The Scams of Bangkok

Bangkok may be the capital of the land of smiles, but your grin will be gone with these scams.

Bangkok is the backpackers hub of Southeast Asia. The main gateway to other countries like Laos or Cambodia, it has the most accessible international airport and is full of its own attractions. In 2013, according to MasterCard's new Global Destination Cities Index, it was even ranked the number one tourist destination. Whether it’s cultural emersion, or Hangover 2 type fun, Bangkok does have it all. But with tourists of all varieties flocking up and down Khao San Road, there are bound to be a few people looking to make a quick buck.

Seasoned travelers may already have a keen sense of what to keep an eye out for, such as fake gem scams, or the classic “Sorry, this temple is closed” trick. But there are opportunists that have been paving the way into a few new plays for their deceiving books.

“The protests, you can’t stay here”

The political protests happening in Bangkok, and throughout parts of east Thailand, are very real, and on occasion, very dangerous. They are definitely not something to make light of. In certain sectors of the cities, you can easily see razor wires barriers, small pockets of young men wearing yellow arm bands, and Thai soldiers. However, it is limited to very small areas which can be easily avoided. Sadly though, there is a sudden population of those who are looking to exploit the undercurrent of fear.

Arriving on any main hostel strip, you’ll quickly hear the phrase “Hello, where are you from? Where are you staying?” Seemingly kind men will warn you that there will be a protest there that very night, with thousands in attendance. “It’s not safe for you here!” they’ll exclaim, “You must stay somewhere else.” Quickly you’ll be whisked away with the promise that they can help you. In reality, these ‘do-gooders’ have connections to travel agencies. You’ll find yourself sitting across from an ornery agent promising to get you a good deal...in the same area you were just told was very unsafe. And generally, the prices they will arrange for you are not that much better than if you were to walk into a hostel on your own.

There are two easy ways to avoid this. The first being, book your hostel ahead of time. If you know where you’re going and are able to spout off the name, you’re less likely to get hassled. It is sometimes hard to plan in advance. Look up a few potential options ahead of time and know where they are. If you’re caught with that lost look in your eye, just wandering towards nowhere in particular, it’s inevitable that you’ll get wrangled by one of these guys.

→ Click here to book your stay in Bangkok, Thailand!

“40 baht, very special deal today. I’ll take you!”

In this very traffic congested city, one of the easiest and cheapest modes of transportation is the tuk tuk. An open air carriage on a three-wheeled motorcycle, they speed through the cars and create a path where ever they see fit. In popular areas, you’ll see groups of them hanging around, ready to take you anywhere. But be careful: have a a set price you’re willing to pay and know exactly where you want to go, or else you’ll be taken for a ride (no pun intended!).

You’ll be offered a very special deal, just for you! For ฿40 (a little over one US dollar) this driver will take you many temples. This price is unbelievable, and for a reason. They’ll mention that today you get such a good deal because the government has been handing out coupons to drivers for free gas. Now while this is true, the government is supplying them to help stimulate the tourist based economy, you won’t initially be told how they get their hands on them. After your first wat (or temple) stop, you’ll be taken to a tourist agency, with the expectation that you’ll buy something. And then another.

And then another. To mix it up a little bit, you might be taken to one of Bangkok’s many custom suit tailor shops. Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll be taken to another temple before you’re dropped off for the day. Left frustrated and out most of a day, this doesn’t have to happen to you. It is easy and common to rent out a tuk tuk for the day, but be the captain of your own ship. Know what you want to see, and be ready to barter for a price.

→ Click here to book your stay in Bangkok, Thailand!

Bottom line is, be smart. If something seems fishy, most likely it is. Thailand is full of kind, friendly people who want to stop and chat, and genuinely want to know where you’re from. But exercise good judgement. This is definitely a city where guts and brains win out. Have no fear! Just use your brain and you’ll love your time in Bangkok. Start planning your trip there now with Trekeffect!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

Shop for Travel Essentials

Get all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip. 

Book your flight

Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world.  They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.  

Book your accommodations

If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Trekeffect. Our hotel booking system is powered by the Priceline Partner Network and we donate 10% of the hotel booking value to UNICEF to help starving children around the world.

Don't forget travel insurance

Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.

     - World Nomads (for everyone below 70)

     - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported. 

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

Shop for Travel Essentials

Get all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip.

Book your flight

Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.

Book your accommodations

If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Booking.com. Their hotel system usually offers the best rates out of any provider worldwide.

Don't forget travel insurance

Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.

     - World Nomads (for everyone below 70)

     - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)

Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.

Related Posts

Grand Canyon, One Of The World’s Greatest Natural Wonders
Grand Canyon, One Of The World’s Greatest Natural Wonders
The Grand Canyon is one of the most mesmerizing and iconic natural wonders on the face of the Earth. Surrounded by go...
Read More
How To Pick The Best Travel Backpack For Your Next Adventure
How To Pick The Best Travel Backpack For Your Next Adventure
Embarking on a crazily fun adventure and wondering what the best backpack for travel is? Need some tips on picking th...
Read More
How To Select The Ultimate Sexy Bikini For Every Body Type
How To Select The Ultimate Sexy Bikini For Every Body Type
Need a little help in picking a sexy bikini for your tropical vacation? Wondering what type of bikini is best for you...
Read More

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published