Travel Tips for Thailand Scams

Unfortunately, being a foreign tourist means looking like a walking dollar sign sometimes. Many Thailand scams have been around for decades; you can avoid getting ripped off if you know about them in advance.

Use this list of scams in Thailand to avoid being a sucker!

Fast, bustling, insane -- Thailand's busy capital of Bangkok may be a lot of things, but predictable will never be one of them. These Bangkok tips will help you make sense of the chaos! Bangkok has a reputation for wearing out new travelers on their first visit. Luckily, there is hope.

A few simple Bangkok travel tips from experienced travelers can help make your landing in Thailand just a little softer!

Cigarette Smoking Scam Cigarette Smoking Scam

Despite seeing locals do it, never drop a cigarette in tourist places. Bangkok police set up sting operations in front of MBK to watch for smokers and demand a cash fine on the spot.

* * * *   22 votes
Don’t Bring Expensive Flip-Flops Don’t Bring Expensive Flip-Flops

Nice or expensive flip-flop sandals have a nasty habit of disappearing quite easily in Thailand — particularly in the islands. The reason being that you have to remove them to enter places, and people swap with you on the way out.

* * * *   27 votes
Always Lock Up Your Motorbike Always Lock Up Your Motorbike

Always lock up your rented motorbike, and don’t leave the helmet or other belongings in the basket. Motorbikes are frequently stolen in Thailand – sometimes even by the agency that rented it to you!

* * * *   14 votes
Make Taxi Drivers Use the Meter Make Taxi Drivers Use the Meter

Some taxi drivers will refuse to use the meter or claim that it is broken. They claim traffic is too bad or a destination is too far for the meter. Ignore them and hail an honest driver; be patient – there are a few.

* * * * ½ 24 votes
Don’t Pay Entrance at the Full Moon Party Don’t Pay Entrance at the Full Moon Party

Don’t buy the “entrance bracelets” from people blocking access to the beach during the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party. There is no entrance charge to the party and these people are scammers selling overpriced bracelets.

* * * *   25 votes
Beware of Local Girls Beware of Local Girls

If you are dumb enough to take a prostitute or local girl to your room, don’t be surprised if you wake up with money or items missing. Some will even spike your drink, flirt, then rob you after you pass out.

* * *     28 votes
Careful When Renting Motorbikes Careful When Renting Motorbikes

Check motorbike rentals carefully for scratches or damage before you take them. The agency will demand large fines when you return the bike with insignificant scratches they think you made.

* * * *   11 votes
Theft on Overnight Buses Theft on Overnight Buses (Click to read more)

Theft is common on overnight “VIP” buses in Thailand. They literally pick through bags in the luggage hold as the bus rolls…

* * * * ½ 33 votes
Don’t Ask for Recommendations Don’t Ask for Recommendations

Never trust someone’s recommendation for a bar, restaurant, or hotel. You will end up in a friend’s or cousin’s second-hand place because drivers and locals want to send business to friends and family.

* * * *   10 votes
Never Use Parked Drivers Never Use Parked Drivers

Drivers parked and waiting for tourists will invariably charge you more. Hail your own taxi on the street, and insist that the driver use the meter before you get inside. Never try to negotiate your fare, you will fail.

* * * *   11 votes
Drivers Do Not Carry Change Drivers Do Not Carry Change

Both tuk-tuk and taxi drivers rarely have change. Try to keep small bills to pay close to your exact fare. Round up for a small tip, but don’t expect them to break big notes. They will claim to not have change.

* * * *   9 votes
Tuk-Tuk Scams Tuk-Tuk Scams

Avoid the age-old scam of accepting a tuk-tuk driver’s offer of driving you somewhere for cheap in exchange to visit three shops. The shops are rude, will waste your time, and sales pressure will be high. Get a taxi instead.

* * * * ½ 13 votes
Don’t Trust the Drivers Don’t Trust the Drivers

Tuk-tuk drivers are the biggest scammers in Thailand. Metered taxis are always cheaper – make them use the meter – and more comfortable. Never believe if a driver says a place is closed.

* * * * ½ 24 votes

Need help with your Thailand trip? Use this backpacking guide for budget travel planning and advice.