see you “free show” you will be obligated to at least buy one drink, which can cost you even 1500-3000 THB (40-80$)! If you refuse to buy a drink, be sure you will be asked by few big security guys to do it.
Motorbike/Jet ski rent scam
Asian countries allows us to rent motorbikes very easily and many times you don’t need to have driving licence neither driving experience. Scooters are very easy to drive and are cheap to rent. Before you rent any motorbike or jet ski, you will be asked to fill and sign renting form and leave your passport. Remember to always examine the jet ski or motorbike for any scratches, dents or potential damaged parts. The best thing is to take photos of those. In case you won’t do that the owner will claim that you have damaged the jet ski/motorbike and demand a substantial repair fee, which are very high. When you’ll refuse, there will be men in “uniform” who coincidentally passes by and threaten to arrest you (they can’t). If they demand payment from you and won’t give you back your passport, call the local tourist police at 1155. No worries they will help as they hate these tourist scammers.
Tourist office scam
That happened to me when I was the first time in Bangkok. Walking around Khao San Road and checking the map one local guy asked me where do I want to go. I said that just want to walk around and check some Temples, then he politely suggested me that I should use public Tuk Tuk- the one with Thai flag on it- as they are cheaper than the private ones. Sounded like a good advice, but surprise surprise, he then offers you a great deal in that he knows a taxi driver who can get you to your location for a minimal cost. The purpose of those guys is to take you around Bangkok to a few places/tailors shops/Temples, where finally you are obligated to buy things or souvenirs. They’ll ask you also to pay their gasoline and final stop will be a tourist office, where you can get some more info about things to do or places to go around the country. They will plan whole trip for you for “very special price”. However once you’ll accept it, later you will realise that you could do it much much cheaper.
I am absolutely sure that there is much more scams waiting for you. Those are which, unfortunately I experienced firsthand. From all the asian countries I have been I really and sadly have to admit that Thailand is the place with most scammers and thieves.
That’s why in few words I advise you to simply avoid anyone who wants to “help” you. Any friendly Thai who approaches you and asks you where you are going pretending to help you, will be finally a scammer or at least a part of well organised group.
Thanks for reading. Safe travels!