Scammers targeting tourists have become more widespread as Bangkok’s popularity grows. The ‘Tourism Authority of Thailand’ projected that the tourism business brought in more than 17.3 billion dollars in 2016, making it one of the most profitable industries in the world. Unfortunately, this expansion has also resulted in an increase in scams and fraud targeting tourists. Tourists may choose to join in tours, excursions, or guides only to discover that they are not what they were promised. Travelers may also get counterfeit items or be duped.
If you are visiting Bangkok for the first time. You may unknowingly fall victim to a scam since the prices of services and commodities are fairly low in comparison to other countries.
Bangkok is a tourism hotspot, luring both international and domestic travelers with its enigmatic cultural attractions, rich historic legacy, and fun nightlife. Unfortunately, Bangkok has seen its fair share of scams and frauds. So, how can you prevent being a victim of a scam in Bangkok? Most visitors are concerned about the security of their belongings and possessions, yet scammers and pickpockets are frequent in Thailand. Swindlers are sophisticated and difficult to resist, but there are steps you can do to avoid being a victim.
For expats and travelers visiting Thailand for the first time, you should be aware of fraudsters in Bangkok in addition to the rules and regulations. This article will assist you in identifying them and avoiding them.
Table of Contents
How To Identify The Scammer in Bangkok, Thailand
1. The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is Thailand’s most visited landmark. It was constructed in 1782 and served as the formal home of Thai kings until 1925. It was refurbished to serve as a museum in 1925. The Grand Palace is a stunning example of Thai architecture. The palace is located in the heart of Bangkok, the center of Thailand’s political, economic, and cultural life, and it is visited daily by Thai and foreign visitors.
A well-known swindle is taking place directly outside the palace. If you are wandering far from the main entrance and cannot see tourists entering the gate, a friendly-looking stranger will approach you with a smile and ask ‘where you from?’ This type of fraud usually begins with pleasant talk. Then he will lie you that the palace is closed because you are late today, or that if you arrived early, he will told you that the palace is closed for a special event. These strangers are mostly taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers or middlemen trying to make a commission by bringing you to some establishments.
Some visitors may fall into the trap and be disappointed since they traveled all the way to the grand palace only to discover it was closed. To build your trust, the stranger will offer you a dirt cheap ride to another temple. Then, by chance, an honorable looking man will approach you at the temple and ask whether you’ve heard about the government-promotion of whatever sort of ‘Gem-Expo’ and offer you a duty-free and lowest price of the gem stones. Now for the trick!
1.1 He will take you to a travel agency and offer you a discount on tour package offers with a brochure. He will pitch you an emergency deal, stating that the discount will expire today unless you get these incredible deals today.
1.2 He’ll take you to a local gemstone shop, where the salesman will show you some exceptional stones alongside the genius one that you can’t tell apart. The salesperson will tell you that it is duty-free and will be delivered directly to your home address. The item may arrive at your doorstep, but the amount you pay is exorbitantly greater than the market price.
If you refuse to buy anything, the nice stranger will become pushy and will use all methods to get you to buy either the tour package or jewels until you do, at which point he will disappear when you wish to visit the next temple.
How to identify the scammer
If you are lost or confused and don’t know where to go in the city, it is fairly common for someone to assist you. However, if a stranger approaches you with a smile and speaks a little too-good English, he is a professional who has been doing this for a long time. He normally hangs around in the tourist zone and carries an umbrella because the sun is too hot for him to be there for long. The greatest strategy to avoid scams is to ignore any stranger who approaches you.
2. The Red-Light District
Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket are well-known among locals and tourists for having a red-light district with bars and restaurants offering adult entertainment as a side menu. We’ll talk about Patpong, a prominent Silom soi where nighttime entertainment businesses emerge. During the daytime, the place is serve as a dine-in area for office workers.
The Patpong red light district is one of Bangkok’s most infamous tourist attractions. Unfortunately, travelers frequently get a negative view of this attraction. While there is no disputing that this area has drawn undesirables at times, the place is well-known for a ‘ping pong’ show. There are many clubs in the district that offer this kind of adult entertainment that draws a large number of overseas tourists.
If you visit Patpong for the first time, you will encounter a stranger holder a lame sign stating “Drink all night 200 Baht”, “Free drinks” or “Sex shows” with no price list. They usually pull this kind of trick aiming at foreign travelers. If you stop to show an interest, the stranger will tell you “if you no like, no pay”. This can sound weird and suspicious. If you allow him to bring you to his bar, he will walk you to the second or third floor just right above a restaurant or pub, through a narrow stairs in a nearby building. He will lead you into a small room filled with a bunch of young ladies. There is neither name nor sign in front of the area, just a door leading to a small room.
Here comes the trap:
They will never inform you what the prices are, there is no menu and price list. When you stroll up to a sofa, the girls will approach you and ask you to buy them a drink. If you ask how much they charge, they will say “the same as your drink.” It will be added to your bill if you order drinks for the ladies. Depending on where you travel, some businesses offer a ‘sex show’ or a ‘ping pong show’ as a side menu. Anything you order will be added to your bill, and if you deny any offer, the girls will try to persuade you to order it. Aside from the cost, the girls and bartenders will pressure you to tip them heavily.
When you feel something is odd with this place and decide to leave. The bill will be presented to you and will request a minimum payment of 2000 baht. You’ll be surprised to learn that a few bottles of beer cost that much, and it’s a rip-off. If you refuse to pay, the huge guys in the next room will ‘bad look’ at you. If you pay they might give you a tiny discount.
To avoid such scammers in Thailand’s red-light district, simply ignore any stranger who offers you a drink or adult entertainment for a low price. If you want to get a drink, go to a restaurant with a big name that appears legitimate. Most fixed-price bars and pubs are on the first floor, however I advise you to be cautious before entering any venues.
3. Tuk Tuk And Taxi
This swindle is very similar to the one at the Grand Palace and Tourist Zone. However, we have aware that those drivers who were performing additional stunts. If you see a Tuk Tuk or cab on the street and they urge you to help them with their gasoline fee. They provide you with a free trip to a nearby gemstone or jewelry store. The shopkeeper will try to persuade you to buy something from them. If you seem difficult while not purchasing anything, they will ignore you and let you leave the store. If you are susceptible to sales pressure, you will wind up purchasing something of no worth. When you are about to leave the shop, the driver will vanish from sight.
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4. Outside of 3-5 Stars Hotels
This type of scam is easy to identify. If you notice a line of 2-3 taxis in front of a 3-5 star hotel on the main street, grand palace, museum, station, or any other location with a lot of tourists, please avoid them. This is how it works to defraud you: If you find a taxi parked and waiting for someone in front of your hotel, you may assume it is for your convenience and may be associated with the hotel. Taxi parking on the street is not associated with any facility; they park there of their own accord in the hope of catching a big fish.
When you get into the car, you’ll notice that the meter isn’t turned on. If you urge the driver to turn on, he would ask to charge you between 300 and 500 Baht for the trip. If you go to the airport without purposely turning on the meter, they will charge you 500 Baht simply for the trip, when the normal price from the city to the airport is roughly 300 Baht without tollway fees. You can’t ask him to stop halfway since the vehicle will rush up to the motorway and your luggage is in the boot.
I recommend that you download the ‘Grab‘ mobile application because it is more legitimate, it is widely used in South-East Asian nations and the pricing is fair. During peak hours, it will be in high-demand and cause the price of taxi to surge.
5. Travel Agency
On the main street near each tourist zone, there are numerous shady tour agencies. They frequently approach tourists and ask if they like to go to Cha Praya River or go sightseeing at a Klong (canal). He’ll start with casual talk, then begin by giving you the brochure with tourist attractions in Bangkok.
This is the scenario: Most of them know soccer players from most countries, so if you like football, you’ve found a friend who will gladly hammer the nail. The stranger who rapidly becomes your new friend takes you on an actual tour, taking you on a long-tail boat through the river and canal beyond the tourist zone. He also takes you to a restaurant on the river’s edge built of wooden prank for a great meal and drink at a ridiculously low price. He’ll even take you to see some temples and stop by a little pub to give you a complimentary soft drink. So far, so good, and you may be wondering how fortunate you are, but here’s the catch: your new friend will turn off the engine 200 meters (0.12 mile) from the pier. He’ll start asking for an extra 1000 Baht – perhaps more – for the cost of your boat ride. He will not let you off at the dock, no matter what you say or dispute over. Unless you pay him, you must swim in the river to the pier. It is not worth the risk if you have an expensive camera and phone with you.
If you are want a trusted agency who can take you for a boat ride to the floating markets in Bangkok, you can check out this legitimate service by our company. We have recently published our content “3 Amazing Must-Visit Floating Markets in Bangkok“
Before you put your trust in a stranger who claims to be a travel agency. Request to see their tourism license. Every travel agency has a license number issued by the ‘Tourist Authority of Thailand’, and you may check the legality of their agency on the internet by visiting the official website of the “Department of Tourism“. The number is usually seven digits long, such as “12/34567”.
Thailand is full of kind people, but there are also imposters. Scammers are especially popular near tourist areas, railway stations, and costly hotels in Thailand. They will approach you as a nice stranger, usually male who speaks a little English and other languages. Looks friendly, often smiling, and occasionally wearing sunglasses and with an umbrella. If you are skeptical about someone, simply smile and ignore them, and you will be fine. If the stranger is persistent, avoid making eye contact with them; he will eventually give up after some effort.
Thais are often quite friendly and generous to foreign visitors. You can expect some free rides or meals, as well as meeting friendly people, wherever you go in the kingdom. However, this is not always the case. Because not everyone is fortunate, it is best not to accept any offer from someone you do not know. Avoid the red-light district and instead go somewhere you feel at ease. If you’re inquisitive and want to check out the location, I recommend doing your research on the internet and looking for people who have visited there before you go.
There are numerous legitimate and shady agencies. Before booking or agreeing to use the services of any travel agency, always check their TAT license numbers. You should exercise extreme caution because several popular tourist spots are notorious for their scams. They specifically target foreigners and tourists who speak a foreign language. Because they are unfamiliar with the location, language, and culture, tourists are generally easy targets.
Tips: If you are in a dangerous situation or are being robbed, call the Tourist Police at 1155.
If you are searching for a legit tour agency, you can visit our official website “Food Adventure Food Tours“.