Nobody Likes the Bad Guys: Scams in Bangkok to Avoid
You’re off the plane, you’re ready to hit the town and explore Bangkok. There’s a hell of a lot that you’ll be wanting to do. What you’ll not be wanting to do is lose a ton of cash to a scam artist! Fortunately, it’s easy enough to avoid these common scams in Bangkok if you know about them ahead of time.
It’s the age-old adage. If there are tourists, there are scams. Bangkok is no different. It’s an unfortunate side to travelling but you’ll be faced with scams a great deal whilst away. If you use your common sense, read this guide and avoid dodgy situations then you’ll have no issues whatsoever.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though. These are only scenarios if you get stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thailand is well known as the Land of Smiles, it’s welcoming and full of some of the friendliest people in the world. Continue to read this guide and you’ll be able to comfortably avoid all of the most common scams in Bangkok.
The Patpong Ping Pong Scam
This is a situation that you’ll be faced with when your curiosity gets the better of you. Wander around Patpong and within around 4.5 seconds you’ll be approached by a man making popping noises and shoving a lewd looking flyer into your face. “Full sex. Lady action. Ping Pong!” These are the usual noises that you’ll hear.
Our advice. Keep on walking. Don’t go getting into a club with this pusher. The moment you get through the doors is the moment that you’re scammed. Let’s say that you do end up going into the club, because you’re lacking sense maybe, and you’ll settle in and quickly grab a beer. A seriously grim looking spectacle is taking place on the central stage. Before you know it, a girl has sat next to you and demanded a drink. Don’t worry, lady drinks are cheap. It’s all added to the tab.
Eventually you’ll decide to leave. Up at the desk you’ll promptly be presented with a 2000, 4000, 6000 baht or even more bill. You’ll calmly state this can’t be your bill. Surprise! It is. And you’ll be expected to pay it. Try and leave and a large door man will block your move. You might get a tiny discount but that’s about it. How do we know this is the way it works? Don’t ask!
The Grand Palace is Closed
Spoiler alert! It isn’t. This is a classic scam put on by the many tuk tuk drivers, taxi drivers and ‘tour guides’. This is one of the most well-known scams of Bangkok but people fall for it time and time again. You’ll be wandering around and probably be heading towards the Grand Palace for a tour. Just nearby you’ll be approached by a friendly, smiling tour guide. He’ll ask you questions, find out where you’ve been, where you’re from, where you’re going. Upon mentioning that you’re heading for the Grand Palace you’ll promptly be told that it’s closed.
Alas, but some good news! The person in question can offer you a different tour of some incredible attractions in Bangkok. You’ll grudgingly accept, after all the Grand Palace is closed. After visiting a quick temple, the driver will take you to a special Thai Gem Expo or similar. Funnily enough tourists can buy these “gems” at a special rate. Red flag? For sure! The worst part of this scam? The Grand Palace was never closed. In fact, it is barely ever closed, always check the Grand Palace official website.
The Tuk Tuk Scam
This one is pretty much the same as the Grand Palace scam above. Instead of taking you on a tourist tour they’ll offer you an incredibly low price for your fare on the basis that you swing by his friend’s gem store first. He’ll be able to get free gasoline if you do so. Best case scenario, you just waste your time. Worst case, you end up buying a ridiculously overpriced piece of tourist tat or an incredibly expensive suit. Our advice? Harsh as it may seem, just say no. If things get awkward, ask to get dropped off. Tuk tuks are easy to catch and you’ll get another one quickly.