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Tourist Scams in Bangkok

Unfortunately, like many popular tourist destinations, Bangkok has its share of scams targeting unsuspecting tourists.

It’s essential to be aware of these scams to protect yourself and have a safe and enjoyable experience in the city.

Tourist Scams

What are the most common scams in Thailand?

Here are some of the most common scams to watch out for in Bangkok:

Tuk-tuk Scams

Tuk-tuk drivers may offer you highly cheap rides but then take you to various overpriced shops or tourist attractions, where they receive a commission for bringing customers.

Always negotiate the fare upfront and ensure it’s reasonable before getting in.

Gem Scams

You might be approached by friendly locals who want to take you to a jewelry shop for a great deal on gems.

These shops often sell overpriced or fake gems, and the friendly local may get a commission if you make a purchase.

Be cautious when dealing with strangers offering such deals.

Grand Palace Scams

Scammers may tell you that the Grand Palace is closed for a special event or that you need to buy a special ticket from them.

The Grand Palace is a popular attraction and is rarely closed to the public, so ignore these claims and buy tickets only from official sources.

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Fake Tourist Information Centers

Some unscrupulous individuals set up fake tourist information centers to lure tourists into booking expensive tours or transportation.

Stick to reputable and official tourist information centers.

Taxi Meter Scams

Some taxi drivers might refuse to use the meter or claim it’s broken, then overcharge you for the ride. Insist on the meter or agree on a fixed price before starting the journey.

“Lucky” Buddha Scams

Strangers may approach you, telling you that today is a memorable holiday and you’re lucky to be in the city.

They may suggest visiting a temple or a specific shop where you’ll be pressured to buy items or donate money.

Ping Pong Show Scams

You might be approached by touts offering to take you to a “ping pong show” or other adult entertainment.

These shows can be overpriced, and you might be faced with an uncomfortable situation. It’s best to avoid these offers.

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ATM and Credit Card Scams

Be cautious when using ATMs, especially those located in less secure areas. Skimming devices or hidden cameras may be used to steal your card information.

Also, constantly monitor your credit card during transactions to prevent unauthorized charges.

The Bird Feed Scam

The locals will encourage you to feed the birds around the area, making it seem harmless and enjoyable.

They might even offer to take pictures of you while feeding the birds.

Once you’re done or about to leave, the locals will suddenly demand a significant amount of money for the bird feed or the “service” they provided, which you thought was free or very cheap.

Pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft

Pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft are unfortunate risks in many urban areas worldwide, and Bangkok is no exception.

Tourists can be targets for these crimes, particularly in crowded places, markets, public transportation, and tourist attractions.

Fake Goods and Jewelry Scams

Be cautious when shopping for brand-name items in markets or on the streets. Some vendors may sell counterfeit products, claiming them to be genuine.

Always be skeptical of meager prices for high-end brands.

Wrong change and overcharging

Some restaurants or shops may give you the wrong change or add extra charges. Always double-check your bill and the change you receive to avoid being overcharged.

If possible, pay by card, allowing for more straightforward dispute resolution.

How can I avoid getting scammed in Bangkok?

Avoiding scams in Bangkok, or any destination, requires awareness, preparation, and cautious behavior.

Here are some tips to help you avoid getting scammed while in Bangkok:


Before your trip, familiarize yourself with common scams in Bangkok. Knowing what to look out for is the first step in preventing them.

Use Reputable Services:

Stick to well-known and licensed tour operators, travel agencies, and transportation services. Avoid booking tours or services from random individuals on the street.

Negotiate Tuk-tuk and Taxi Fares:

When using tuk-tuks or taxis, negotiate the fare upfront, and ensure the driver uses the meter.

Have an idea of the approximate cost to your destination beforehand to avoid being overcharged.

Be Wary of Strangers:

Be cautious when approached by overly friendly locals, especially if they offer you something for free or at an unbelievably low price.

Trust your instincts; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Verify Information:

If someone tells you an attraction or place is closed, verify this information from an official source or a trusted local.

Don’t be quick to follow the advice of strangers.

Guard Your Valuables:

Keep your bags, wallets, and other valuables secure at all times.

Use anti-theft bags with zippers, and consider a money belt for extra protection.

Be Careful with Your Personal Information:

Avoid sharing personal information with strangers, especially if unnecessary.

Be cautious when providing details to unfamiliar businesses or individuals.

Stay in Reputable Accommodations:

Choose well-reviewed and established hotels or accommodations.

Read reviews from other travelers to get an idea of the reliability and security of the place.

Stay Alert in Crowded Areas:

Crowded places are prime locations for pickpocketing and other forms of theft.

Keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.

Learn Some Local Phrases:

Basic knowledge of local phrases and customs can help you appear more informed and less vulnerable to scams.

Trust Your Instincts:

Remove yourself from the situation if something feels off or uncomfortable.

Your safety and peace of mind should be a priority.

By staying informed, using common sense, and being cautious, you can significantly reduce the chances of falling victim to scams while enjoying your time in Bangkok.

In conclusion

Bangkok is a vibrant and exciting city, but it does come with some risks.

By understanding the possible scams, taking appropriate precautions, and trusting your instincts, you can enjoy your trip to Bangkok without worrying about falling victim to scams.

Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Stay alert and enjoy your time in Bangkok safely.

The Thai government is also working hard to combat tourist and financial scams in the city, and their efforts will make Bangkok a safer destination for tourists.

With proper preparation and knowledge, you can enjoy your time in Bangkok without worrying about getting scammed. Happy travels! 🌴🎉🙌

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Matan Cohen

Hi, I'm Matan and I'm passionate about exploring the world. Bangkok is my favorite place - the sights, sounds, flavors and hospitality there are truly captivating! I'm an adventerous spirit who loves discovering new cultures and immersing myself in different environments. When I'm not traveling, you can find me reading a good book or enjoying some outdoor activities with friends.

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About Me
About Me

Hi, I’m Matan! I’m a world traveler passionate about exploring the beauty and culture that cities around the globe have to offer.

My favorite city in the world is Bangkok – it’s truly a magical place with its vibrant nightlife, fantastic food, diverse culture, and fascinating attractions. Whenever I visit Bangkok, I find something new and exciting to discover!

It’s my favorite destination worldwide, and I always look forward to my next opportunity to explore this incredible city.

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