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Top 10 Scams to Look Out for in Bangkok

Top 10 Scams to Look Out for in Bangkok

While Bangkok is renowned for its rich culture, delicious street food, and stunning landmarks, it also attracts its fair share of scammers preying on unsuspecting tourists. 

When travelling there, it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of potential scams that could tarnish your experience. 

To help you navigate the bustling streets with confidence, here is a list of the top scams to look out for in Bangkok to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit!

The Khlong Scam

The Khlong Scam
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If you’re planning to explore the enchanting khlongs (canals) of Bangkok, be aware of the Khlong Scam. This scam typically occurs when you hire a long-tail boat to take you on a scenic tour. 

The boat operator may claim that the regular route is closed due to maintenance or congestion and suggest an alternative, which often involves visiting overpriced souvenir shops or gem stores. 

These shops give the boat operator a commission for bringing in customers.

How to Avoid It:  To avoid falling victim to the Khlong Scam, familiarise yourself with popular routes and landmarks along the canals, and ask locals or your hotel for reliable boat operators. 

Make it clear from the start that you want to stick to the agreed-upon route and not make any unscheduled stops. Negotiate the price upfront, ensuring it covers only the boat ride and not additional visits to shops or gem stores.

Tuk Tuk Scam

Tuk Tuk Scam
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Tuk-tuks are a popular mode of transportation in Bangkok, but unfortunately, they can also be associated with scams. Tuk-tuk drivers may approach you on the streets, offering a remarkably low fare or claiming to take you to lesser-known attractions. 

However, their true intention is often to bring you to specific shops or establishments where they receive a commission for bringing in customers.

How to Avoid It: When dealing with tuk-tuk drivers, establish a clear destination and negotiate the fare upfront. Ensure that the agreed-upon fare covers only the transportation service and does not include any detours to shops or gem stores.

If a driver insists on taking you to certain places, politely decline and find another tuk-tuk. Additionally, consider using reputable ride-hailing services like Grab or using metered taxis for a more reliable and transparent experience.

Gemstone Scams

Gemstone Scams
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Bangkok is famous for its gemstone trade, and unfortunately, this industry attracts its fair share of scammers. Gemstone scams can occur in various ways, including individuals on the street claiming to have rare or valuable gemstones at a bargain price. 

They may try to convince you that you can sell the gemstones for a significant profit back home, only to find out later that the stones are low-quality imitations or worthless.

How to Avoid It: Only purchase gemstones from reputable and licensed dealers. Research and educate yourself about gemstones before making any purchases to understand their value, characteristics, and market prices.

Get a gemstone appraisal from a certified gemologist if necessary, and always be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Grand Palace Closure Scam

Grand Palace Closure Scam
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The Grand Palace, a magnificent and iconic landmark in Bangkok, is unfortunately not exempt from scams. Scammers may approach you near the Grand Palace, claiming that it is closed for the day due to a special ceremony or renovation. 

They will then offer to take you to other attractions or shops instead, where they earn a commission.

How to Avoid It: The best way to avoid the Grand Palace Closure Scam is to verify the information yourself. Check the official operating hours and closure dates of the Grand Palace in advance.

If someone claims it is closed, politely decline their offer and go directly to the Grand Palace to confirm. Ignore unsolicited advice from strangers and rely on reliable sources of information, such as official tourist offices or reputable guidebooks.

Taxi Metre Tampering

Taxi Metre Tampering
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Using taxis is a convenient way to get around Bangkok, but taxi metre tampering is a scam to watch out for. Some unscrupulous taxi drivers may manipulate the metre or claim that it is broken, resulting in an inflated fare at the end of the ride.

How to Avoid It: Insist that the driver uses the metre from the beginning of the journey, and if they refuse or claim it is broken, consider finding another taxi. Keep an eye on the metre throughout the ride to ensure it is running accurately.

Additionally, having a rough idea of the expected fare for your destination can help you identify any suspiciously high charges.

Fake Travel Agents

Fake Travel Agents
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Booking tours and travel arrangements through a trustworthy travel agent is a common practice for many tourists. However, be cautious of fake travel agents who operate scams to deceive unsuspecting travellers. 

These scammers may approach you on the street or at tourist attractions, offering attractive deals on tours, accommodation, or transportation. They may take your payment but fail to deliver the promised services or provide subpar arrangements.

How to Avoid It: Seek recommendations from fellow travellers or your hotel for trusted travel agents. Verify the legitimacy of the agency by checking their credentials, licences, and online reviews.

Avoid making impulsive decisions and take the time to compare prices and services from multiple agents before making a reservation or payment. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true and always request written confirmation of your booking details.

Street Vendor Overcharging

Street Vendor Overcharging
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Exploring the vibrant street markets of Bangkok is a must-do experience for many visitors. However, some street vendors may try to take advantage of tourists by overcharging for their products or services. 

They may inflate prices significantly or not disclose the actual cost upfront, leading to unexpected expenses.

How to Avoid It: Engage in friendly bargaining while maintaining a respectful attitude. Research and have a general idea of the fair prices for the items you’re interested in before making a purchase.

Additionally, compare prices among different vendors to ensure you’re getting a reasonable deal. Remember, it’s okay to walk away if the price offered doesn’t align with your expectations.

Fake Monks Asking For Donations

Fake Monks Asking For Donations
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Bangkok’s temples and spiritual sites often attract tourists seeking a glimpse into the local culture and religious practices. However, there have been instances of fake monks taking advantage of tourists’ generosity.

These impostors dress as monks and approach visitors, asking for donations or selling fake religious items. They may use emotional tactics to manipulate tourists into giving them money.

How to Avoid It: Authentic monks in Thailand do not solicit donations from tourists directly. If approached by someone claiming to be a monk and asking for money, politely decline and walk away.

Legitimate donations to temples should be made through official donation boxes or directly to the temple authorities. Remember that true monks are unlikely to engage in aggressive or persistent behaviour to obtain donations.

Ping Pong Show Scams

Ping Pong Show Scams
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Bangkok’s nightlife scene offers a variety of entertainment options, but there is a notorious scam associated with the Ping Pong Shows. Scammers may approach tourists, especially in the red-light districts, offering cheap or free entry to these shows.

However, once inside, you may be subjected to exorbitant drink prices or forced to pay hefty bills before being allowed to leave.

How to Avoid It: These shows are often associated with illegal activities and exploiting vulnerable individuals. If you’re interested in enjoying nightlife entertainment, consider reputable venues with clear pricing policies and avoid accepting unsolicited offers from strangers on the street.

Tailor Scam

Tailor Scam
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Tailor scams in Bangkok can take various forms. In some cases, a seemingly friendly individual may approach you on the street, claiming to know a reputable tailor offering incredibly low prices. 

They may convince you to visit the tailor, where you may end up paying for poor-quality materials or subpar workmanship.

Another common scam is when a tailor promises to create a custom garment within a short timeframe but fails to deliver on time or produces a low-quality product.

How to Avoid It:  Seek recommendations from locals, fellow travellers, or trusted sources such as hotel staff. Look for tailors with positive reviews and a track record of customer satisfaction.

We advise you to ask for a sample or reference garment to evaluate their workmanship. If the deal seems too good to be true or if you feel pressured, it’s best to explore other options or seek advice from experienced locals.

Tourist Attraction Ticket Scams

Tourist Attraction Ticket Scams
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Bangkok is home to numerous popular tourist attractions, and unfortunately, scammers may take advantage of the high tourist traffic by selling counterfeit or overpriced tickets. 

These scams can occur both online and in-person, where scammers pose as legitimate ticket vendors and sell fake or invalid tickets.

How to Avoid It: Visit the official website of the attraction or use reputable ticket vendors recognized by travel agencies or hotel concierges. Avoid buying tickets from street vendors or random individuals who approach you.

Be cautious when purchasing tickets online and ensure that the website is secure and trustworthy. Double-check the ticket details, including the date, time, and any restrictions, before making the purchase.

If possible, consider buying tickets in advance to avoid last-minute scams or disappointments.

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