a) Tahiland airport -  VAT refund : The AIrport vat refund department is harrasing tourist. once you reach there they inform that the invoice purchase items needed to be varified before immigration at customs !! Else no refund.Suggestion: donate the vat slip in the vat refund counter 

b) Specially at Pattaya - if you hire a rented bike then make sure that international driving licence and other documents are in place . Else police will harrash you for minting money (whereas bike renting shops always alllows you to rent bike without verifiying your international driving licence)  . Suggstion : keep international driving licence , take photo of bike from all area , take phone number of owner of bike to avoid police harashment.

c) Phuket/Pattaya -Roadside shops are extremly rude wheather you buy or not. suggest to buy only from shops inside  malls.  

Scams and Cons in Bangkok and other tourist centric areas in Thailand are commonly perpetrated on the unwary and un-informed. 

These cons are not only done by Thai people, but by people of all nationalities and backgrounds. The best advice (especially around the tourist hotspots) is to ignore any unsolicited approach by any person, trying to engage you in any form of conversation.

  • The Grand Palace is NOT closed
  • There are NO special "one day only" gem sales Government sponsored or otherwise
  • There are NO 40฿ tuk tuk tours to the "Lucky Buddha" temple without side trips to overpriced gem stores (that do the HARD SELL very well).
  • There are no friendly strangers at the Lucky Buddha temple, only more con artists in on the scam.
  • Just because the person approaching YOU out of the blue is wearing a genuine looking Government uniform, it does not mean they are not part of the scam. 

The Gem Scam

One of the most common scams is the Thai gem scam, this one has been doing the rounds for years but still people are caught out by it. The scam works in the following way:

You will be approached by a local, often a tuk tuk driver who will offer to take you on a day tour around the temples of Bangkok. They will offer to do this for a very small amount of money or even for free. If you agree to what sounds like a great day out with your own private guide and transport you will indeed be taken to a couple of temples, the reclining Buddha being a popular one.

However at the end of the trip you will be taken to a local gem shop to meet the owner. The owner will explain to you the gems they sell are in found in abundence in Thailand but that they are worth a great deal of money in your home country. You will be shown letters of recommendation from toursits who have bought gems and then sold them for a large profit when they got home, and you will also be given the contact details of the agents in your own country.

If you fall for this and buy some gems you will find that when you get home nobody wants to buy them from you are you are stuck with your purchase. The tuk tuk drive who took you to the shop will receive a large commisson for taking you there and you will not be any wiser until you get home.

The Grand Palace is Closed

Another thing to be wary of especially visiting some of the temples and the Golden Palace, that someone will come up to you and tell you that the Palace or temple is closed today, or its only for locals, or its 'Buddha day'  and will open later in the afternoon.

They will sound plausible, be very convincing, and may even be dressed in Official looking uniform. Again ignore them and keep walking, the PALACE IS NOT CLOSED. It is another way to lure you to go somewhere else such as a gem shop.

Another thing to be wary of especially visiting some of the temples and the Golden Palace, that someone will come up to you and tell you that the Palace or temple is closed today, or its only for locals, or its 'Buddha day' and will open later in the afternoon.

The Jetski Scam (sometimes applied to hire cars & motorbikes)

When you hire any of the above, make sure the rental operator sees you photographing it from all angles, especially underneath.  This action alerts the rental operator that you are wise to the scam.

When you bring it back, the scam operates by showing you damage underneath and asking for huge amounts for repair.  Sometimes violence is offered and the police will attend, negotiating a discount.  Everyone is in on the scam and what you pay is shared out.

You are safer with hire cars & motorbikes, but renting a Jetski is one of the most risky things you can do in Thailand.

Taxi Driver Refusing to Use the Meter

Never agree to a flat rate fare in a metered taxi. By law the taxis must use the meter. Always insist that they do, or else walk on and get a different taxi.

More Taxi Tips - LINK

King Power Shop-lifting Scam?

Labelled the "Zig-Zag Scam"... There is (as of Summer 2009) a possibility of travellers being accused of shoplifting in the King Power Duty Free shops in the terminal. Be careful what you pick up to examine and be wary of free gifts being given at  the payment desk. It is often found that the price of goods around Bangkok are as good or better than those offered by King Power. It could simply be the case that the few involved in this WERE ACTUALLY SHOPLIFTERS who made a fuss after getting caught red-handed.

Once accused of shoplifting, you will be handed over to the police and have to pay an enormous bribe (reportedly as much as £8000 or US $13250)  to get any charges to disappear. It may be prudent to avoid King Power outlets. The BBC has more information here.   BBC Tourist Scam Story 20th July 2009

There are always new scams popping up so as a general rule if something sounds to good to be true it probably is. 

It is highly recommended that you make yourself aware of all the possible scams in and around Thailand.

Make sure you are fully informed about the latest cons, tricks and scams doing the rounds.