6 Common scams in Bangkok to Avoid

When traveling abroad, one of the most important things we all should be aware of is scams and frauds since we all know there are always these kinds of people anywhere in the world whom will be trying to take advantage of us, when they have a chance. So, since you are in Bangkok (or planning to)…. better be safe than sorry right? Let’s see what are the most common scams in Bangkok and learn how to avoid them.

6 Common Scams in Bangkok

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1. ‘They’re close’ scam

Where – Often around tourism attraction


When you visit a tourism attraction, often around Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace, or Wat Arun, someone will randomly inform you that the place is close for a certain reason (for example, a special ceremony, a small renovation, etc,) then, they will recommend you to take a tuk tuk ride or a taxi ride around the town instead or to just kill time and they will take you back later. If you are in they will just take you to a gem shop or a tailor where they get a commission.

FYI/ How to avoid

1. Don’t talk to these guys and just walk away.

2. If you would like to take a tuk tuk, especially around that area, only hop on for a short ride which you actually know the route to your destination.

2. Gems and Tailors scam

Where – At the shop


The situation might be taking place after ‘They’re close’ scam which you are already brought to a strange/ shady gem shop or a tailor shop. The shop clerk will offer a good-to-be-true wholesale deal. They might even mention how you can resell these items (often rubies and emeralds) back to your home country and make a great sum of money. At a tailor shop, they might offer a delivery to your country. You will end up buying some and realize how low the quality of the goods are.

FYI/ How to avoid

1. If you would like to buy some jewels back home please find a shop that are in a mall or any creditable place. Though the price might be higher, the quality of your goods is guaranteed.

2. Buy goods where you can pay and receive the products right away. Avoid paying up front.

3. If the shop seller asks you to give an initial deposit as an up front and you are not sure about it at least do some research about the shop and don’t forget to ask them for the invoice.

3. Hua Lamphong scam

Where – Hua Lamphong train station


While walking in to the station, an ‘official’ looking guy will approach you and offer his help in finding the right train ticket for you. He pretends to check the train availability and claims that the train is fully booked. He, then, introduces you to take their tour bus or taxi instead which results as you have to pay extra money.

FYI/ How to avoid

1. Don’t talk to these guys and just walk straight to a ticketing booth.

2. Be extra careful of your belonglings. Taking the train or any transportation couldn’t guaranteed you that your stuff will not be tampered with/ lost, especially if you are taking a long distance/ overnight trip. Trust me, even Thai people are very concerned about this too.

4. Cheap sex shows

Where – Soi Patpong


Strolling along the soi, someone will come to you or even grab you and offer a special strip show, or Ping Pong show, at a bar on the second story. Claiming that their place is very affordable, they might give you a special discount for the entrance fee, or even offer a free entrance. To satisfy your curiosity, you take the deal and go along with them to the place. At the end, you are trapped by the girl/ ladyboy strippers, asking for your tips every 5-10.

FYI/ How to avoid

1. Note that this is not a total scam, rather than a choice you need to make. This kind of business aims foreign travelers. The girls will keep insisting you for more and more tips. If you are on budget and really want to experience this kind of thing, then, stick on the bars on the ground. At least the prices of drinks and other stuff there are fixed.

2. If you visit soi Patpong with your friends in a big group they will approach lady customers first since they think the rest of the guys will tag along for sure, when the girls in your group say ‘yes.’ (a personal experience lol)

3. If you are not interested in this strip club thingy just walk away. Do not make eye contacts. Do not talk to them. These guys are expert on insisting people and luring customers.

5. Taxi scam

Where – Anywhere


1. You got in the cab, but the driver just won’t turn on the meter and ask for a fixed fare, often overcharged. You have luggage in his trunk, so you couldn’t say ‘no.’

OR he does turn on the meter, but it’s been modifies to price up more quickly than a normal meter.

2. The driver claims that the meter is broken, so he’s asking for a fixed fare.

3. Before getting in a cab, the driver will demand a fixed fare. If you reject his deal, then, you have to grab another taxi.

FYI/ How to avoid

1. This is one of the most common scams in Bangkok. Even locals often get treated like this too, especially during a rush hour or when they know we have no choice of traveling; after a big concert, a sport game, etc. They charge us even more during a big festival like Songkran when we all are soaking wet from playing water fights all day long and need to take a taxi home.

2. There are 2 ways to avoid this type of scams in Bangkok; 1. Try to travel via BTS skytrain, MRT subways, ARL airport links, and BRT express buses. 2. Call a designated car using mobile applications; Uber or Grab. These two services are widely used among Bangkokians. The services are also available in some provinces in Thailand too. Learn more about these transportations of Bangkok click

6. Pickpockets

Where – Anywhere


You see a poor old lady, begging for some changes, and you would like to give away some to her. Not knowing that there is an unknown person, looking at you while observing where you keep you wallet at. Then, they will somehow approach you and boommmm… your wallet is gone…

FYI/ How to avoid

1. If you are walking in the crowded area don’t forget to place your wallet/ belongings in the front/ where you can see easily.

2. Don’t just chill or enjoy shopping. Casually look around you sometimes and see if there’s any suspicious person around you.

Check out this page for useful calls, when traveling in Thailand here