Top 11 Scams in Thailand

Last updated: October 6th, 2017 | in Living | Traveling

If you read through all the different Thailand forums on the internet you have so many foreigners complaining about their bad experiences being ripped off in Thailand. It’s always about Thai people that tell you a lie in order to get some money out of you without providing the promised service, sometimes not giving anything in return at all.

This is what is called a scam and not just tourists in Thailand encounter them but also expats actually living here that just haven’t got the experience to know when to believe a Thai person and when better to be careful.

So why are there so many scams in Thailand? Is it because a large part of the Thai population is still extremely poor working for 300 Baht a day or even less and see a “walking ATM” in every foreigner they come across? Or is it because we always have that nice marketing slogan “Thailand – Land of Smiles” in our head and just tend to believe all the crap Thai people are telling us if they give us their charming smile? As usually, it must be a combination of both.

Below are ten of the most common scams in Thailand and a few of them are actually being conducted by foreigners that run out of money – there is a growing number of them who rather go this way than “giving up” and getting on a plane back to their home country.

Patpong Sex Show Scam

The famous scam that a lot of newbies to Thailand run into as they think experiencing a ping pong show in Bangkok’s oldest red light district, Patpong, is a must do. The scam consists of Thai guys approaching you at the night market in front of the go go bars offering free ping pongs shows and even better: drinks for just 100 Baht each. This often turns into a nightmare when it’s time to check the bill and it’s rather a couple of thousand Baht than a couple of hundred. You then have no choice but to pay what they ask for as it can turn violent if you start make an argument.

Scam in ThailandBeer Tower Scam

This one doesn’t seem to be discussed (or noticed) anywhere but it’s really annoying. Just yesterday I went to one of my favorite bars here in Bangkok with a few friends who visited me from Germany (not going to mention the name, I’ve seen it before at other places) and I thought it might be a good idea to share a beer tower.

It’s supposed to be 3 liters of draft beer and if you look at the outer tube that is actually the case. But then they put an additional smaller tube with ice inside that takes off at least 20-30% of the space. So you don’t get 3 liters but less than 2.5 liters. I didn’t even start complaining with the manager – next time I will just order 3 jugs instead.

Wrong Change Scam

The most simple kind of scam. Well it’s really fraud when you are given the wrong change in the restaurant, bar or even at the 7-Eleven by purpose. Like you pay with a 1,000 Baht note and they give you change as if you paid with a 500 Baht note. Or just “forget” a one hundred Baht note.

This almost exclusively happens in the most touristic areas like Phuket’s beaches, Khaosan Road and Sukhumvit in Bangkok and most areas in Pattaya.

Temple – Tuk Tuk – Gem Shop – Silk Shop Scam

All these terms are closely related to each other. So it happens at famous tourist attractions like the Grand Palace or National Museum in Bangkok that you are approached by a local Thai before you even reach the attraction and he tells you it’s closed today (usually they give you a Buddhist national holiday as a reason which they assume foreigners don’t know about).

They are then inviting you to go to another attraction together which turns out to be a gem, silk, tailor or other kind of shop. They try to rip you off by telling you lies like you can buy the products there for a very cheap price and make a huge profit by reselling them in your home country. Tuk Tuk drivers are also often involved in this kind of scam, however again most of these operate in the tourist areas of Sukhumvit, Silom and Khaosan.

Renting Scam

If you are going to rent any kind of vehicle in Thailand whether it’s a motorcycle, car, jet sky or boat – make sure you let document all scratches and dents along with signing the renting contract (if any). It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the vehicle from different angles. Very famous are the jet sky scams in Pattaya and Phuket where tourists are regularly blamed and held liable for damages they haven’t produced.

Travel Scam

Several scams in Thailand are related to travel. So it happens that tourists are approached in front of Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok by local Thais pretending to be “officials” working for the State Railway of Thailand and helping to book the train ticket. They take the tourists to a local travel agent and pretend to call the ticket office then saying the train is fully booked and offering you an overpriced bus ticket instead on which they make some good commission.

There are also regular incidents where foreign travelers report being robbed valuables, especially during overnight trains and buses. This even happens during day travel when buses stop for food and all passengers are requested to leave. Also beware of strangers in overnight trains who invite you for drinks as some foreigners get drugged and when they wake up they find their money and other belongings gone.

Price Discrimination Scam

Thailand Price Scam

Apparently it’s not enough that foreigners pay regular visa fees and spend a lot of money for modern accommodation, western standard products and quality food. Thai people even demand higher prices for entrance fees from foreigners compared to local Thai people.

Examples: The Grand Palace in Bangkok, free entry for Thai people, 400 Baht for foreigners. University fees are at least 30% higher all over Thailand for foreign students as opposed to Thai students. And probably the most extreme price discrimination I’ve encountered so far: While Thai people can buy a ticket for the Muay Thai fight in Bangkok for 180 Baht, the cheapest ticket for foreigners is 2,000 Baht. That’s insane, what you think?

Nightlife Scam

It doesn’t matter if you go to a beer bar, go go bar, karaoke bar or night club as a foreigner – there is always the possibility that one of the Thai staff who is handling your bill writes down the extra beer you didn’t order, the lady drink you didn’t agree on to pay or just charges for a few extra pool games and then puts the additional cash in his or her own pocket. Especially when you have had more than just a couple of small beers.

Even happened to me quite a lot in my favorite pool bar in Bangkok, when I checked the bill they just told me it’s 13 games instead of 11 so what I do now I let them count the papers right at my table in order to avoid this kind of scam.

Thai Bar Girl Scam

There are countless of Farangs who come on a holiday to Thailand and fall in love with a Thai bar girl. When they return to their home country they try to keep the relationship by sending her money as she promises to stop working in the bar and sleeping with other guys. Of course in 95% of the cases that’s a lie and the girl will continue working while receiving regular payments from their foreign boyfriend (or rather sponsor) and a lot of these girls even have several guys abroad sending them money at the same time.

Everyone seems to know about it but still there will always be foreigners who trap into the bar girl scam and believe crap like the family’s buffalo has died or her parents need money for paying the hospital bill.

Time Share Scam

You might not even have heard about this kind of scam yet but this is actually the crime tourists lose the most money in Thailand and it’s one of the scams that mainly foreigners are organizing. What happens is you are given a scratchy card by a stranger on the street for free. He then immediately lets you know that you’ve won a massive price or he gives you a call later to make it appear more authentic. In order to claim your price you have to accompany him to a hotel.

Once arrived there he will bring you to a conference room along with other tourists who apparently have won as well and then there’s a presentation held by slick Westerners, all of them being well trained sales agents. Now the scam is they offer you timeshare memberships at luxury hotels, resorts or apartments to spend several weekends or weeks in every year at an extremely discounted rate. If you do enter one of these too-good-to-be-true deals and make a down payment of several thousand dollars you might end up driving along the beach with your contract in the hands looking for a property that doesn’t even exist.

These timeshare companies are illegal as well as the work of the foreigners who do not hold a business visa and work permit.

Thai Dating Sites Scam

There are foreigners who send presents and even money to girls they meet on the various Thai Online Dating Sites without ever having met them in person. My ex student girlfriend told me that she once received a big package full of candies sent from a guy in the United States and she hasn’t even had a video call via skype with him before, they just wrote each other text messages for a couple of months and then he asked her for her post address.

Now where are the scams in online dating sites? There are some foreigners who get their Thai girlfriends to create a profile on dating sites and respond to messages of guys promising to meet them but she is out of money so she asks him to pay for the bus or flight ticket to travel to Bangkok from her province. The guy transfers the money on her bank account and never hears from her again.

How to avoid getting scammed in Thailand

Well, by having read this article you are now familiar with the most common scams in Thailand. Generally, the more “touristy” and inexperienced with Thailand you appear to Thais the more likely you are getting scammed.

Most Thai people are rather shy and reserved, and if someone approaches you very straight forward and in fluent English you should always be skeptical. The same thing applies for Thai girls by the way, even in Thailand guys are supposed to make the first step.

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43 Comments on "Top 11 Scams in Thailand"

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John Coleman Vidrine
John Coleman Vidrine

Doesn’t sound too much different than Colombia but here they will drug you with Bella Dona (escolpamina) which in large doses fries your brain.

Sam
Sam
I have been scammed with the bing pong show shit, it was my second day in Bangkok , Same story come up and pay for drinks , btw my friend and I didn’t even know what is the show about heheh, after the show finish they brought me a bill with 6800 , we said ofc the guy say pay only for the drinks , and that’s what we will pay , they gathered around us , so I told her I will call the police , she said she will call the mafia , so I told her I’m… Read more »
Thai man
Thai man
How the ticket price include in the scams. Let’s say if you are Bangkok citizen, you will go to Grand palace every day? Maybe not right?THB 400 is not very expensive isn’s it. If the tourist also free what can the country get from tourist activity, come on it common as we work and live here we have to pay the tax to government but not for tourist. So i think this is just like welfare for Thai. Moreover, the temlle is the religion place, can you paid to attend mecca in Saudi Arabia? Maybe not I think. They reserve… Read more »
Thai man
Thai man
The university budget partially subsidized by tax. That’s why Thai student pay cheaper than foreigner. If you go to private university i think it may not different. If thais still cheaper that’s the policy or advertisement. Also if you are high academic profile, then you do not pay but to get money from government. To be hornest, I think the quality of university in Thailand is not good enough to attract foreign student. Also Thai boxing, i think all about promotion because Thais cheaper, more opportunity for them to come back for service because they live here. For foreigner it… Read more »
Thai man
Thai man

Also for the beer I think it not scam as i think it not include the inner tube. Otherwise i think 1 liter is too much. We generally drink with ice so inner tube is facilitate the cool because Thailand, especially Bangkok to be exact is all-year-hot.

chencho272
chencho272

In Germany universities are also financed with tax money.

but they are free for everyone, including foreigners.

chencho272
chencho272

What makes you think foreigners can’t be Buddhists?

and only 6% of Thais pay income tax.

Other taxes like VAT are paid by all people, including tourists

Bungalowbill
Bungalowbill
I have just finished 2 1/2 years with a beautifull chiang Mai lady, a rare northern beautifull, intelligent woman, I have known the family for 20+ years, we got chatting on Facebook 3 years ago, I helped her re- train hairdressing, eyebrow tattoo, make up course & kit , been together 2 1/2 years, I visit Thailand 2-3 times a year, she said she was living her dream job, rented salon for her, found out ( Facebook) she had Thai boyfriend for last year, but still take my money, rent, upkeep, I am bitter, revengeful, but would still take her… Read more »
Jan
Jan

Do not feel hurt. These women have no moral at all and know that in the near future she will end up like all the others like herself. Why do you think there is so much poverty and prostitution in Thailand ? Smile my friend, one day soon she will get what she deserves

Tim Myrtue
Tim Myrtue
If you think the marriage scam is just about bargirls your wrong! I met a woman through a mutual friend. She is working Royal Thai Police. She was a lieutenant when we met. Things were going great. I fell inlove with her. I thought it was all legit because of her position and her family! After I paid a dowry and we were married and of course sending her money. All this was based on her coming to the US. After I had spent 1000’s of dollars and it was coming down to getting her visa all done. She tells… Read more »
Steve
Steve
Hi ! A woman From Cambodia who scammed me made several frequent trips to Thailand to meet other men for money for prostitution in Thailand as part of sex trade industry there.This woman use the internet and personal contacts I E girlfriends who has( who fathered their illegitimate children out of wedlock ) ( Keeping these women quiet by sending them money to pay for the children ) Asian Businessmen who married elsewhere to assist in making and scheduling this paid sex trips for the rich Asian men. I was scammed by well known Internet Scammer, It was a advanced… Read more »
Stodally
Stodally

I don’t see the common exchange currency scam in here. This is most common in the airport and can happen even before you leave your home country. To avoid always check the exchange rate and google reviews on the exchange you are using before using their services.

David Behr
David Behr

Something not mentioned, taxi drivers. They will try to bargain with you about the fare. Only go with the drivers who have a meter that works. If you bargain with the driver you will pay more. Also, beware of the joy ride, best advice is to take your gps with you as you travel.

stanleaverStan
stanleaverStan

I get nothing in AU and don,t Trust AU women anymore, I am 63 fit and don,t drink a lot, I find Thai ladies have a sense of honour in any situation and deserve my respect. I like to travel a lot and have been in many situations, if you want to get ripped off go to Hanoi. I am going back toThailand.
SL

IMHO

I’ve had positive and negative experiences. Two taxi journeys spring to mind. First one wanted to go off meter and give a fixed fare. My Thai wife seemed to think this was fair but really she was saving face and had no clue. The driver then proceeded to get lost and charged us nearly 100% more than he quoted because HE got lost.
The second taxi ride, the driver used the meter, also got a bit lost but refused to take the meter price, only taking less because HE got lost.
Moral of the story, there are good and bad people everywhere.

dejacket
I feel that pretty much covers the human spectrum, no matter were you, except perhaps Bhutan, where the GDP is measured by happiness… I feel there is a sexual strangulation here, I am sort of new to Thailand, I stop here as a transit spot…the sexual tourism fall in the domain of defecation, as far as I understand the best of human nature, and are predatory, yes they are predatory on others who are in need, and when I see an overly obese man, who has not had the grace to look after himself during his life, it feels suffocating,… Read more »
remek
remek
First time I came across this “got lost” trick in Sri Lanka many many years ago. After serious argument with the driver who wanted to add 200m “got lost distance” to my bill I started asking driver every time before going in the car or tuk tuk if they know the way. If they say Yes I take the ride and later on if they want to play “got lost” tune I say. “You told me you know the way and we had a fixed price! I won’t pay extra.” Having said that an argument is almost cretain but at… Read more »
Tom
Tom

I had a great time in Thailand . Once when I was haggling price with A pushcart guy we settled on a price, then by accident I gave him way too much money and he corrected me and handed it back. I went to the next higher price to make up for it

David
David

I have lived here for 10 years now seen it all and done it all, please read the book Private Dancer, before you come here, not all Thai girls are the same, think with your brains not you cock.

Thunda
Thunda
This is not a perfect world we live in. I’m a retired Aussie bloke that would like to find a lady around the same age as myself from the province’s to share some time with learning each other’s cultures. Experience Thai food, do some traveling, in Thailand and other Asian countries. All without any sex. Sounds a bit strange don’t it. But there are some of us that aren’t bludgers or con artists that just want a genuine sharing relationship that don’t smoke or drink. And respect other people and their way of life, I am even prepared to pay… Read more »
Anthony
Anthony
Hi Thunda, I travel to Thailand 2 to 3 times every year and have been doing so for a decade. During that time I have met many genuine and fantastic thai ladies. Most of them were aged between 35 and 45. They worked in bars, shops, schools, hospitals etc. I am still friends with many of them. I can’t speak thai either but it hasn’t hampered the relationships. I also teach or improve the girls english, they are keen to learn. Try one of the dating sites, I find these pretty good, just don’t get fooled by fake contacts. They… Read more »
Nittaya
Nittaya

Some farang treat the girl like shit.. Why expected a good one

They can’t treat the girl like this in they own country..
Why Thai girl have to live with this shit!!!!!?

STEVE
STEVE

Yes, what you say is true. I know at least 6 Australian guys who married Thai girls and all divorced now after treating them with contempt,ie all thier time and money on drinking, smoking and gambling while expecting thier wives to work, clean, cook and then be on hand for sex. The girls all divorced them and I dont blame them. Strange thing is, 4 of these guys are doing it again with Phillipino women expecting them to put up with thier crap as if they are a different species to the Thai girls.

Nittaya
Nittaya
Hey guys I have been reading all of this.. Lots of things that are true.. But have to look at farang too.. Lots of them old/ fat / ugly/ can’t find any girl in they own country.. Just come here to stay and try to get a girl to live here in a small pension… Right? Why they are expected the perfect girl in they life.. Some old living on a Thai girl income.. They house.. But no one complained about… I’m Thai girl who been working all of my life since I marriage with farang guy… He lives on… Read more »
christopher Gregory
christopher Gregory
I have read & heard so much about female scammers in Thai which sounds like nothing but complaining & whining. I lived all my life in America and in reality the women of America must be some of the very worst I’ve ever seen. Money, sex & not love is the western woman’s intent. They look for the wealthiest guy they can grab, marry, complain, boss orders & then take everything in a divorce after cheating. The guy is not much better, he cheats, beats, father’s a child then walks. 60% of all US marriages fail within 7 years while… Read more »
Alan
Alan
In my opinion, there is something very major missing here: and that is intellect. As the saying goes: “Beauty is only skin deep” and that is for sure as hell true here in Thailand (Several of my (Farang) neighbours are married to local Thai women, and at a recent evening bbq and the long after dinner drinking, it transpired that none of the Thai wives had heard about WW2, knew that a man had walked on the moon, or knew if Thailand was north or south of the equator. So after the sexual facination has finished, what do you talk… Read more »
dejacket
I have been curious for a while as it relates to intellect, and so then, as I tread along this lands with internal curiosity, I think Alan, your statement covers it all as far as I am aware, only last night I hooked up, though it was an interesting encounter, there was simply no form of communication, and that maybe fine, silence is a blessing, perhaps the events of WW2, walking on the moon (great song by “the Police”), and the geographical understanding of your positioning relative to other places on earth may be digestible if the person in question… Read more »
Paul
Paul

Very true, they dont know sh*t about what is going on in the world, dont care either.
I had a Thai girl living with me in Holland for 7 years, never watched the news, no interest at all in our culture, just watching Thai soap on their tablet all evening ( at least she worked full time, but not that i saw any Euro from her ).

John
John
Someone tried the scratch ticket scam on me. It was very slick. The ticket was a “reward” for taking a tourism survey. I didn’t win anything. However, I had mentioned that I was meeting a second party soon, so the older survey girl handed me a second ticket (off the bottom of the stack) and insisted I scratch it for them. Oh my! I’ve won 2000 baht (or something like that)! I just had to go with them to a meeting to collect it. I declined. Oh no! Now the younger survey girl won’t get her share of the prize!… Read more »
jimmy
jimmy
I have beend in thailand 2 years and have seen and hear it all. Thae money mom hospital bill , pay for family cremation, kids motorcycle wreak, sisters loan money and need to pqy themafia man back, give money for bus ticket , only to loòk online and offer to buy it and they say you not trust them.. so they say that they not want stingy farrang.. always if you give once then you decide not give again then the oĺd sayimg up to you … which means they are in the clear if you give .. because then… Read more »
Eatpoo
Eatpoo

So you are saying its ok to pay for scams? I disagree. I’m happy to pay a higher price than usual, which is why I tip or let them keep change… but when I get conned or scammed, I’m not happy. I’m happy to pay a bit more for anything but not when people try and fuck my ass for a bit more.

christopher Gregory
christopher Gregory

American women scam much worse.

jay
jay
I work with just Thai People and they rip each other off all the time lying and borrowing money and never paying back and then stabbing each other in the back, It is total Madness and they play their men be it Thai or Farrang just the same, The Thai men are just as bad cheating on their partners all the time, All in all they live in hell most of the time and never seem to understand just being decent would solve the problem a few of them wont have anything to do with other thai people just to… Read more »
christopher Gregory
christopher Gregory

America is all money motivated.

TomTom
TomTom

LOL, We got 30 minute ride from hell another day. This taxi driver told us how he work 12hr everyday to support his wife. He went home early one day and caught his brother with his wife. Sad part is I really want to laugh but then afraid to furious him even more.

Jazzy
Jazzy

Hi , I’ve been chatting on and off with a Thai lady of 37 years old for two years now . We met on Thai Cupid and exchanged emails . We have video skyped etc . Now we both feel we want to meet in person . We have said both of us will go halves on the cost for me to meet her in Phuket as soon as we both have the money saved .
She seems very genuine , I just wondering if there is some sort of scam I should be aware of ?

Franky
Franky

Only Give what you are prepared to lose…

Jack
Jack

Ohh so true, Never borrow more than you can pay back, Never lend more than you can lose..

Ed in Korat
Ed in Korat
Jazzy, I am in Thailand. I meet my Thai woman same as you on ThaiCupid. do you want a suggestion. Get together 1500.00 dollars, and a plane ticket. go see her. take the 30 days to get to know her. and enjoy your time in Thailand. Don’t make her go dutch. You will have the time of your life here. Most Thai people are very good, and will feed you, cloth you if you need. You will get plenty from her. She probably only makes 600.00 a month. I came to Thailand 6 month ago and My girl took me… Read more »
Peter
Peter
Another Scam is I got to know all of the girls working a fun bar across the street from my hotel. The owner of the bar lived in France (married) and had a small wife in thailand that ran the bar (very hot). She was starting her own bar on Bangla. The girls that worked for her at that bar would meet her at this bar and the would all walk together to the bar on Bangla. Anyhow I befriended some of them (I didnt sleep with any of them) and on a few occasions went with them to Bangla… Read more »
miles
miles
Farangs do complain a lot and always think that they are the victims but do believe me if you understand thai than you must have notice that Thai people do scam each other too and even worse !Thai people do not discriminate ! Often Farangs do get better room rates than thai people because Thai people do know that we farangs always shop around in order to get the best room rates ! My Thai girlfriend is absolute not aloud to walk in to a hotel because she gets always terrible room rates . Please guys to speak Thai is… Read more »
Yankee Noodle
Yankee Noodle
I’m American and can’t speak more than a few words of Thai, but am pretty good at judging character and have traveled several places worldwide. What I notice is that if I or my Thai girlfriend, who does shop around and bargain, are alone, we each get better rates than when we are together. Some assume she is scamming me and won’t speak up or never return when they overcharge. Happens in tourist areas and almost never in business or mostly Thai neighborhoods. Last time was when the fish curry was 100 baht extra because, when asked after the bill… Read more »