Thailand Country Guide

Stay Safe



Thailand has its fair share of con artists and scams but most are easily avoided with some common sense.
More of a nuisance than a danger are the touts, taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers nearby important monuments and temples waiting to waylay Western travellers, telling the site is closed for a "Buddhist holiday", "repairs" or some other reasons. The "helpful" driver will then offer to take the traveller to another site, such as a market or store. Travellers who accept these offers will often end up at out-of-the-way shops selling at outrageous prices. Therefore, check at the front gate of the site you're visiting to make sure it is really closed.

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Bangkok skyline by Deror Avi

Don't buy any sightseeing tours at the airport. If you do, they will phone several times to your hotel to remind you about the tour. During the tour, you will most probably taken to a small temple (without a guide) and then one shop after another (they get commissions). They may even refuse to take you back home until you see all the shops.

Some tuk-tuk drivers might demand much higher price than agreed. Avoid drivers who propose their services without being asked, especially near major tourist attractions. For example, you might be offered to see a sex show (the drivers get a commission) and charged skyrocketing prices for the show.

Tuk-tuk in Bangkok by Terence Ong

It is not uncommon in the tourist areas to be approached by a clean cut and well dressed man. These con artists will start up a polite conversation, show interest in the unsuspecting tourist's background, family or itinerary. The conversation will eventually drift to something like over-priced tickets to a "kantok" restaurant and show, gambling scam or the infamous gem scam. The wary traveller should have no trouble picking them out from a crowd with their well pressed slacks, button down shirt and conservative hair style.

School kids visiting a wat by Deror Avi

Visitors may also encounter young Thai ladies armed with a clipboard and a smile enquiring visitors their nationality. The suggestion is that the visitor completes a tourism questionnaire (which includes supplying their hotel name and room number) with the incentive that they just might win a prize - the reality is that everyone gets a call to say that they are a "winner" and prize collected by attending an arduous presentation.

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