Aarav, my friend, a software engineer from India is a globe trotter. His passion to explore has taken him to places. Due to frequent last minute cancellations by his friends on many trips, he decided to become a solo traveler.
His wanderlust made him join many travel groups that made him learn how to plan his itinerary. Another day when we were sitting in a CCD lounge he was talking about one of his expedition. It was regarding his first solo trip to Bangkok, Thailand.
Aarav recalls how vulnerable he was unless he got alert of many scams going on there. He was proudly informing how he saved himself from one of the possible scams that he could have been a victim.
His smartness and presence of mind saved him. It was about the year 2016 when he was all thrilled and packed for his trip to Thailand. Before that, he only read about travel scams in India but now he can vouch Bangkok has more severe scams.
He was excited as it was his 2nd international trip from India but this time solo. Aarav was an avid traveler back India but he now wanted to get the global exposure. Hardly had he known the world out there is not as rosy as presumed. Many scammers are waiting for their prey.
After all, that’s how they are making some extra bucks to survive. After his experience, he has been regretting not to buy the book that I have written for female’s solo trips but can be a good guide to anymore. If you haven’t got your copy yet then you can click on this link below:-
It does have a chapter talking about how can you stay safe and thus prevent any scam. Above is the paperback addition, if you want to download a free copy from kindle then get your edition now.
If you face any difficulty in getting your copy then please comment or reach out to me.
Aarav’s Wallet Theft During Airport Security Check
So it was the day when Aarav was leaving for India from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. He rushed to the airport in a jiffy as it was a morning flight and he missed his alarm. Aarav put all his stuff in security belt along with his wallet separately that he kept out to pay for a taxi. As soon as the items came he counted them along with the wallet. To his surprise, he realized more than half of the currency was missing that was equivalent to Rs. 15,000.
He could sense something fishy during the security check. Though it was time for him to board the flight Aarav checked he still has few minutes. He raised the alarm to the Airport authorities and they didn’t have any option rather than help him.
They checked the CCTV and figured out that the official sitting there was stealing the money out of his wallet. He got his money back and he rushed to flight assuming that official was reprimanded. But who knows? He was just happy that he got his money without scamming the scammers in the right way.
In our chit chat, he also discussed other famous scams in Thailand especially in Bangkok that travelers must stay cautious. Some of the common ones are listed below.
Travel Scams in Bangkok
This is one of the most common scams all over Thailand. Most of the drivers here can’t speak in English and they run fake meters. They will try to convince you through the signals that they are aware of the route just to confuse you further.
At the end of the trip, you may be aghast to see the bill and may say to yourself it’s a scammed taxi. Even travel scam in Greece may be less painful than here.
Prepaid Sim Scams
Another scam in this country is selling prepaid sim all across the streets without exact information of the data. As soon as you insert it in your mobile you will realize the talk time and data is gone in no time.
Tuk Tuk Scams
Thailand Tuk-Tuk is more or less like a haunted mode of transport. They know very well how a taxi driver may play around so they will already charge exorbitant cost. Since you may not have a choice you may be tempted to ride just to realize they will start asking for more in the middle of the ride.
One known thing that Bangkok is famous for is Spa. They give you all kinds of spas. At times you may like to try these spas for all good reasons. However, may not be a surprise to many your massager may ask for extra during the session.
Now what is meant by that is very well known to few who are taking frequent trips to Bangkok. If you are not willing to go for that extra they may pressurize you and ask for money even if you don’t opt for the same.
Private Tour Scams
So if you plan a trip solo then you just can’t afford to plan your itinerary there. Even if you go in a group you need some package there. Major reason for the same is drivers hardly know English and most of the people are illiterate.
The only option left for you is to book a tour that can leverage your situation and sell off their package at an exorbitant rate. And if you are single they may scam you in private luxury tour covering limited places. Such tours agencies are mushroomed on the airport and propose one or more tempting offers just to trick you in some scams.
People think hotels in Bangkok are available at cheaper rates. Hardly do they know the courtesy of staff inside. Some of the cheapest hotels got the rudest staff. Moreover, the food & beverage they use is served with used glasses or cutlery. Aarav had such experience in one of the hotels named Great Residence located near the airport.
“Precious Gem Stone Scam”
Another scam that might be on your way is your tour guide, taxi or tuk-tuk taking you to the infamous gem store. You may be dazzled with the accessories they serve but most often they are overpriced and not worth the cost. Local drivers scam you by taking there as they make a commission out of it.
So nowadays Thailand is offering a free visa on arrival. What takes a toll is a huge queue that easily takes around 2-3 hours. You may get scammed by taking express land of 200 Thai bhats that is not legal. Even after paying the bribe there’s no surety whether you will get easy clearance from the security.
You may get free Wi-Fi in Bangkok just to let them get access to your private data. Even the hotels may give you access to the same just to trap you in internet scams. You must have heard about similar stories about Travel scams in Vietnam but the one in Bangkok is more severe.
Mobile Snatchers Scams
Beware of taking a casual walk on the streets of Bangkok. You may be the prey of thief’s who can snatch your mobile by scamming you asking about the route. Aarav came to know about the phone scams only after hearing some real stories from a fellow traveler.
Night Life Scams
Bangkok is well known for its nightlife. Mostly the males get allured by fashionista glamorous models. Once they get hook up with them they realized they are transgender. Before they could do anything they are already scammed. At times people have got victimized with some of the biggest scamswhile exploring such night lives.
Never order a Tea in a Thai restaurant. To make some money, they will serve you but the taste is just intolerable. This may be just a trick to get your money.
Currency Exchange Scams
There are counters everywhere in Bangkok who are willing to exchange your currency. Rate of exchange is a scam to let you lose your money and fill their pockets.
“Get You Beer” Scams
Now, this is one scam everyone who is visiting Bangkok must know. As soon as you walk through some streets known for the nightlife some man may offer you a free beer or at a very less price. You may get the urge to accompany them but there’s a hidden cost that you will come to know after consuming your pint of beer.
Local Market Scams
Bangkok is known for selling some cheap stuff. Some of them may be good but few are just a scam. After selecting your item you will be pushed to buy minimum 5. This is more common is the accessories shops that a Thai local might be selling.
How Not to Get Trapped From These Scams?
The important thing is how to stay smart and enjoy your trip like a pro in Thailand. After all, you must always leverage positive side of the place. Here are some of the tips that can always safeguard you from any kind of scams.
- Research About the Place
“Well plan is half done”. Good research before visiting any place always proves to be beneficial. You can always read about what are the scams that you are vulnerable and play safe.
- Plan Your Itinerary
Traveling without an itinerary is like a shoe without a lace. You can always plan where all you wish to visit as per your budget.
- Enquire About the Package
It’s good to decide how you are going to execute your itinerary. You may be keen on taking a package or other services. Managing it adhoc after reaching your destination may turn out to be more costly. Moreover, you may be at risk of getting scammed in a foreign land especially when it comes to Bangkok.
- Manage your Luggage
There are mischief mongers at every corner. You can always have a cross-body bags and locks for all your pieces of baggage. This can safeguard you against any kind of theft. In the case of Aarav, he realized that he could have avoided that hassle of money theft by placing it in his bag. So keep your precious items minimal and zipped.
- Check the Review and Recommendations
It’s always good to check the review and recommendations of the place before booking it. Usually, the rating at trip advisor is most genuine and credible. Many of the online scams can be prevented by staying in good rated place.
Last but the least always have travel insurance that can always act as a rescue against any risk. You can stay safe with even a Travel scam in Europe by using suitable travel insurance plan for yourself.
After knowing these 16 travel scams and possible solution hope you stay alert during your next International visit. Also, you must be convinced that the list of scams in India is nothing as compared to Thailand. Rather tourism in India is much more friendly and safe.
To sum up, stay smart and book your trip and never give up on traveling no matter what. Take it as learning and leverage the immense benefits of traveling especially solo. You can always join travel communities to make your trip more fun.