It is a scam! (Thailand)
October 15, 2019
It’s a scam
It is a scam! Thailand is not unique when it comes to having many scams that take advantage of the millions of eager tourists. Most tourist destinations hold their fair share of these traps. On your first trip to the land of smiles, I can almost guarantee you will get caught by at least 1. Let’s just give you a fighting chance to recognize these before it is too late.
Won’t happen to me
Even the most “street smart” people will get caught by one or more of these traps. The benefit that these scammers have is, First time in Thailand is overwhelming. The sights and smells of a new country with so much life will throw off your judgment. Second, most likely in your home country your money has more value when you get to Thailand. This results in you feeling like it is no big deal if someone asks for more than normal the price for goods and services.
Let me give you a few examples and hopefully some tips to help minimize the damage of these tricks.
First off right out of the gate, literally. You will need to get a ride to your hotel or wherever you are staying. How do you do this? Well in Bangkok it is not so bad. You go out and get in the queue for the meter taxis and you will get a taxi that will use a meter to get you where you want to go. This is not bad ut they might try and ask for a few hundred THB on top of the ending meter price. How we get caught is that the actual price of a Bangkok taxi is cheap. Like 9USD to get from the airport to downtown. You will be required to pay an airport fee and they normally ask you to cover the highway tolls. this is all ok.
Now after the airport it is going to be harder and harder to get a taxi that will use the meter for you. What happens is they will pull up and inform you the meter is not working (not true) and they will give you a higher price. This is up to you. You will have to get used to the general prices of where you are going. This will give you the advantage of negotiation. That will be key for almost everything on your journey. Get used to saying no thank you and also for the driver to lower their price unless they just really do not want to drive where you need to go and they will just say no.
Tuk Tuk scam
So the tuk-tuk scam has a few different aspects to it. First, the rate IS negotiable so feel free to counter offer the driver when they give their price. Again get familiar with how much is fair for you to go to your destinations and go from there. You are not trying to rip them off, just come to a reasonable price.
Another part of this scam is that they will offer you a tour for a ridiculously cheap price. Telling you they will give you a tour of the city. This comes at the cost of your time. they will throw in some not so random clothing or gem stores. These stores give a kickback to the drivers that bring you to them. This is not bad but many times the good are not real or they will take you places you just do not want to go.
A tuk-tuk is a fun way to get around and sometimes quicker than a cab. It is safer than a motorbike taxi. They run all over in most tourist areas and often times cater to more towards tourists.
Shopping (fake goods)
This is almost everywhere in Southeast Asia. You can buy counterfeit goods! This is not done in some seedy back alley this is done right in the malls and telling the difference sometimes takes an expert. Many people think that buying things like electronics ( Beats by Dre) or Iphones are a good idea cause it is soooo cheap! well they are not real. There are normally 3 levels of fake. Most of the time you will know that these things sold in markets are not authentic. If a Coach, Calvin Klien, and LV wallet are all the same except for the logo it’s not real. Buyer beware.
Now on the flip side to this, you can get things like T-shirts with cool logos and brand names on them for cheap! You better polish up your bartering skills tho. This is the seller’s full-time job and you are on holiday in a new an amazing land.
If I was to give you a few tips on how to make this a little less painful. First, agree on a price! this goes for almost everything you are buying and for most transportation. I will say do not try and barter for food at the small food stalls, that is just dumb. They are working and not overcharging for the amazing food. Don’t be that dick! Second, be comfortable with the price you agreed on. You are not getting a refund in most cases and you WILL find that great gift someplace cheaper almost guaranteed. So pay what you are comfortable paying.
If you are scammed. Meaning you feel like you were taken advantage of my advice is to learn from your mistake. You are in a foreign country. Things do not work the same as they do at home. This includes when the police get involved. Unfortunately, you probably do not speak Thai and that does not help your situation. If you do speak Thai you probably didn’t get int that situation in the first place.
There really are tons of scams that happen. Like I said this is not something that only happens in Thailand this is anyplace that you have tourists coming that are unfamiliar with prices and how things really work. Just be smart, be aware and enjoy your holiday!